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Armando El Choco Ramírez
March 26, 2010

Armando "El Choco" Rodriguez, Mexico

He was settling into his car outside his house, his eldest daughter beside him since he was going to drop her off at school, when gunmen shot him at close range, killing him instantly. The killing of Rodríguez, affectionately nicknamed "El Choco" was interpreted by media analysts as a show of power by the murderers in the border city of Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, in an attempt to bend the journalistic profession into submission.

He was known as a unimpeachable professional and good father to two daughters and a son he had with Blanca, his wife and the love of his life. For 15 years he courageously covered the police beat for El Diario in Ciudad Juarez, even when that meant living constantly under the threat of death. Up until November 13, 2008, when the inevitable death sentence took place -- allegedly for his reports on corruption, violence and drug trafficking. His stories inspired movie scripts, TV and books produced by others who didn’t even recognize him in their credits.

Two years later the crime remains unpunished even though in September this year the Attorney General's Office (Procuraduria General de la Republica - PGR) announced the capture by the Mexican army of a gunman belonging to the criminal group La Linea, the armed wing of the Juarez Cartel, who confessed to participating in Rodriguez’ murder.  According to the PGR the detainee is nicknamed "The 7," and was the driver of the vehicle used by the murderers. “The 7” revealed that the actual killer is a crook named Julio who is missing his left ear and goes by the nickname "The 6." The Public Prosecutor issued an arrest warrant but no one else has been charged or arrested.

In March and August 2010 the IAPA sent letters to the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón, signed by hundreds of Latin American newspaper readers, asking for his intervention with the relevant authorities to expedite the investigation into the "Choco" crime until the masterminds and perpetrators are punished to the utmost letter of the law.

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