Héctor Felix Miranda, Mexico
The clock said 10 past nine in the morning on April 20, 1988. Hector "El Gato" Félix Miranda was driving his truck through the streets of Tijuana, Baja California, to his work as co-director of Zeta magazine, which he had co-founded eight years before with his old friend and colleague Jesús Blancornelas. He was alone.
Near the end of the steep street a black car with tinted windows blocked his path and, without allowing him a second to react, opened fire with two shots from a 12mm shotgun. The first broke the window, landing in the journalist’s left shoulder; the second tore into the side of his chest. “El Gato Felix” lay dead across the passenger seat as the black car with its mysterious murderer fled.
What was the motive behind the crime? Possibly, the criticism and complaints in his column "A Little Something" about corruption, illicit enrichment, drug trafficking, torture, murder, and accusations against individuals and public agencies, both local and national.
Investigations led to the arrest and interrogation of Victoriano Medina Moreno, a former policeman and security guard at the Tijuana racetrack, and his boss there, Antonio Vera Palestina. The courts found them guilty of executing the crime and sentenced them to 27 and 25 years in prison, respectively.
But the investigation stopped there, and still remains frozen without having gone after the masterminds. The IAPA presented the case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which handed down a recommendation to the Mexican state to solve the crime. Together with the IAPA, Mexico then created a task group to review the case file – a process that is now underway.
Blancornelas, who died in November 2009, kept a running banner under Zeta’s column "A Little Something" as a reminder to officials to find and punish the masterminds. It made no difference.
It was also surprising when, just as steps were being taken to combat impunity for crimes against journalists, the murder defendant Antonio Vera Palestina became eligible for early release under special prison benefits before completing even 10 years of his 25 year conviction.
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