Exiled Chiapas newsman dies in Miami

From the Editor & Publisher, Jan. 22:

Conrado de la Cruz Jiménez, the publisher of the most influential daily in the Mexican state of Chiapas, has died in Miami, where he fled to escape prosecution by the state government, the Mexico City newspaper El Universal reported.

De la Cruz Jiménez, the owner of Cuarto Poder in Tuxtla Guitiérrez, was 69. El Universal said the cause of his death was not immediately revealed, but family members had said he suffered from colorectal cancer.

De la Cruz Jiménez fled to Miami almost three years ago to escape prosecution initiated by the then-governor of the central Mexican state of Chiapas, Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía. who served from 2000 to 2006.

The newspaper owner fled after his son Conrado de la Cruz Morales, who was the newspaper’s business manager, was arrested. Later, the state government seized the newspaper’s assets and property, alleging they had been acquired illegally.

De la Cruz Jiménez repeatedly argued that he was a victim of political prosecution by the governor, whose administration the paper had often criticized.

Cuarto Poder, for instance, reported that a key political operative of the governor had been appointed a government secretary despite the fact that he did not have the required law degree. The paper urged prosecution for “usurpation of the profession and public office.”

That report was followed by a wave of police and state intimidation, De la Cruz Jiménez charged. His cause was taken up by the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Federation of Latin American Journalists (FELAP), and the Association of Mexican Editors (AME).

De la Cruz Jiménez is survived by his wife, Maria Morales Ruiz, and a daughter, Ana Maria de la Cruz Morales, in addition to his son Conrado.

Cuarto Poder said it intended to bring the publisher’s body back to Chiapas for burial.

See our last posts on Mexico, Chiapas and attacks on the press.