By “El Huaso” for Borderland Beat
Two kidnapped administrators of a Guerrero crime news Facebook page appeared in chains in an interrogation video likely released by La Familia Michoacána, a criminal group they frequently discussed. A third man is missing but was not in the video.
The three missing men are Fernando Moreno Villegas, Alan García Aguilar, and Jesús Pintor Alegre. Reports differ on whether just Villegas and Aguilar are involved with the Facebook page, or if all three men are.
According to the Twitter account of the NGO Periodistas Desplazados México (Displaced Journalists Mexico), the men were kidnapped on December 27, 2022, and were just spotted today when the video began to circulate online.
Diario de Mexico reported that a Escenario Calentano post on December 13, 2022 mentioned La Familia Michoacána boss José Alfredo Hurtado Oloscuaga, “El Fresa”, telling him to leave their community alone. The Escenario Calentano Facebook page now appears to have been taken down. According to Noticias Guerrero Hoy, many of their posts were directed at La Familia Michoacána and local mayors.
The final post on Escenario Calentano was a 41 second video where two of the reporters, Fernando Moreno Villegas and Alan García Aguilar, appeared in chains being interrogated. The third, Jesús Pintor Alegre is not in the video. The video is safe to watch.
Man 1 (Red shirt): My name is Fernando Moreno Villegas.
Man 2 (Black shirt): I am Alan García Aguilar.
Man 1: We are part of the team of Escenario Calentano. We are here paying the consequences for the posts made against these people from the Tierra Caliente region of the states of Mexico, Michoacán, and Guerrero.
Man 2: Escenario Calentano was created five years ago. It was me who created it five years ago.
Journalists in Mexico face severe threats from criminal groups and politicians alike. At least 13 reporters were killed in Mexico in 2022, according to the NGO Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). These risks are amplified for citizen reporters who run their own websites or social media pages, as they lack some recognition and protection those with major outlets have.
Sources: Periodistas Desplazados México Twitter, Diario de Mexico, Noticias Guerrero Hoy, Deleted Escenario Calentano Facebook, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)