Colombia: Luis Carlos Cervantes murdered

A classic mob hit: The Colombian journalist’s car was stopped on the road, and Cervantes was shot dead . . . three weeks after he was denied protection by the authorities, who now claim that “according to the information obtained from a risk assessment, there weren’t any links between the threats Cervantes received, and his work as a journalist.”

Marcela Estrada has the story:

 Four years ago, Cervantes served as a correspondent for news channelTeleantioquia. His problems started in 2010, when he covered the collusion between government employees from the Bajo Cauca region and the paramilitary and drug trafficking group, Los Urabeños. This occurred most heavily in Tarazá and Caucasia, both cities in the department of Antioquia,

In April 2010, Cervantes was attacked by a policeman while he was reporting on the capture of another police officer in Tarazá, who was accused of handling war munitions for paramilitary groups. Three years later, a grenade exploded just a few meters away the radio station where he worked.

In October 2013, Cervantes asserted to the authorities that the local leader ofLos Urabeños, Germer Andrés Rebolledo, also known as “El Escamoso,” was the instigator behind the threats. That same year, Rebolledo was detained by the police, for allegedly killing another journalist, Luis Eduardo Gómez.

After filing several complaints, Colombia’s National Agency for Protection assigned Cervantes around-the-clock state protection. From then on, the journalist was always escorted by two bodyguards and a police car.

Nonetheless, on July 20, the agency determined that the journalist was no longer at risk, and took away his protection program.

Four days after he was off the protection program, a stranger shows up, a text tells him to get out of town, ten days later he was executed, but the National Agency for Protection claims Cervantes’s murder had nothing to do with his profession? The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is not buying it.

In response to the clamor generated by the assassination, the Colombian government’s Procuraduría General (prosecutor’s office, the equivalent of the U.S. Attorney General) is creating a “special agency” to work with the Medellín prosecutor’s office’s current investigation (link in Spanish).

As Drudge says, “developing.”


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