Journalists Killed  |  Venezuela

Mauro Marcano

Radio Maturín

September 1, 2004, in Maturín, Venezuela

Marcano, a politician, radio host, and columnist, was shot dead by unidentified attackers at around 7 a.m. in his apartment building's parking lot in the city of Maturín, the capital of eastern Monagas State, according to local news reports. Next to his body, police found his handgun, which he apparently tried to grasp to defend himself, the attorney general's office said.

Marcano hosted the morning radio show "De frente con el pueblo" (Facing the People), broadcast daily by Radio Maturín. In addition, he wrote a weekly column titled "Sin bozal" (Without Muzzle) for the Maturín-based daily El Oriental.

He was also a municipal councilman for the regional political movement, Fuerza Monaguense. Before joining Fuerza Monaguense, he had long been involved in politics with the Movement toward Socialism party.

Prosecutors declined to disclose much information about their investigation, but said they are considering a number of motives.

Justo Estaba Millán, Radio Maturín's press coordinator, said that Marcano had hosted the show for about four years and aggressively denounced drug trafficking and police corruption. Estrella Velandia, El Oriental's director, told CPJ that Marcano's columns discussed drug trafficking, contract killings, and police corruption. Velandia said that in the past, police have been able to capture drug traffickers based on information from Marcano's reports According to Velandia, Marcano said he was used to living with threats and knew how to defend himself.

In one of several topics he covered in his last column, published on August 31, Marcano said there was a rumor that police had confiscated 11 kilos of cocaine in a recent bust instead of the 4 kilos they had reported. If the rumors proved true, Marcano said, then police should account for the missing cocaine.

The day of his murder, Marcano was supposed to appear on a noon show at regional television channel Televisora de Oriente (TVO) to discuss recent invasions of privately owned land by landless families, according to TVO journalist Yolimar Bastidas.

In October, the Venezuelan National Assembly appointed a special legislative committee to investigate Marcano's murder.


Motive Unconfirmed: CPJ is investigating to determine whether the death was work-related.


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