Journalists Killed  |  Colombia

Oscar Alberto Polanco Herrera

Cable Unión de Occidente

January 4, 2004, in Cartago, Colombia

Polanco Herrera, a television journalist, was shot dead in the town of Cartago, Valle del Cauca Department, 125 miles (200 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Bogotá.

Authorities said that Polanco Herrera, director of the local news program "CNC Noticias" on Cable Unión de Occidente, was shot three times by two unidentified men on motorcycles in his office parking lot at 1 p.m. Police Colonel Jairo Salcedo said authorities do not have information on the gunmen or the possible motives for the killing.

Polanco, 37, broadcast a daily, hour-long local news program. According to Polanco's friend and colleague Luis Ángel Murcia, Polanco had recently changed the show's format to irreverently criticize local officials.

Murcia told CPJ that despite the new format, Polanco's program maintained a close relationship with the mayor's office, and that Polanco himself was a personal friend to many local politicians.

"Cartago is an intolerant city with a long history of drug-trafficking and hired killers." Murcia told CPJ. "Currently this has reduced significantly, but the intolerance makes it easy to create enemies, and most problems are resolved with bullets."

Polanco was not known to have received any death threats before his death, Murcia said.


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


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