Alfredo Abad López

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Dangerous Assignments   |   Colombia

Untold Stories

Threatened on all sides, Colombia's news media muzzle themselves.

Attacks on the Press   |   Colombia

Attacks on the Press 2001: Colombia

The Colombian press remained in the cross fire of an escalating, decades-old civil conflict pitting two major leftist guerrilla groups against the Colombian army and right-wing paramilitary forces. While peace negotiations slowly moved forward at the beginning of 2002, the conflict continued to take a deadly toll on journalists and sent many into hiding. At least three journalists were killed for their work in 2001. CPJ continues to investigate the deaths of five others whose murders may have been professionally related.

Alerts   |   Colombia

THREE COLOMBIAN JOURNALISTS KILLED IN PAST WEEK

New York, July 11, 2001—In a tragic week for the Colombian press, three local broadcast journalists have been murdered in the violence-plagued country since July 4. CPJ is investigating all three deaths to determine whether the journalists were killed because of their work.

"In the interests of press freedom and simple justice, CPJ will investigate possible motives behind all murders of journalists in Colombia," said executive director Ann Cooper. "We urge all sides in the civil war to refrain from these senseless attacks on the press."

Dangerous Assignments   |   Colombia, Informes

Colombia: Mala Prensa

Este jefe militar cultiva a periodistas, y también los asesina. Para Carlos Castaño, todo radica en la imagen.

Dangerous Assignments   |   Colombia, Peru, Spain, Switzerland

Colombia Briefing: Bad Press

This Colombian warlord cultivates journalists. He also murders them. For Carlos Castaño, it's all about image.

  |   Colombia

José Duviel Vásquez Arias


An unidentified gunman shot and killed Vásquez, news director of the local radio station La Voz de la Selva (The Voice of the Jungle), and tried to kill his colleague Omar Orlando García Garzón, news director of the same station.

The two journalists, who had just finished the first broadcast of their twice-daily news program, were driving home from work in Florencia, a city in southern Caquetá Department that is a former stronghold of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country's largest leftist guerrilla group. More recently, the town has become a power base for an anti-Communist paramilitary group linked to the right-wing United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).

García told CPJ that the gunman first shot Vásquez and then aimed at him. Vásquez's slumped body intercepted the second bullet, which merely brushed García, who was able to give the authorities a detailed description of the killer. The next day, García began receiving threatening phone calls. On July 9, an anonymous caller warned him to leave Florencia on pain of death.

In addition to witnessing the killing, García had assisted Vásquez in documenting corruption implicating local government officials and members of the FARC, the journalist told CPJ.

The journalists had also investigated Caquetá governor Pablo Adriano Muñoz, who was reportedly elected with support from the FARC, for allegedly embezzling public funds. Muñoz accused Vásquez of "persecuting" him, whereupon Vásquez filed a defamation suit against the governor. Vásquez's lawyer, Carlos Alberto Beltrán, had to flee Florencia after a failed attempt on his life, according to García.

Vásquez stated during one of his broadcasts that if anything happened to him or his family, it would be the governor's fault.

García reported that Vásquez's last broadcasts dealt with an AUC communiqué in which the organization announced changes in its local leadership and promised to refrain from kidnapping and extortion.

The journalist's murder followed those of the station's former news director, Alfredo Abad López, whom Vásquez had replaced, and another colleague, Guillermo Léon Agudelo. García, his wife, and their two young daughters have since left the country.
On July 11, CPJ issued an alert about Vásquez's murder.

July 6, 2001 12:00 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Colombia

Attacks on the Press 2000: Colombia

IN A DEVASTATING YEAR FOR COLOMBIA, journalists were murdered, assaulted, threatened, and kidnapped. Many fled into exile. With the peace process that began in 1999 largely moribund, a nearly four-decade conflict that pits two major leftist guerrilla groups against the army and right-wing paramilitary forces continued to escalate throughout the year. All the warring factions targeted journalists.

Three journalists were killed in reprisal for their work in 2000, according to CPJ research. CPJ continues to investigate the cases of four more Colombian journalists whose violent deaths last year may have been related to their professional work.

Alerts   |   Colombia, Russia, Sierra Leone

24 JOURNALISTS KILLED FOR THEIR WORK IN 2000 Highest Tolls in Colombia, Russia, and Sierra Leone

New York, January 4, 2001 --- Of the 24 journalists killed for their work in 2000, according to CPJ research, at least 16 were murdered, most of those in countries where assassins have learned they can kill journalists with impunity.

This figure is down from 1999, when CPJ found that 34 journalists were killed for their work, 10 of them in war-torn Sierra Leone.

In announcing the organization's annual accounting of journalists who lost their lives because of their work, CPJ executive director Ann Cooper noted that while most of the deaths occurred in countries experiencing war or civil strife, "The majority did not die in crossfire. They were very deliberately targeted for elimination because of their reporting." Others whose deaths were documented by CPJ appear to have been singled out while covering demonstrations, or were caught in military actions or ambushes while on assignment.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Two journalists murdered

Bogotá, December 14, 2000 --- Early yesterday morning, two men on a motorcycle killed radio journalist Alfredo Abad López as he was saying goodbye to his wife outside their home in the southern Colombian city of Florencia.

December 14, 2000 12:00 PM ET

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