Journalist Gunned Down After Years of Threats

By bogotapost August 20, 2014

Radio reporter in Antioquia was murdered while collecting his son from school just weeks after having his government protection taken away


The attack took place on Tuesday August 12 in Taraza, a town in Antioquia Department, 223km north of Medellin.

The journalist, Luis Carlos Cervantes, was the director of a radio station called Morena in Taraza. A hitman was waiting in the place where Cervantes always collected his son from school. The hitman fired three shots which are said to have killed the journalist instantly.

Reports claim that for many years Cervantes had been at risk, often receiving death threats by text message. Due to these threats, Cervantes had to flee the town on various occasions.

luis carlos cervantes 2He had only returned to Taraza a few days before his assassination, local media reported.

The radio station in Taraza where Cervantes worked was a music station, and was considered low-risk by the National Unit of Protection (UNP) at the time of his assassination.

Despite the UNP’s claims to the contrary, Cervantes remained convinced that his work uncovering local corruption was the reason he had received so many death threats.

The journalist’s security detail had been in the hands of the UNP from June 2012 until 15 days before his assassination. It was believed that his life was no longer at risk, so they dropped his protection privileges.

According to local authorities in Taraza, Cervantes received a threat less than a month ago in which he was given a few hours to leave the town.

His killers remain at large.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Colombia ranks fifth in the world for impunity in cases of murdered journalists, with 88 percent of cases not resulting in a conviction. Fifty-six percent of Colombian journalists killed are those who report on corruption.

By Steven Grattan