NICARAGUA


Americas cases 2004: Country List    I   Americas Regional Home Page
How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press


FEBRUARY 10, 2004
Posted: February 11, 2004

Carlos José Guadamuz, Canal 23
KILLED—UNCONFIRMED

Guadamuz, who hosts "Dardos al centro" (Darts to the Bull’s-eye) on TV station Canal 23, was shot dead in Nicaragua’s capital, Managua, as he was arriving to work. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) continues to investigate whether his murder is related to his journalistic work.

According to local news reports, the journalist’s murder took place at around 1 p.m. in Canal 23’s parking lot. As Guadamuz got out of his pick-up truck with one of his sons, a gunman, who apparently had been waiting for him, fired several shots at the journalist at point-blank range. The gunman then fled but stumbled and was captured by Guadamuz’s son and Canal 23 employees and was subdued. Guadamuz was taken to a Managua hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. The murderer has been identified as William Hurtado García, who worked as a local merchant and as a security guard.

Guadamuz, a former high-ranking member of the opposition Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) party, was imprisoned in the late 1960s for opposing Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza. During his imprisonment, Guadamuz shared a prison cell with friend and FSLN leader Daniel Ortega, with whom he had a highly publicized falling-out in the late ‘90s.

A controversial journalist and a former FSLN candidate for mayor of Managua, Guadamuz used to be manager and part owner of popular pro-FSLN radio station Radio Ya, from which he was removed in 1999 because of a lawsuit believed by many to be instigated by Ortega. In 2003, he had registered himself as a candidate for the post of Managua’s mayor for the ruling Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC).

Since 1996, Guadamuz had been a fierce critic of Ortega—currently the opposition leader—and other FSLN high-ranking officials, whom he often labeled as corrupt. During the latest editions of "Dardos al centro," he had accused Ortega of receiving bribes and using judges close to the FSLN for personal deals, according to the Managua daily La Prensa.

In statements made to the local press, Guadamuz’s oldest son blamed Ortega for his father’s murder and declared that his father had often received threats. According to The Associated Press, police are investigating whether Ortega was involved.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office, which has named a prosecutor to look into the case, has not commented on the possible motives for his murder.

NOVEMBER 9, 2004
Posted: November 10, 2004

María José Bravo, La Prensa
KILLED-CONFIRMED

Reporter Bravo, who was covering a dispute over recent elections, was killed outside an electoral office in the city of Juigalpa, capital of central Chontales Department.

The 26-year-old Bravo, a correspondent for the Managua daily La Prensa in Chontales, had just exited the Juigalpa vote-counting center and was talking to several people when she was shot once at close range at around 6:30 p.m., La Prensa reported. She was taken to a hospital in Juigalpa but was declared dead on arrival.

Bravo was covering protests by supporters of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC), which has a majority in the National Assembly, and supporters of the Alliance for the Republic (APRE) coalition, which backs President Enrique Bolaños Geyer. Both sides were challenging the results of the November 7 elections in two municipalities.

On the evening of her murder, police detained Eugenio Hernández González, a former PLC mayor of the town of El Ayote, and identified him as the main suspect in Bravo's death, according to La Prensa. Police took a .38-caliber handgun from Hernández. Some witnesses interviewed by La Prensa claimed to have seen Hernández reach for a handgun just before Bravo was shot. It is unclear whether Bravo was targeted, and, if so, what the motive for her killing was.

After the results of the November 7 elections were announced this week confirming a major victory for the opposition Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and a significant defeat for the PLC, several incidents of political violence occurred throughout Nicaragua.