April 12, 2004, in Pucallpa, PeruAn unidentified gunman killed Rivera, a radio show host and political activist, in Peru's eastern Ucayali Department. CPJ is investigating whether the murder was related to Rivera's journalistic work.
Rivera, 54, hosted the morning show "Transparencia" (Transparency), broadcast daily on Frecuencia Oriental radio station, in the city of Pucallpa. In addition to being a journalist, he served as president of a local journalists' association and owned a glass store.
According to local press reports, Rivera was murdered about 1:30 p.m. while he was at his office in the glass store. Two unidentified individuals entered the store and one of them pulled out a gun and shot Rivera twice in the chest and shoulder. There was no sign of robbery, CPJ sources said. Rivera died of his wounds before he could be taken to the hospital.
A former parliamentary deputy for the Frente Democrático (Democratic Front), Rivera was an outspoken and controversial radio commentator known for his sharp criticism of local and regional authorities. On January 13, Rivera participated in a demonstration organized by squatters against local authorities in the province of Coronel Portillo. The protesters damaged the local council building, and Mayor Luis Valdez Villacorta filed a lawsuit against some of them, including Rivera, for property damages, CPJ sources said. Rivera had accused the mayor of corruption in the sale of land occupied by squatters.
In May, local police said Samuel Gonzáles Pinedo confessed to hiring his cousin Erwin Pérez Liendo and two other men to kill Rivera, according to press accounts.
Gonzáles' statements led to the arrest of two employees of the Coronel Portillo provincial municipality, Roy Gavino Culqui Saurino and Martín Ignacio Flores. The two worked in public relations for the provincial council. Culqui also was director of the radio show "La Noticia" (The News), broadcast on Radio Super, and Flores worked as freelance reporter. The suspects were not formally charged at year's end.
Motive Unconfirmed: CPJ is investigating to determine whether the death was work-related.
- Alleged masterminds in Peruvian murder acquitted, February 9, 2010
- Court convicts killers but acquits masterminds in murder , November 14, 2007
- The Road to Justice - A CPJ Special Report, October 7, 2007
- A Mayor and a Murder: CPJ Special Report, May 3, 2007
- Attacks on the Press 2005: Peru, February 16, 2006