Alberto Rivera Fernández

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

An unidentified gunman killed Rivera, a radio show host and
political activist, in Peru’s eastern Ucayali Department. 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, 2004, 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 then-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.

Shortly after the murder, 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. Culqui
and Flores, along with several others, were convicted in 2006 and 2007 for
planning and carrying out the murder, according to news reports.

Valdez and his former chief of staff, Soilo Ramírez Garay, were later
charged with being the masterminds of the crime, allegedly in retaliation for
the journalist’s reports that accused the former mayor of having links to drug
trafficking and other criminal activity in the region, according to news reports. Valdez was placed in preventative
detention in Lima, where the case was transferred. After several trials, he was
acquitted in 2012, but the press denounced irregularities in the proceedings
and prosecutors appealed the decision to the Supreme Court in