Pérez, 52, host of the weekly program “El Diario de Marialabaja,” was
killed by an unidentified assailant who forced his way into the
journalist’s Cartagena apartment at around 9 p.m. and shot him twice in
the abdomen, a family member told CPJ. The assailant then fled on the
back of a motorcycle. Pérez was pronounced dead at the Hospital
Universitario del Caribe.
Local journalists said
Pérez had been consistently critical of local paramilitary activity. He
leased a one-hour, Sunday-morning time slot from Radio Vigía de Todelar
for his program, “El Diario de Marialabaja,” Station Manager Doris
Jiménez told CPJ. The show focused on news from Pérez’s hometown of
Marialabaja, 37 miles (60 kilometers) south of Cartagena.
Ricardo Carriazo, the local prosecutor in charge of the case, told CPJ
that Pérez had fled his hometown because of work-related threats.
Authorities believed the murder was linked to Pérez’s comments on local
paramilitary activities, although they had not conclusively ruled out
other motives, Carriazo said.
Jairo Baena, president of a local journalists union, told CPJ that
Pérez often denounced government corruption and paramilitary influence
in Marialabaja. In his last show, on August 20, he accused the five
candidates for mayor of Marialabaja of being financed by right-wing
paramilitary groups, the local press reported. The family member told
CPJ that Pérez had received recent death threats.
Pérez had been a member of the Marialabaja town council and a deputy in
the Bolívar provincial assembly a decade earlier, but he was no longer
involved in politics, the Cartagena-based daily El Universal
reported. Pérez, while not a lawyer, also provided assistance in legal
cases related to the public transportation system, according to the
local press freedom group Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa.
Investigators identified two men with links to local paramilitary
groups as the likely perpetrators, provincial police Cmdr. Luís Angulo
told CPJ. Police found the two men dead a few days after the murder, he