Guillermo Bravo Vega

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Bravo, a 65-year-old investigative journalist with the regional Alpevisión Radio, was shot dead at around 8 p.m. by an unidentified gunman who sneaked into his house in the southern town of Neiva, Huila Department. Bravo died while he was being driven to a local hospital, state police chief Col. Jairo Rolando Delgado said.

The journalist was shot once in the head and twice in the neck. The gunman escaped on the back of a motorcycle driven by another unknown individual. As of December, authorities had not made any arrests in the case, according to Delgado.

Bravo, who directed the morning television program “Hechos y cifras” (Facts and Figures) for Alpevisión, had frequently accused municipal and departmental government officials of mishandling public funds. Bravo also published an occasional newsletter focused on economics and finance called Eco Impacto (Eco Impact).

Authorities, who believe that Bravo may have been assassinated for denouncing public officials on his program, are investigating reports that he was killed by a professional assassin hired by government officials, said Pedro Moreno, director of intelligence for the Administrative Department for Security in Huila. Moreno declined to give more details.

According to a friend of Bravo’s, two weeks before he was killed, a man approached the journalist at his house and warned him to leave town. The man told Bravo that he had been paid 2 million Colombian pesos (US$700) to kill him. Authorities have not been able to confirm the report.

Known for his investigative reporting, Bravo won Colombia’s Simón Bolívar National Journalism Award in 1979. Ricardo Areiza, editor-in-chief of the Neiva-based daily Diario del Huila, said that Bravo had received death threats a month before his murder. “He said that he was going to be killed, and I believe that his assassination is related to his work,” Areiza added.

Bravo was also well known as a left-leaning politician. He served as a departmental lawmaker in Huila for more than two decades ago and was recently a candidate for mayor of Neiva, according to a report published on April 30 in El Tiempo, Colombia’s leading daily.