Ortega, 37, correspondent for the Spanish television station Antena
3, was shot twice in the chest when gunmen opened fire on demonstrators
in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. The demonstrators were calling
for the prosecution of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Ortega
was taken to Canapé Vert Hospital in Port-au-Prince, where
he died an hour later.
According to international press reports, the crowd was dispersing
when shots were fired from different directions on the central Champs
de Mars plaza. When gunfire erupted, a group of journalists and demonstrators
took refuge in the courtyard of a nearby house. Gunmen standing on
the roof or on a balcony fired into the courtyard, the Sun Sentinel
and Miami Herald reported.
Witnesses said they saw Aristide supporters start the shooting, according
to The Associated Press. Four Haitians were killed, and dozens were
injured during the incident.
After conducting its own investigation and interviewing witnesses
in Haiti, Antena 3 aired an October 27 special report that concluded
the fatal bullet could have come from the U.S. military. A U.S. embassy
official disputed the assertion in an interview with Antena 3. A Marine
Corps spokesman did not immediately respond to inquiries from CPJ
Ortega began his career working for the Spanish news agency EFE in
Moscow. As a correspondent for Antena 3, he covered armed conflicts
in Chechnya, Sarajevo, and Afghanistan. Ortega also covered the September
11 attacks in New York City, his last posting as a correspondent.
He was on a leave of absence in New York when he offered to cover
the Haiti crisis for Antena 3.