Miami (May 19, 2011)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed anger at the murder of two journalists, one in Honduras and the other in Venezuela, and publicly called on the authorities of the two countries to conduct prompt investigations to bring those responsible to justice. The motives for the murders were not immediately known.
In Honduras Luis Mendoza, a media owner and coffee grower, was killed this morning in Danlí in the eastern province of El Paraíso. According to the local newspaper La Tribuna he was shot at with high-caliber weapons by unidentified masked assailants who intercepted him near the downtown Canal 24 television station that he owned at around 7:10 a.m. His attackers fled in a vehicle that was later found abandoned and on fire. In the incident in addition two women were injured.
Also murdered in Honduras, in an incident last week, was Héctor Francisco Medina Polanco and in 2010 killed were Henry Suazo, Israel Zelaya Díaz, Luis Arturo Mondragón, Jorge Alberto Orellana, Víctor Manuel Juárez, José Bayardo Mairena, Nahúm Palacios, David Meza and Joseph A. Hernández Ochoa. None of these cases has been fully solved.
In Venezuela on May 17 the body was found in La Victoria, in the northern state of Aragua, of journalist Wilfred Ojeda, with a hood over his head, his hands and feet bound and a shot to the head. Ojeda, 56, was a columnist with the regional newspaper El Clarín, a leader of the opposition Acción Democrática party and a former member of the state legislature.
IAPA President Gonzalo Marroquín, president of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Siglo 21, expressed concern a the two most recent killings, declaring, “The best way to combat impunity is to conduct investigations promptly and in depth so as to learn the real motives and determine who has been responsible.”
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. The IAPA Impunity Project is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and has the mission of combating violence against journalists and lessening the impunity surrounding the majority of such crimes. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org; http://www.impunidad.com.