The IAPA, Dismayed by the Murders of Two Journalists in Guatemala


Miami (December 22, 2023) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) condemned the murder of two journalists in Guatemala and urged authorities to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the motive behind both crimes, identify the perpetrators, and bring them to justice.

Roberto Rock, president of the IAPA and director of the news portal La Silla Rota in Mexico, expressed alarm and conveyed institutional solidarity with the families and colleagues of the murdered journalists. "We regret these two murders and extend our condolences to their families and friends. This reflects the high level of insecurity in which local journalists operate, a situation we have denounced on several occasions," Rock said, referring to three other murders in the country during 2023.

On December 21, around 5:30 am, radio host and journalist César Augusto Leiva Pimentel, from La Red radio, was shot by unknown assailants riding a motorcycle when he was on his way to work in the Jutiapa department, according to local press reports.

The journalist's body, with gunshot wounds in various parts of the body, was found inside a vehicle in the city of Jutiapa, about 117 km from Guatemala City.

According to the police, it was a direct attack against the journalist, although the motive is unknown. Leiva was also the president of the Jutiapa Broadcasters Association.

In a separate incident, there was also a report of the murder of journalist Gleymer Renán Villeda in the municipality of Izabal, Izabal department, 244 km from the Guatemalan capital. Villeda supervised the Impacto Izabal news page on Facebook.

Carlos Jornet, president of the IAPA's Commission on Freedom of the Press and Information and editor of the Argentine newspaper La Voz del Interior, urged Guatemalan authorities "to conduct a timely investigation to determine whether the murders are linked to the journalists' work, so that both crimes do not go unpunished."

The murders of Leiva and Villeda add to those of Edin Frangely Alonzo López, Hugo Rolando Gutiérrez Alonzo, and Eduardo Fernando Mendizábal Gálvez, bringing the number of journalists killed in Guatemala in 2023 to five.

IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.