Investigations from Puerto Rico, Peru, Argentina and Brazil win 2018 Latin American Awards for Investigative Journalism

Winners of the Javier Valdez Latin American Award for Investigative Journalism were presented during the 2018 Latin American Conference of Investigative Journalism (Colpin) held from Nov. 8-11 in Bogota, Colombia.

First place went to the collaborative report on Hurricane Maria, "Los Muertos de María” (Maria’s Dead). The Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI) of Puerto Rico, with support from the Associated Press (AP) and Quartz, worked for months on the winning investigation, traveling all over the island, to face opacity from the government in the treatment of figures and information about the victims left by the cyclone.

Omaya Sosa, Jeniffer Wiscovitch and Carla Minet from CPI, Ana Campoy and YouYou Zhou from Quartz and Michael Weissenstein from AP received the award in the Colombian capital.

Second place was a draw between two prestigious investigations from Peru and Argentina: “Caso Lava Juez” from IDL-Reporters of Peru and "Los Cuadernos de la Corrupción” (The Notebooks of Corruption), by Diego Cabot of newspaper La Nación in Argentina, respectively. The alleged acts of corruption that each of these investigations revealed in their respective countries signified a before and after in the political and judicial reality of Peru and Argentina.

In the middle of this year and after a meticulous analysis, IDL-Reporteros published a series of leaked audio recordings of telephone conversations between supreme judges, lawyers of defendants, congressmen, politicians, businessmen, among others. The audio recordings revealed irregularities and alleged acts of corruption at the highest levels of Peruvian justice and politics.

Diego Cabot's investigation was based on a group of notebooks that were delivered to him, with annotations made over 10 years about a series of incriminating acts at the business and political levels in Argentina.

Third place went to "Escándalo en la Gimnasia" (Gymnastics Scandal) by Joanna de Assis, of TV Globo of Brazil, and the members of her team, Wagner Luis Susuki, Jae Ho Ahn and Mauricio Trinidade y Oliveira. Her investigation uncovered one of the biggest scandals of sexual harassment in Brazil, revealing 42 cases of alleged sexual abuse that point to the former coach of the Brazilian gymnastics team, Fernando de Carvalho.

Thanks to the sponsorship of the Organization of American States (OAS) this year, from UNESCO, the World Bank, the Nordic countries and the Open Society Institute, first prize received US $10,000, and second and third place received US $5,000 each.

The jury was composed of Lise Olsen (United States), Ewald Scharfenberg (Venezuela), Giannina Segnini (Costa Rica), Fernando Rodrigues (Brazil) and Santiago O'Donnell (Argentina).

Another 12 investigations received honorable mention:

  • Argentina - “Jueces corruptos, impunidad garantizada” (Corrupt judges, guaranteed impunity) / Iván Ruiz, Maia Jastreblansky and Hugo Alconada Mon, La Nación
  • Brazil - "Tropa de Enfrentamientos" (Troop of Clashes) / Fábio Teixeira and Igor Mello, O Globo
  • Colombia - “El escándalo del dinero camuflado en las Fuerzas Armadas” (The scandal of money camouflaged in the Armed Forces) / Ricardo Calderón, Semana Magazine
  • Colombia - "Venezuela, crimen sin frontera” (Venezuela, crime without a border)/ Hugo Cárdenas, El País
  • Ecuador - "Julian Assange y una trama de espionaje desde Londres” (Julian Assange and an espionage plot from London) / Fernando Villavicencio, Dan Collyns and Cristina Solórzano, of Plan V, Mil Hojas and Periodismo de Investigación
  • Ecuador - “Las conexiones secretas de Odebrecht” (The secret connections of Odebrecht) / Arturo Torres Ramírez and María Belén Arroyo, Código Vidrio
  • Guatemala - "Así nos espía el Gobierno” (This is how the Government spies us) / Luis Ángel Sas and Coralia Orantes, Nuestro Diario
  • Mexico - "La red fantasma que financió la campaña presidencial de Enrique Peña Nieto” (The ghost network that financed the presidential campaign of Enrique Peña Nieto) / Raúl Olmos, Valeria Durán, Arturo Ángel and Francisco Sandoval, Animal Político and Mexicanos contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad
  • Paraguay - "Políticos manejan el sistema judicial extorsionando a fiscales y jueces” (Politicians handle the judicial system by extorting prosecutors and judges) / Mabel Rehnfeldt, ABC Color and ABC Cardinal
  • Peru - "Reynaldo Naranjo: Una historia de terror en París” (Reynaldo Naranjo: A History of Terror in Paris) / Gabriela Wiener and Diego Salazar, Ojo Público
  • Venezuela - "Detrás de los CLAP” (Behind the CLAP) / Roberto Deniz, Patricia Marcano and Claudia Solera, Armando.Info
  • Venezuela - "OLP: La máscara del terror oficial” (OLP: The mask of official terror) / Ronna Rísquez, Lisseth Boon, Lorena Meléndez G, Runrun.es

The Latin American investigative journalism awards, which receive about 200 applications annually, were created by IPYS in 2000. From the beginning, the Institute's objective was to motivate journalistic work on matters of public interest in Latin American and Caribbean countries. Since the first edition in 2001, the organizations that have joined this effort include Transparency International and Open Society Institute.

At the beginning, it was called the "Latin American Award for the Best Journalistic Investigation of a Corruption Case.” In 2009, since it began to be delivered within the framework of Colpin –also organized by IPYS–, its name changed to "Latin American Award for Investigative Journalism."

Since 2018 it has been called the "Javier Valdez Latin American Award for Investigative Journalism” in honor of the renowned Mexican investigative journalist who covered drug trafficking issues and who was murdered on May 15, 2017, allegedly by organized crime.