Opposition journalist shot dead in Venezuela

Journalist and political activist Wilfred Iván Ojeda Peralta was found dead of a bullet wound to the head in the northern city of Revenga, Aragua, Reuters reported. Ojeda’s body was discovered Tuesday, May 17, 2011.

According to the Associated Press and Agencia de Noticias de Venezuela, the police have yet to establish a motive for the crime, but they suspect that it could have been a hired killing.

The journalist was a leader of the opposition Democratic Action (AD) political party in Aragua state and a columnist for El Clarín newspaper, where he wrote pieces generally critical of the government.

El Aragüeño reports that Ojeda may have been captured by his eventual killers in the nearby city of La Victoria. “It appears that is where they tied his hands and put a hood over his head, to later kill him in an undisclosed location,” the newspaper explained.

The journalist had spoken the previous afternoon with his family and did not appear “to be worried or under duress,” said Ruth Ojeda, his daughter, quoted by El Periodiquito.

While conflicts between the media and the government have been widespread since President Hugo Chávez came into office in 1999, journalist killings are not commonplace, as they have become in Mexico.

This blog is produced at The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Other Related Headlines:
» Knight Center (Latin America second most dangerous region for journalists, says Amnesty International report)
» International Press Institute (IPI Condemns Venezuelan Journalist's Murder)

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.