By: M.L. STEIN
N DEC. 17, 1986, two hired killers tracked Guillermo Cano Isaza as he made a U-turn on a Bogot?, Colombia street.
One assassin fired a submachine gun eight times into the chest of Cano, publisher of the daily El Espectador. He died instantly. The hit men sped off in a motorcycle whose license number was taken down by a witness.
Jorge Carpio Nicolle, editor and publisher of El Grafico in Guatemala City, was fatally injured on July 3, 1993,when about 30 armed and hooded men ambushed a caravan in which he was traveling and shot him four times.
Also ambushed and killed was Hector Felix Miranda, co-publisher and columnist for the weekly Zeta in Tijuana, Mexico. On April 20, 1988, as he was driving to work, a black TransAm blocked his path. One of its occupants fired a rifle into Felix’s shoulder and chest, killing him.
The three deaths had one thing in common: The murderers got away and remain unpunished, although there are clearly known suspects.
The murders are documented in a unique preliminary report by the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), which was released at its 52nd General Assembly in Pasadena Oct. 5-9.
The report, titled “Unpunished Crimes Against Journalists,” selects three countries, Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala, offering detailed case studies of six murders of newsmen and women because of what they wrote or broadcast.
Among the 160 journalists murdered in the Americas in the past seven years, 62 were Colombians, 19 Mexicans and 12 Guatemalans.
In announcing publication of the 93-page investigative report, the first of its kind for the organization, IAPA President David Lawrence Jr., publisher of the Miami Herald, noted: “Because we focused on six cases in three countries . . . it is tempting to think of this as a problem of those three countries. It is not. This situation exists, to some extent, in every single nation of this hemisphere. If we are not free to pursue the truth wherever it takes us, then democracy becomes shaky for everyone.”
Lawrence termed the murders an “absolute