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Venezuela8 September 2004

Journalist’s murder causes great concern

Reporters Without Borders said today it was "extremely concerned" about the 1 September murder of Venezuelan journalist Mauro Marcano, who had reported on corruption and drug trafficking.

"His death is very troubling because of the nature of his work," the worldwide press freedom organisation added in a letter to the country’s prosecutor-general, Isaias Rodríguez. "We urge you to give investigators all means to find out why he was killed and arrest those responsible. Until this crime is solved, journalists in the region will feel under threat."

Marcano, who was also a local political figure, was shot dead by two gunmen as he left his home in the town of Maturín, in the northeastern state of Monagas. He was hit in the head and in one leg. Police said it was the work of professional hitmen.

Marcano presented a daily programme on Radio Maturín 1.080 AM and wrote a weekly column called "Sin Bozal" ("Unmuzzled") in the local daily El Oriental. He had often exposed drug trafficking in the region, as well as scandals involving businessmen and politicians. His last column, on 31 August, reported that several kilos of cocaine had vanished after being seized by local police.

He was also a non-party member of the Maturín town council. Reporting his death on 2 September, El Oriental called him a "tireless social campaigner" who was "much loved for defending ordinary people’s interests."

"His voice and his pen never wavered even when making the most dangerous revelations, especially about drug trafficking," it said. Marcano had four children.



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