Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2017, 11:33 GMT

Journalists Killed in 2000 - Motive Confirmed: Gustavo Rafael Ruiz Cantillo

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date January 2001
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Journalists Killed in 2000 - Motive Confirmed: Gustavo Rafael Ruiz Cantillo, January 2001, available at: [accessed 12 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Radio Galeón
November 15, 2000, in Pivijay, Colombia

Ruiz, a correspondent for the regional station Radio Galeón, was killed by gunmen with two close-range shots to the head as he crossed the market square in the northern town of Pivijay at around dusk, police and colleagues said.

Police said they were still investigating the identity of the attackers. But senior colleagues at Radio Galeón, based in the port city of Santa Marta, alleged that Ruiz had been killed by members of a right-wing paramilitary group that operates in and around Pivijay, in central Magdalena Province.

These sources told CPJ that the group was not linked to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a nationwide alliance of right-wing groups, but was rather a gang of hired gunmen financed by "the rich people in the area." "That whole area is virtually off limits for the press, the police, and the army. It's an island where an illegal group is in charge," one of Ruiz's colleagues said.

One of the dead man's relatives told local journalists that gang members had threatened Ruiz on two recent occasions, telling him to stop reporting bad news about Pivijay and to "give up that big mouth's job."

Ruiz had worked for Radio Galeón on a freelance basis for the last three years, covering politics, crime, and general news in and around Pivijay. He was a self-taught journalist who started his radio career about 15 years ago at Radio Libertad, another regional station headquartered in the port city of Barranquilla. Ruiz also worked with a community radio station in Pivijay and ran a small grocery store in the town.

Job:Broadcast Reporter
Beats Covered:Crime, Politics
Local or Foreign:Local
Type of Death:Murder
Suspected Source of Fire:Paramilitary Group
Taken Captive:No


Copyright notice: © Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced only with permission from CPJ.

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