Press organizations, defenders of human rights, families and journalists gathered here Monday to commemorate the 13th anniversary of journalist and humorist Jaime Garzon’s murder and to protest the authorities’ failure to punish anyone for the crime.
The Press Freedom Foundation, or Flip, the Ccajar lawyers’ group and dozens of journalists placed their floral tributes at the place where Garzon was slain and on his grave in a Bogota cemetery.
A total of 4,748 flowers were left at the crime scene to “symbolize the number of days we have lived without Jaime Garzon,” the organizations said.
Garzon was fatally shot on Aug. 13, 1999, while driving to the studios of Radio Net.
His vehicle then swerved up on the sidewalk and crashed into a lamp pole.
That lamp pole, christened “Sin Olvido” (Not Forgotten), was painted yellow, blue and red, the colors of the Colombian flag, by the dead man’s sister Marisol, as she has done every year since the murder.
Before Garzon there were “90 journalists murdered and, with his death, these tragic times for freedom of the press in Colombia continue. In just four years, from 1999 to 2002, no less than 32 journalists were killed as a result of reporting the news, Flip said Monday in a communique.
The president of Ccajar, Alirio Uribe, told journalists that “the only person detained for the crime is in a military garrison,” apparently “protected.”
Uribe was talking about the ex-assistant director of the now-defunct DAS security service, Jose Miguel Narvaez, whom the Attorney General’s Office summoned for questioning in September 2009.
Nine months later, on June 29, 2010, a warrant for Narvaez’s arrest was handed down for his role in “deciding the murder of the humorist and journalist.”
But the case “has never gone forward,” members of the journalist’s family said.
Several Colombian paramilitaries have told authorities that Garzon’s murder was ordered by the late founder and leader of the AUC militia federation Carlos Castaño, “instigated” by Narvaez.