Press release

Spanish Journalist Kidnapped in Colombia

On Saturday, May 21, Spanish journalist Salud Hernández disappeared from Tarra, Norte de Santander, Colombia. 

Washington

In response to the disappearance and suspected kidnapping of Spanish journalist Salud Hernández from Tarra, Norte de Santander, Colombia, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“National and regional authorities in Colombia should act swiftly to locate Salud Hernández safely and take action to ensure the safety of journalists nationwide,” said Carlos Ponce, director for Latin America programs. “Ensuring a free press, access to information from the country’s farthest reaches, and a safe environment for journalists is critical to cultivating peace and reconciliation in Colombia. Continued threats against journalists will only undermine the country’s ongoing peace processes.”

Background:

On Saturday, May 21, Spanish journalist Salud Hernández disappeared from Tarra, Norte de Santander, Colombia, where she had been interviewing farmers and peasant leaders about illegal cocaine crops and coca eradication programs in Catatumbo, along the Venezuelan border. Several organized crime and rebel groups operate in the area, which is largely controlled by the guerilla group the National Liberation Army (ELN), which is now in the midst of peace talks with the Colombian government. Hernández is the Colombia correspondent for the Spanish daily El Mundo and contributes to the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, and has been a critic of peace processes with the FARC and the ELN. President Juan Manuel Santos has ordered the Colombian security forces to conduct a thorough search to find her.

Colombia is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2015.