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Cali Newspaper Says Narcotics Traffickers Killed Editorial Chief

Sat., March 22, 1997

Narcotraffickers were behind the killing of a Cali editorial writer who had railed against Colombia’s chronic drug corruption in his columns, his newspaper colleagues said Friday.

Gerardo Bedoya, 55, was shot a half-dozen times Thursday evening as he left a condominium complex in southern Cali, where the country’s leading drug cartel was founded.

For the last five years, Bedoya had worked for El Pais, the city’s biggest newspaper. At the daily, he had praised U.S. pressure to ensure that drug bosses were punished severely.

“We think the drug trafficking mafia was behind the murder of this honest man … who openly campaigned against the traffickers,” reporters at the paper said in an emotional statement.

“These opinions … led to his death, in a country without a government, where the only law is the law of the violent,” they said. The statement carried 54 signatures.

The majority of murders are never solved in Colombia, one of the world’s most violent countries. Police lack forensic training and rely mostly on human informants for intelligence. Witnesses rarely come forward for fear of reprisals.

Authorities said they still had no leads on Bedoya’s killer, who fled on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice. Police offered a $50,000 reward for their capture.

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