HomeNewsBriefAttack on Venezuela Newspaper Highlights War on Media

Attack on Venezuela Newspaper Highlights War on Media


Gunmen opened fire on a newspaper headquarters in northwestern Venezuela, the third attack against a local media outlet in a week, worrying evidence of an increasingly brazen war against the press in the crime-ridden state of Zulia.

During the attack, which took place at around midnight on June 3, one or more gunmen reportedly fired nine bullets from a moving car at the headquarters of Version Final newspaper in Maracaibo, Venezuela's second-largest city.

"We were leaving at the time," said a source who asked not to be identified, reported EFE. "I was on duty when I heard the shots. Two of them hit the gatehouse of the newspaper headquarters, but nothing happened to the guard there because the glass is bulletproof. Another two shots hit an interior door and others against the front wall."

This was the third assault against a Zulia-based media outlet in a week, with similar attacks carried out against the Que Pasa newspaper and the Catatumbo TV station.

InSight Crime Analysis

While critics of President Hugo Chavez accuse his administration of stifling the media by abusing its regulatory powers or by presenting trumped-up criminal charges against media workers, there is little reason to suspect the state is behind this rash of attacks. The government has previously tried to limit media coverage through legal means; what's more, the Catatumbo TV network is linked to the state. As such, there may be reason to suspect organized crime is behind the attacks.

This is a worrying sign for Venezuela, where press freedom has long been a major concern, as with other countries in the region. According a 2011 report by democracy advocacy NGO Freedom House, Venezuela has witnessed a "gradual erosion" of press freedom in recent years. The report notes that while journalists are rarely killed, intimidation and harassment are commonplace.

The relatively low number of journalists killed in Venezuela means the country has a long way to go before it approaches the levels of violence against journalists currently seen in Mexico, which has been called the most dangerous place in Latin America to be a journalist, or Colombia. According to Reporters Without Borders' press freedom index, Venezuela is far safer for journalists than either of these countries. But while nobody was killed during these recent attacks on Venezuelan news outlets, it is still an alarming trend.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.


Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


Related Content

COLOMBIA / 21 DEC 2021

The Segunda Marquetalia has seen its leadership decimated under bizarre circumstances, in the only place where the powerful Colombian dissident…


A sophisticated human trafficking network dismantled in Colombia, illustrates a pattern in how Venezuelan citizens, particularly women, are recruited.

BOLIVIA / 13 MAY 2021

Smuggling networks are feeding illegal mining operations across the Amazon Basin with mercury, despite global efforts to clamp down on…

About InSight Crime


Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.


InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.


Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …


InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…


Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…