April 21, 2024

Press Freedom


Venezuela May 8, 2006

H.E. Hugo Chavez
Office of the President
Palacio de Miraflores
Avenue Urdaneta
Republic of Venezuela
Fax: (011.58.2) 21-162

Your Excellency:

As members of the Freedom of the Press Committee of the Overseas Press Club of America, active supporters of press freedom for more than sixty five years, we write to you today. Shocked by the report that Jorge Aguirre, a Venezuelan press photographer, was shot to death as he approached an anti-crime demonstration, we ask you, Mr. President, to involve yourself personally in an investigation of this murder.

Such violence in your country does not accord with your appeals to build and expand the ethos of democracy in Venezuela . We have read your words and applaud the language of liberty, but Mr. Aguirre’s death, if the killer is not found and condemned, does no honor to your stated principles nor to your country.

The report of the murder indicates that a man on a motorcycle, declaring himself to be the “authority,” approached the car in which Jorge Aguirre, on assignment for El Mundo, had decided to cover the protest and street demonstrations against the killing of three young brothers. The motorcyclist ordered the car to stop, but the driver did not comply until he came closer to the demonstrations. Then, as Mr. Aguirre was leaving the car with his camera, the motorcyclist shot him four times, and he died soon afterward in the hospital.

On March 24, we wrote to your minister of communications and information protesting the law of Social Responsibility for Radio and Television, which specifically limits the media in its freedom of expression and intimidates or punishes members of the press. The murder we protest today only underscores the alarming pressures that our Venezuelan colleagues are facing. We ask Your Excellency, to encourage within your government the principles of which you write and speak.


Respectfully yours,
Jacqueline Albert-Simon
Larry Martz
Freedom of the Press Committee



Sr. William Lara       

Ministro de Comunicaciones e Informacion

Avenue Universidad, Esq. “El Chorro”

(Torre MCT, piso 10)


Republic of Venezuela


Bernardo Alvarez Herrera

Ambassador of Venezuela to the U.S.A.

Embassy of the Republic of Venezuela

1099 30th Street, NW

Washington , DC 20007

Fax: (202) 342-6820


Ambassador Fermin Toro Jimenez

Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Venezuela

to the United Nations

335 East 46th Street

New York , NY 10017

Fax: (212) 557-3528


Hon. Isaías Rodríguez Díaz
Attorney General

Edificio sede del Ministerio Público

Republic of Venezuela
Fax: (011.58.2) 12-509-8080


William R. Brownfield

U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela

Embassy of the United States of America

P.O. Box 62291

Caracas 1060-A


Fax: (011.58.2) 975-6710


(OR: U.S. Embassy – Venezuela

APO AA 34037)


Ms. Melba Jimenez

Inter-American Press Association

1801 S.W. 3rd Avenue

Miami , FL 33129