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Guatemalan journalist shot dead

Journalist Jaime Jarquín, 63, was killed on the afternoon of Wednesday 20 March 2013 in the city of Pedro de Alvarado in Moyuta, Jutiapa department, on the border with El Salvador. A group of people driving a farming vehicle shot him while he was playing cards with three other people.

Jarquín had been working for "Nuestro Diario" for three years. He had also led the municipal firefighting unit and was a retired professor. A native of Chiquimula, he had been living in Jutiapa for a few years.

Journalist Ormín Castro, a colleague and close friend of the deceased, said Jarquín was the founder of a committee to create a new municipality, something he had fought for for many years.

Jarquín was well known in the Jutiapa department for his work as a professor as well as his dedication to journalism, which had caused him some minor problems. He founded the Cooperative of Department Journalists of Guatemala (Cooperativa de Periodistas Departamentales de Guatemala, Coopedegua) and was a consultant for various political candidates vying for the local mayor's position.

According to Castro, Jarquín had never reported threats or problems related to his work as a journalist. No clear motive for the attack has yet been determined.

Jaime Jarquín is the first media professional killed during the administration of President Otto Pérez Molina. During Álvaro Colom's term from 2008 to 2011, eight journalists were killed.

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