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Column writer denounces smear campaign against him

(IPYS-Venezuela/IFEX) - On March 26, 2012, Omar Arévalo, a columnist with "La Prensa de Barinas" newspaper, reported the publishing of a pamphlet titled "El Pichaque" discrediting him and accusing him of having been involved in robbery, fraud and lascivious acts during his time as a university student. He believes these accusations come in the wake of a series of reports he has made in his column. The pamphlet was published in the state of Barinas, 500 km southwest of Caracas.

Arévalo told IPYS-Venezuela that this is not the first time that he has received threats or insults. In February 2012 he received a phone call threatening and warning him that "if he kept on attacking the government he would be killed". This threat came after a article he wrote referring to alleged irregularities in the management of the local government.

During October 2011, he received several death threats after writing about alleged connections between the current mayor of the municipality of Barinas, Abundio Sánchez, and directors of the Construction Labor Union, accused of having conducted kidnappings and killings in the region, as well as accused of having links with the outlawed Bolivarian Front of Liberation (Frente Bolivariano de Liberación, FBL), Arevalo said.

Arévalo said that on that occasion the mother of the alleged hitman alerted him and intervened, so that her son did not end up killing him.

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