The attacks on the press that investigated Vladimir Cerrón

“Handmade bomb against the house of a journalist who addressed cases of corruption linked to the management of a regional governor.” Thus, in December 2013, the international organization Reporters Without Borders, the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) and the Institute of Press and Society (IPYS) they issued an alert of what was happening in Peru. The epicenter was Junín. The point of attack was the house of journalist Edvan Ríos Chanca. The regional authority was Vladimir Cerrón, the leader and founder of Free Peru, the party that is running for president Pedro Castillo.

These were the events that occurred during the first administration of the former governor, who in the ideology of Free Peru (PL) points out that “freedom of the press should not be confused with impunity”.

The explosion

The windows, chairs, tables, neighboring houses were lowered“Recalls a source close to the case, and videos accessed Trade they confirm it. Even the Directorate against Terrorism (Dircote) of the police arrived. However, the fact remained there. When this newspaper asked if Ríos knew who it came from, there was only one answer: “Obviously, I didn’t have one more enemy”.

At that time, Ríos had just left the newsroom of the Huancayo newspaper “Correo”. Months before the explosion, the journalist made “a mistake,” as a source told this newspaper. One of the strongest cases I had ever investigated it was about bribery payments in the Regional Transport Directorate to grant certificates. He made the decision to report him to the prosecution under his own name and the process began. When Ríos left the newspaper, the attack occurred. “They waited for me to have no backup or media or anything”, Indicated the source.

Since the management of Cerrón, Ríos and the journalist began Santos Porras published numerous investigations into alleged irregularities. “They did a good job and had played only 5% of the acts of corruption that were committed. It was brutal. Now I’m scared for both of them, ”says a journalist who worked with them.

Supporters of Vladimir Cerrón They came to the door of “Correo” to attack them almost daily: they burned tires, newspapers and threw stones at the windows, as has been recorded in videos of that time. When both went out to cover, they were threatened in the streets, according to people close to both journalists. They even pointed out that when they went to the regional government headquarters, a person recorded them from their entry to their departure. “It was constant harassment. A very difficult situation”, They specified.

Each published note, moreover, was the beginning of a judicial process. In total, both together with the then director of the newspaper “Correo”, Hector Mayhuire, accumulated more than a dozen lawsuits and defamation complaints. There was only one process that had an unfavorable sentence for a cover issued in 2010, before Cerrón took office, about his father. The journalists acknowledged the error in a headline, but were surprised that the lawsuit was filed months later.

Most of the people who have narrated in detail that time lived they asked to keep their names in reserve. One of them, who was part of the former governor’s closest circle, recalled that the PL leader “he did not care more that they deified him”. “The impact against the press that did not favor him was totally brutal. Now the press [local] is totally kidnapped”, Remarked a former Cerrón official.

A kidnapping

Santos Porras was Ríos’s partner. Between 2011 and 2013, he also experienced constant harassment from Cerrón’s management, as well as the judicial processes that they had to face for their documented notes.

For example, today we took out a complaint on some subject and the next day it appeared on the cover of ‘La Primera’ de [Martín] Belaunde saying otherwise and insulting us”Recalls Porras, who is now away from journalism. Currently, the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office is investigating Cerrón for his alleged links with Belaunde Lossio and for belonging to a criminal organization to win works in Junín.

In September 2013, shortly before the attack on Ríos, with whom he shared the credits of his uncovering, Porras was kidnapped. At that time, he was no longer in “Correo” and had founded a weekly. Before IPYS, he denounced that he was approached by two subjects who put him in a car and took him to a field. According to his testimony, he managed to escape, but was hit and thrown into the Mantaro River. The incident was also reported to the Ombudsman’s Office. They told him that if he made it public, the harassment would stop.

As it was too much harassment, kidnapping, thrown into the river, following my family, the IPYS told me that if the threat continued, for my safety I should go to a country. When I made the public complaint, everything just stopped“, He said.

In dialogue with TradeAdriana León, director of the Information Freedoms Area of ​​IPYS, recalled that the situation was “difficult” in a region “that was in turmoil” at that time. “It was not just any threat, but an attack“, he pointed. He remarked that “they see the PL proposal as dangerous”. “We are concerned about the two candidates,” he said.

This newspaper searched for Cerrón’s downloads through calls, WhatsApp and text messages, but there was no response.

Assault on an opposition councilwoman

The councilor Lariza Rojas from Huancayo province suffered an attack on the street last Wednesday. She had declared to two media in Lima that in Junín the pencil party did not have a devastating vote, but only 22%. “I called on the country to take into account why support has waned,” he said.

A couple tried to attack her and suffered a hand injury, according to a video from Portal Central. “Are you going to keep fucking around? You are a traitor of the party“, they told them.

Rojas was invited by PL, but – she indicates – she walked away when she realized that she only had to follow orders from the leadership. Now she is one of the main opponents. “If you give an opinion, they come out to denigrate you and they all have the PL flag. It is a directive, an order”, He indicated.

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