Gunmen kill journalist who linked Dominican Prosecutor to drugs(UPDATE 3)
Dominican reporter José Agustín Silvestre for Cana TV was kidnapped and killed Tuesday, Aug. 2, in the city of La Romana, Dominican Republic, local press reported. His body was found near a pond with two gunshot wounds, according to El Día.


Silvestre, 59, is the 20th journalist killed so far in 2011 in Latin America. On Friday, July 29, the Inter American Press Association published a report about the deterioration of press freedom in the region as seen in the murders of 19 other journalists this year.

As the host of the program "The Voice of Truth," Silvestre had made several accusations about corruption and local delinquency. Silvestre served a prison sentence in May 2011 for defamation and slander after accusing the prosecutor of La Romana, José Polanco, of having drug trafficking connections. Hora Cero reported that unidentified gunmen attacked Silvestre's home after accusing Polanco.

Diario Libre reported that last Saturday, Silvestre had presented information on his program about an assault and murder in the city and that since then he had moved because he "was being followed."

Four individuals pulled Silvestre into a vehicle that morning in front of a hotel, Diario Digital reported. Moments later, several witnesses heard gunshots inside the vehicle, according to

Silvestre's sister said he struggled with his captors and fought back, but those around him could do nothing because his attackers "were shooting," according to Hoy.



Dominican Watchdog Note: More articles at the KnightCenter shows that crimes are out of the control and that the Dominican government is doing nothing to protect journalists.


Dominican journalist’s murder draws world attention


Dominican Republic: Journalist’s killing must spur better protection

Authorities in the Dominican Republic must ensure journalists are given adequate protection to carry out their jobs without fearing for their lives, Amnesty International said today after a television presenter was abducted and shot dead in the east of the country.

The body of TV journalist José Silvestre was found yesterday near the city of La Romana with two bullet wounds in the abdomen, several hours after four people were seen beating him and driving away with him in an all-terrain vehicle.

“The Dominican authorities must ensure a prompt and full investigation into the circumstances around José Silvestre’s death and bring to justice those responsible,” said Susan Lee, Amnesty International’s Americas Director.

“If it emerges that his death could have been prevented through better protection, the authorities must make that information public and ensure more is done in future to protect journalists at risk.”

In recent months, Silvestre, who worked as a presenter for regional station Caña TV, had faced attacks following his reporting on drug-trafficking issues, in which he implied businessmen and anti-drugs officials had a role. He was arrested in May on defamation charges after denouncing local Prosecutor José Polanco Ramírez for having alleged links to a drug-trafficking network.

Shots were fired at Silvestre’s house in May and, according to his sister, unknown assailants tried to kill him last week.

Because of the attacks, in May the national press workers’ union (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Prensa) had requested police protection for Silvestre. The authorities did not follow up on this request.

National Chief of Police José Polanco Gómez is reportedly overseeing an investigation into Silvestre’s death.

Many journalists in the Dominican Republic face threats and attacks, especially when they report on drug-trafficking and expose alleged ties between public officials and drug-trafficking networks. According to the national journalists’ union, more than 30 journalists and press workers have been attacked between January and May of this year.

“Given numerous reports of attacks and threats against journalists, the Dominican authorities should strongly condemn these incidents, fully investigate each case and provide adequate protection to journalists,” said Susan Lee.

“Journalists must be able to carry out their jobs without fearing for their lives.”


In Paris meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) today also asked the Dominican authorities to make the investigation into Silvestre’s murder a priority.

“The authorities must privilege the professional clue in the investigation which just opened into the journalist’s death, and known for his investigation of crimes and the alleged links of police and judicial authorities with narcotics traffickers."


COMMENTS in DominicanToday
Written by: JimHarrington, 2 Aug 2011 10:37 AM
From: United States
Good old Leonel in charge of a large drug empire and unable to do anything about it.
What a useless president and corrupt government officals and military.
Written by: rumbabierta, 2 Aug 2011 10:58 AM
From: United States
what has happen to my country in just 12 years we have gone from a peaceful humble poor people to crazy gangs murderers, rapist , kippnapers, robbers, etc...etc...etc... god pls help my country come out of the dark ages!!
Written by: gmiller261, 2 Aug 2011 11:11 AM
From: United States

The thugs rule and empty suit LF does nothing.
Freedom of speech is a joke.
What a loser of a country.
Written by: KISKEYAMAN, 2 Aug 2011 11:30 AM
From: Haiti
rest in peace. Unfortunately, drugs are a scourge in this world.
Written by: synapse, 2 Aug 2011 11:34 AM
From: United States

There is no freedom of the PRESS in Banana Republics!!!!!!!
The DR is just another Banana Republic run by political mafias!!!!
Written by: Escott, 2 Aug 2011 11:34 AM
From: Dominican Republic, Cabrera and Sosua a 2 days a month for payday
Drugs didn't kill this fellow. Polititians are to blame here.
Written by: WalterPolo, 2 Aug 2011 11:46 AM
From: Dominican Republic, Puerto Plata
Poder paralelo is not just a novela.

They run this country and a number of others.

It's like cancer: if not detected and treated in the early stages, there is no cure.

Of course, with bad doctors, it gets worse.
Written by: dreadlocks, 2 Aug 2011 12:18 PM
From: United States
the world is going to end soon. i am beginning to agree more frequently with the statements of Escott.
Written by: matador, 2 Aug 2011 1:12 PM
From: United States,
Is a shame that DR had become Just like Mexico and Worst than Puerto Rico in just few years, and the worst of all is that the Scumbag that Running the Country are doing and Wont do anything about it.
Written by: OGNYC, 2 Aug 2011 1:29 PM
From: United States
This is just further poof of the NARCO STATE that LIEONEL and his gangster collective have created. The LIEONEL defenders will say this happens everywhere and this doesn't have anything to with drugs all in an attempt to change the subject and defend there leader. LIEONEL PLD and PRD politicians along with every other agency in charge of anything in DR are the biggest paid defense for drug traffickers and any other kind of criminal with money.
Written by: danny00, 2 Aug 2011 3:17 PM
From: United States, syosset, key west, santo domingo
and their are many that support the drug business, they cheer these punks on.
drugs bring no good to any land or country.
hand full make some money , but they bring chaos to the cities and the people.
Written by: poponlaburra, 2 Aug 2011 3:23 PM
From: United States, "Block by Block let's Build the Wall" "Say "NO" to power barges in our Ocean Front"
This prosecutor must sbe jailed, how obvious this case is, this crime must not go unpaid.

Now if he fough the assailants, their DNA must be in his fist. DNA TESTING MUST BE DONE AT ALL COSTS!!!!!!!!!!
Written by: josearias, 2 Aug 2011 3:25 PM
From: United States
look how toff they are killing at innocent man like this for telling some controversy thrust.after all we are Dominican and someday no to far away we are Dominican men, women and everybody else will be force to take justice in our owned hands and is very sad for our country
Written by: BLANCO, 2 Aug 2011 3:45 PM
From: Dominican Republic
what has happen to my country in just 12 years we have gone from a peaceful humble poor people to crazy gangs murderers, rapist , kippnapers, robbers, etc...etc...etc... god pls help my country come out of the dark ages!!

Written by: BASTA, 2 Aug 2011 3:48 PM
From: Dominican Republic, =Ghetto/Legalize Drugs
what has happen to my country in just 12 years=ONE name fernandex. queen of the hill!
Written by: time2rize, 2 Aug 2011 4:34 PM
From: Dominican Republic
God Dam WTF !!!
Written by: time2rize, 2 Aug 2011 4:37 PM
From: Dominican Republic
journalist Jose Silvestre needs to be honor as a National Hero !!
Written by: Perez, 2 Aug 2011 6:03 PM
From: Dominican Republic
Rest In Peace Jose Silverio. May the lord make justice for such crime.
Written by: VeronicaDR, 2 Aug 2011 6:43 PM
From: United States
If LF was any type of leader he would have jailed this prosecutor immediately. Get down to the truth and once seen take everything this man and his family owns and put him to death on tv.
Written by: DomRat, 2 Aug 2011 9:14 PM
From: Dominican Republic
Drugs aren't the problem nor are firearms. Sell drugs dirt cheap and let life sort it out, should the government want to get involved, let them charge a fee for certificate of purity such as done for alcohol, grade coke out and maybe the coca leaves like any other commodity; coffee, cocoa for example. It is only the illegality of it that denies taking a deal gone sour to court and the illegality also keeps the price up and causes laundering and corruption - how much corruption is there in the plantano market. Finally that said - I am saddened that this brave man was killed for investigating the sordid business and publishing what he found out, my condolences to his family and friends.
Written by: trojanman, 2 Aug 2011 11:14 PM
From: Canada
My girlfriend lives in Santo Domingo.....(Cristo Rey)....and she told me it's BAD! If only the people who stay in the All inclusives....could experience 10% of the places i have been to....would they know the REAL DR....'cuz it's getting SCARY....and i have a feeling it's going to get worse.....before it gets better. Espero estar equivocado, pero yo no lo creo!
Written by: Trujillo, 3 Aug 2011 1:46 AM
From: Dominican Republic
Innocent until proven guilty, or is it the other way around? There's is no proof that the prosecutor order his murder, but all these people here love to jump to conclusions and it's all based on politics. Why don't you go ahead and say Trujillo or Balaguer killed him, that's what you've got this country used to hearing. Oh, I see, it's Leonel Fernandez now.
Written by: JimHarrington, 3 Aug 2011 8:14 AM
From: United States
No positive spin on this suavecito or ricardolito?
Written by: gmiller261, 3 Aug 2011 8:43 AM
From: United States

In another thread by Belly.

"In a normal country governed by laws the executive power wouldn't need to even open his mouth because it's obvious an investigation is due.

This investigation is simple Jose Polanco is the main and only suspect who should be arrested and questioned since he was the most interested in shutting down this guy."
Written by: hellborn25, 3 Aug 2011 8:53 AM
From: United States
This was a politician who was doing dirty bussness , and got caught with his pants down , jose polanco should be in chains right now in a holding cell.
Written by: okian, 3 Aug 2011 9:15 AM
From: United States
It's PITIFUL and getting worse every day.
Written by: RoyStone, 3 Aug 2011 9:40 AM
From: Australia
So this stuff only started happening in the Dominican Republic in the last twelve ears? Really?


International Press Releases condemming the killing:

International Press Institute

Amnesty International


Update, August 10, 2011

Dominican Republic Police names journalist's killers

Dominican Republic (AP) — A resort owner is suspected of orchestrating the killing of a Dominican journalist who sought to expose links between drug traffickers, public officials and businessmen, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Hotel owner Matias Avelino Castro wanted to prevent journalist Jose Silvestre from publishing a planned story that linked Avelino to a murder and drug trafficking, Deputy Attorney General Frank Soto said at a news conference.

The investigation also found Avelino sought revenge against Silvestre for past articles in his weekly newspaper, The Voice of the Truth, and reports on a radio program with the same name, said Maximo Baez, a police spokesman.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Avelino but his whereabouts are unknown, authorities said.

Soto said Avelino owns the Gran Aparta Hotel Las Galeras on the Samana Peninsula. A woman who answered the phone at the hotel said she did not know anyone by that name and hung up.

Police have detained one suspect in the killing, who told investigators Silvestre was shot to death when the suspect and three other men tried to force the journalist into an SUV on Aug. 2 in the city of La Romana. His body was found later on a roadside about 60 miles (100 kilometers) east of Santo Domingo.

Authorities say they have recovered the vehicle used in the crime and found Silvestre's blood inside. The vehicle was apparently rented by a girlfriend of Avelino, who is also known by the name Joaquin Espinal Almeyda, said Hector Garcia Cuevas, director of investigations for the Dominican police.

The case has drawn attention from groups such Amnesty International because of Silvestre's role as a muckraking journalist, known for reporting unsourced allegations of drug trafficking and corruption in this Caribbean country that has become a major transit point for drugs bound for the U.S. and Europe.

Soto said investigators have testimony from three people that Silvestre was paid to publish some of his allegations. He said he had no information on the validity of the allegations about Avelino that Silvestre apparently planned to publish.

Silvestre was detained for six days earlier this year when a prosecutor sued him for defamation over accusations of taking bribes from drug traffickers. The case was still outstanding at the time of Silvestre's death.


Update 3, AUG 31, 2011

Ex Cincinnati Reds star Jose Rijo’s hotel raided in murder probe

The Justice Ministry’s Anti-laundering Unit on Monday raided the Las Galeras Hotel in northeastern Samaná, owned by former Cincinnati Reds star pitcher Jose Rijo, in search of evidence against his associate, Matias Avelino Castro, accused of murdering the journalist Jose Silvestre, in La Romana (east).

Unit chief German Miranda said computer and physical evidence was gathered in that hotel, owned jointly by Castro and Rijo, has been interrogated several times.

He said whether the hotel will be seized still hasn’t been decided and doesn’t discard the filing of charges against Rijo if the investigation merits it.

Miranda revealed that documents seized during the search will determine who the hotel’s real partners are, adding that Castro and Rijo held several joint investments, in an apparent use of figureheads posing as investors, with the profile of businesspersons.


Read also:  Shadowy Businessman Accused in Murder of Dominican Journalist

Read more: Editor shot in Dominican Republic, Police hired to kill(Update)


Dominican Watchdog Note: It could have been the following statement made by Jose which got him killed. "Toño Leña is a suckling baby compared with that prosecutor," the slain journalist said of Polanco, in reference to the drug trafficking defendant Ramon del Rosario Puente, know as Toño Leña.

Below a picture of how Jose was found. He leaves behind 11 children. The chance that the people behind his murder will be found is slim. Drugs and corruption points all the way to the top of the government and the former police general's "father" bought an million dollar apartment in the drug tower promoted by president Leonel Fernandez.

I was of the opinion that the person behind the killing would never be found, however as it turns out it's not connected to the prosecuter nor other top officials, we got the name of a shady hotel owner in Sanama. Let's see if this is the end of the story.

It's highly unlikely that the journalist was involved in extortion, but it's a convient way for the police to discredit his name!!!


Go back | Date: 31 Aug 2011
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