Spanish TV journalist shot dead in Haiti

8th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

8 March 2004, PORT-AU-PRINCE- Spanish television network Antena 3 correspondent Ricardo Ortega died from bullet wounds he received when gunfire erupted at a massive Haitian demonstration, it was reported Monday.

8 March 2004

PORT-AU-PRINCE- Spanish television network Antena 3 correspondent Ricardo Ortega died from bullet wounds he received when gunfire erupted at a massive Haitian demonstration, it was reported Monday.

Three other people were killed and about 20 injured - including at least one reporter for a US newspaper, reports indicated - by gunfire from presumed pro-Aristide thugs, who fired indiscriminately on a huge march staged by opponents of the former government.

Ortega, 37, died an hour after being admitted to the Canape Vert hospital in the Haitian capital with bullet wounds in the chest and abdomen, health personnel and witnesses told EFE.

Witnesses said the gunfire came from radical supporters of deposed Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide who attacked the huge opposition march as it was nearing completion in downtown Port-au-Prince.

Ortega was the only fatality who was immediately identified.

Also injured by gunfire was Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reporter Michael Laughlin, who was hit by small caliber bullets in the neck and shoulder, the South Florida newspaper's personnel told EFE. The paper said that US authorities intended to get Laughlin out of Haiti Sunday night and fly him to a US hospital.

Madrid's consul in Haiti, Pilar Mendez, went to the hospital to take official charge of the body of the Spanish reporter, who arrived there several days ago to cover the crisis for his network.

EFE learned that there were about 20 other people at the Canape Vert hospital with bullet wounds.

The massive march was peaceful until about 2pm week, where supposed "chimere" supporters of the former president attacked demonstrators and caused panic among the tens of thousands of participants.


The march was being held to celebrate Aristide's resignation last week and his exit to the Central African Republic, where he currently resides, albeit perhaps only temporarily.

After he was shot, Ortega lay for several minutes in the street with nobody going to his aid because of the threat of more gunfire. The gunman, who fired from nearby streets, continued to shoot at the surrounding area with bullets until they fled.

The attackers eventually ran off, but French soldiers and Haitian police who had been deployed to provide security for the march were unable to arrest any of them.

US Marines had also been posted at some intersections to prevent the marchers from deviating from their designated route.

Several people and companions then retrieved the mortally wounded Ortega and took him to the Canape Vert hospital, where doctors gave him emergency treatment.

They started to operate, but he had gone into shock and died, doctors said.

There were no reports of any other Spanish journalists covering the march being hurt.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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