Latin America's leaders are offering their condolences after Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno confirmed on Friday that the three journalists kidnapped on the Colombian border last month have been murdered.
Governments from across the continent – including Colombia, Peru, Venezuela and Argentina – released statements in support of the victims on Friday afternoon.
Speaking on the sidelines of the VIII Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, Colombian President Jose Manuel Santos condemned the killings: "It is a deplorable fact. I have been in constant communication with President Lenin Moreno and I have reiterated that he has all the support, solidarity and collaboration so that those responsible for this crime are brought to justice."
Ecuador's President Moreno said in a televized address Friday that evidence had finally confirmed the murders of the three El Comercio media personnel, noting the kidnappers apparently had no intention of releasing their captives alive.
Journalist Javier Ortega, photographer Paul Rivas and driver Efrain Segarra were kidnapped on March 26 on the northern border with Colombia, in Esmeraldas, while reporting on a series of violent attacks against Ecuadorean security forces.
Argentina and Venezuela also expressed their condolences to the families of the victims. Venezuela's Foreign Ministry rejected the use of violence in the pursuit of political objectives, which it said causes unnecessary pain.
From Peru, President Martin Vizcarra said: "Our solidarity with President Lenin Moreno, the families and the Ecuadorean people for the terrible murder of the three Ecuadorean journalists. I convey the support of all of Peru at this time."
Colombia's own Foundation of Freedom of the Press (FLIP), however, turned the conversation back to the Colombian and Ecuadorean governments. It condemned the "lack of diligence in protecting the lives of reporters" and said the two presidents had failed to work together in a timely manner to secure the hostages' release.
Frente Olive Sinisterra, the organization responsible for the kidnappings, is described by the Colombian government as a splinter group from the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The group has no connection with democratic political party the Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons, also known as FARC.