[From Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Last updated: September 2017]
Rafáel Vázquez (24 August 1977 - disappeared August 2017) is an award-winning Spanish journalist and war correspondent working for the Spanish news company RTVE. Vázquez was reported missing during the 2017 Chernogorsk riots along with his team, composed of British cameraman Warren Davies and Russian interpreter Lavro Vitalievich. Davies and Vitalievich were confirmed dead in August 2017 killed in the bombings around the Chernogorsk area. In 2013 Vázquez was awarded the José Couso Liberty of Press Award for his journalistic work in Libya, Gaza, several african wars and Iraq.
Rafael Vázquez was born on August 24, 1980 in Madrid, Spain. He graduated from Deutsche Schule Madrid and moved on to attend Carlos III University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Journalism. During his time at Carlos III, Vázquez was known for his political activism and participated in multiple student protests, including the 2003 Protests against the Iraq War. Despite this, shortly after graduating he began a career as a freelance war correspondent in Iraq, which eventually led to his hiring by RTVE while reporting from the front.
Journalistic work and Criticism
Vázquez' work in the front lines usually dealt with the human side of war, often reporting on the displacement of refugees and personal stories of civilians caught in the war. During his coverage of conflicts between Hamas and the Israeli Defense Force in the Gaza Strip 2008, the IDF accused Vázquez of fabricating and tampering with stories to slander the Israeli Government, who then asked to turn in his work in Gaza so that it could undergo investigation, with no official reports being released on the results from the investigation.
Vázquez arrived in Miroslav, Chernarus in July 2017, where his reports on the ongoing destabilization of the region and the savage epidemic decimating the country gained some notoriety from independent news agencies. Vázquez alluded to the posibility of a chemical attack from Russia, but such allegations were vehemently denied by Russian officials, who claimed that these reports were fabricated with help from violent militias in the area.
Reports state that Vázquez and his team were last seen in Chernogorsk interviewing survivors, days before bodies identified as Davies and Vitalievich were found, allegedly victims to bombings carried out by NATO, CDF and Russian forces. Vázquez was presumed dead by the Spanish Government in the following weeks, and the Minister of Defence recognized Vázquez' service with the posthumous honor of a badge from the Order of Civil Merit.