Matthew Power, Author of In-Depth Story on Slain Costa Rican Activist Jairo Mora, Dies in Uganda

by Ashley Harrell / the Tico Times

Jairo Mora, 26, was killed last May by poachers protecting turtles on Moín Beach, on Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean coast.Photo Credit:  Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times

Jairo Mora, 26, was killed last May by poachers protecting turtles on Moín Beach, on Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean coast.Photo Credit:
Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times

When turtle conservationist Jairo Mora was killed by poachers on Moín beach last year, the horrifying news traveled fast and wide, and journalists from around the world came to Costa Rica to cover the story. One of those journalists was Matthew Power, who worked as a contributing editor for Harper’s Magazine but was on the assignment for Outside Magazine.

We never met Power and were unaware he had even been here until his story, “Blood in the Sand: Killing  a Turtle Advocate” came out in early January. The long-form piece was deeply researched and well-crafted. Impressively, Power managed to secure the first and only interview with one of the women who was with Mora on the night he died.

He also unearthed moving details that others had missed. The scene that stuck with me showed Jairo and the women being kidnapped: “As the driver turned the Suzuki around, Almudena reached behind the seat and felt Mora slip his palm into hers,” Power wrote. “He squeezed hard.”

If you haven’t read Power’s story, now’s a good time. This morning it was announced that Power died on assignment for Men’s Journal in Uganda, apparently of heat stroke and exhaustion. He was 39. For those interested in hearing Power talk about his life as journalist, this is pretty inspiring.

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