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Paraguay2 February 2007

A year of outrageous impunity in radio journalist’s disappearance

One the eve of the first anniversary of local radio journalist Enrique Galeano’s disappearance and probable murder on 4 February 2006 in Yby Yaú, in the southern department of Concepción, Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at the cynicism and inaction displayed by the authorities in this case.

“President Nicanor Duarte Frutos personally received representatives from the Paraguayan Union of Journalists (SPP) and promised that all aspects of the case would be brought to light,” the press freedom organisation said. “And with what result? A year later none of the people linked to this murder has been questioned or arrested. Does this confirm Galeano’s revelations about the complicity of certain officials in drug trafficking?”

Reporters Without Borders added: “We express our support for the demonstrations being planned in homage to Galeano and we demand an explanation from President Duarte. A report on the on investigation was supposed to have been sent to the Inter-American Commission of Human rights (IACHR) four months ago. What became of that?”

On the initiative of the SPP and other organisations, a national demonstration is to be held on 4 February in Yby Yaú, the town where Galeano lived and worked.

Shortly before disappearing, Galeano, who worked for local radio station Radio Azotey, covered the seizure of a shipment of cocaine and heavy weapons in the presence of local police chief Osvaldo Núñez and ruling Colorado Party parliamentary representative Magdaleno Silva, who are both suspected of links with Luiz Carlos Da Rocha, the alleged head of a Brazilian drug cartel known as “Cabeza Branca” (White Head).

Claiming that Galeano murder’s was probably linked to his love life, the police closed the investigation after three months and Nuñez denied an interior ministry claim that Galeano had requested police protection because he felt he was in danger.

The SPP claims that Núñez ordered his subordinates to arrest Galeano and hand him over to Da Rocha’s thugs, who then killed him and dumped the body in a river. When President Duarte received an SPP delegation on 6 October, he formally agreed to a request for the investigation to be reopened, but nothing came of it.

A year after Galeano’s disappearance, Da Rocha is still at large, Silva is still a parliamentary representative, and Núñez has been summoned to the senate for a promotion.



In this country
10 April - Paraguay
Radio commentator seriously injured in shooting attack 12 days before elections
14 November - Paraguay
President Duarte calls opposition media "enemy of the country"
24 August - Paraguay
Chilean radio journalist shot dead in high-risk tri-border region
16 July - Paraguay
Radio journalist Enrique Galeano reappears alive 17 months after being abducted
15 June - Paraguay
Two radio journalists threatened, phones tapped by anti-drug agents

in the annual report
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No surrender by independent journalists, five years on from “black spring”
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Closure of Radio Caracas Televisión consolidates media hegemony
22 May 2007 - Colombia
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