Attacks on the Press in 1996 - Paraguay
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||February 1997|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1996 - Paraguay, February 1997, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c56512c.html [accessed 28 June 2017]|
The press continued to play an important role in Paraguay's fledgling democracy by reporting on government corruption, political turmoil, and the ongoing problem of drug trafficking.
In January, the head of Paraguay's army, Gen. Lino Oviedo, publicly attacked the press for reporting that he was involved in the activities of a political party, despite a constitutional ban against military participation in politics. Oviedo's political ambitions became apparent in April when it was revealed that he was behind a threatened military coup.
Journalists covering drug trafficking continue to suffer reprisals for their work. Reporters based in remote provincial areas were particularly vulnerable to such attacks. In January, a fugitive drug trafficker shot a correspondent for the national newspaper ABC Color, mistaking the correspondent, who is based in the city of Pedro Juan Caballero, on the border with Brazil, for another ABC Color reporter. ABC Color has aggressively covered the activities of Brazilian drug cartels.
In Asunción, another ABC Color reporter received death threats after the publication of articles about alleged corruption among members of the national police.
Cándido Figueredo, ABC Color, THREATENED, HARASSED
César Dauzacker, ABC Color, ATTACKED
Dauzacker, a correspondent in Pedro Juan Caballero for the Asunción-based daily ABC Color, was shot at by Dionicio Vázquez, a fugitive drug trafficker. The reporter was covering an attack against a police station by Vázquez. Figueredo, a correspondent for ABC Color who has been threatened frequently for his reports on local drug traffickers and has been under police protection since the summer of 1995, said Vázquez had mistaken Dauzacker for him. One day after the attack, Figueredo's brother was kidnapped and briefly detained by three captors. They released him with a warning that he and his family would be killed if Figueredo continued to report on drug trafficking. Although Vázquez was taken into custody on Jan. 30, he continued to threaten Figueredo from prison. CPJ wrote to President Juan Carlos Wasmosy urging him to issue a public statement condemning the threats and to take all necessary precautions to guarantee Figueredo's safety.
Vladimir Jara, ABC Color, THREATENED, HARASSED
Unidentified individuals entered ABC Color reporter Jara's apartment, ransacking his family's belongings and looking through their papers. The intruders left behind a picture of Jara with an "X" inscribed on it. There was no sign of forced entry, even though the door had been locked. Jara changed the locks, but another break-in occurred soon after the first, and for two weeks both Jara and his wife received telephone death threats and other harassing calls. Jara covers the courts for ABC Color, a daily, where he has reported on police participation in the trafficking of stolen cars. He was also due to publish a book dealing with wide-ranging police corruption and with the assassination of Gen. Ramón Rodriguez, who had directed the police force's anti-drug investigations. The calls included offers to Jara of 500 million guarani (US$250, 000) to stop his investigations. A fellow reporter who happened to be shopping for an inexpensive used car also received a phone call, offering him a new Porsche if he would convince Jara to accept the money. When Jara and his wife moved to her parents' home to escape the harassment, they started receiving calls there, and what appeared to be bullet holes surfaced on the outside of the house. After Jara reported the harassment to the police, the telephone calls stopped, but he has continued to receive indirect death threats.