Paraguay: journalist still missing

Friends and advocates from the Paraguayan Union of Journalists (SPP) will mark the one year anniversary of Paraguayan radio journalist Enrique (Kike) Galeano’s disappearance with a protest in his home town of Yby Yaú. Galeano was reporting on drug trafficking in the northeast region of Paraguay on the Brazilian border when he disappeared on February 4, 2006. Galeano was under police protection shortly before his disappearance, when he covered the seizure of a shipment of cocaine and heavy weapons for Radio Azotey. His coverage linked trafficking to local government officials, such as ruling Colorado Party parliamentary representative Magdaleno Silva. (RSF, Oct. 25) The event has been covered widely by the local press, but little has been done to find Galeano or his abductors.

The government assigned prosecutor Camila Rojas, is leading the investigation and supposedly focusing on Galeano’s work as it might relate to his disappearance. However, since Galeano’s disappearance, the SPP has accused the government of refusing to seriously investigate the case, of contradicting themselves and of falsifying information. (IFEX, Oct. 10) On March 30, 2006 the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) placed Galeano on its missing journalists list. Still, as of late, proceedings have ground to a halt, and government officials have all but dismissed a request of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to be informed of the whereabouts of the disappeared journalist. The last government report released in early November 2006, claimed that Galeano was mentally unstable, and had more likely deserted his home and family than been kidnapped. (IFEX, Nov. 15)

Since Galeano’s disappearance, at least two other journalists investigating the same topic have been threatened. Juan Augusto Roa, a correspondent for the daily ABC Color in Encarnación, was shot at while investigating his story near the border with Argentina on Feb. 27, and in June and July of 2006, Luis Alcides Ruiz Díaz of the weekly Hechos received death threats by cell phone regarding his writing about the drug trade in the northeast city of Pedro Juan Caballero on the Brazilian border. (Pulsar, June 18, 2006)

April Howard for Upside Down World, Jan. 31

See our last post on Paraguay.