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Extermination Group Continues to Threaten Journalists at Radio Victoria in Cabanas

In the past week, Radio Victoria has received a new wave of death threats toward its reporters. Threats through text messages and notes between April 30th and May 4th target three radio staff and even threaten the murder of the three year old daughter of the press director.

The authors of the text messages have identified themselves as an extermination group, reminiscent of the death squads that were active during El Salvador’s civil war.  The department of Cabanas, where Radio Victoria is located, is known for its resistance to the Pacific Rim mining company, and for the assassination of environmental leaders Marcelo Rivera, Ramiro River and Dora Sorto.

On Wednesday May 4th, members of Radio Victoria and Salvadoran environmentalist groups held a rally and press conference in front of the Attorney General´s office demanding an investigation. Despite the fact that the radio has received threats in the past, the Attorney General has not provided sufficient protection for the radio’s staff. 

To read more about threats and violence toward anti-mining leaders in Cabanas, click here for coverage in Spanish and here for coverage in English.

The Salvadoran Attorney General’s office must investigate these threats and protect the journalists threatened!

When you sign this petition, the letter below will be sent in Spanish:

Subject: Stop Death Threats toward Journalists

Mr. Barahona and Mr. Morales:

I am very concerned about the continued death threats that journalists at Radio Victoria have received between April 30th and May 4th of this year. Prior threats have gone uninvestigated despite numerous calls for their investigation and for the protection of the journalists. As a member of the international community, I am very worried about this attack on human rights and freedom of expression.

In January of 2011, members of the international community called on you to protect Radio Victoria journalists and community leaders in and the department of Cabanas, and to investigate cases of violence toward activists in the region since 2009. By not responding to these demands, the government  has allowed these extermination groups to continue repressing and threatening activists in Cabañas.

I demand that you conduct a full investigation of these threats toward journalists, and that you ensure specialized police protection for all Radio Victoria employees.

The international and Salvadoran community will greatly appreciate your taking steps to investigate these cases and provide protection to those whose lives are in danger.

Letter to
Director of Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Relations David Morales
Attorney General of El Salvador Sr. Romeo Barahona and Sr. Hector Burgos
Estoy muy preocupado por la nueva ola de amenazas de muerte que han recibido los y las periodistas de Radio Victoria entre el 30 de abril y el 04 de mayo de este año. Amenazas previas no se han investigado, a pesar de los numerosos llamamientos para su investigación y para la protección de los periodistas. Como miembro de la comunidad internacional, estoy muy preocupado por este nuevo ataque contra los derechos humanos y la libertad de expresión en El Salvador.

En enero de 2011, los miembros de la comunidad internacional pedimos que protegiera a los periodistas de Radio Victoria y a los líderes comunitarios del Departamento de Cabañas, y que investigara los casos de violencia contra activistas en la región desde 2009. La falta de acción por parte del gobierno ha permitido que grupos o personas en el anonimato sigan con sus campañas de terror y represión.

Exijo que se realice una investigación completa sobre estas amenazas a los periodistas y que se asegure protección policíal especializada para todos los miembros de Radio Victoria.

La comunidad internacional y salvadoreña agradecerá su trabajo para investigar estos casos y asegurar protección a aquellos cuyas vidas están en peligro.


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