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Dynamite blast damages opposition senator's radio station

(RSF/IFEX) - A dynamite charge was set off in the early hours of 18 December 2008 in front of the Atlántica radio station, which is owned by opposition senator Guido Guardia, in the eastern city of Santa Cruz. The blast created a sizeable crater in the ground and caused considerable damage to the outside of the station but did not result in any injuries. The radio station is located inside the compound where Guardia lives. Death threats were issued against the senator in a note left near the site of the explosion.

Guardia was elected as a member of the ruling Movement to Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo, MAS) party in 2006 but has since become one of the party's leading opponents. He has been campaigning actively on his radio station against a new constitution, on which a referendum is to be held on 25 January 2009. Guardia has publicly accused Interior Minister Alfredo Rada and presidential Chief of Staff Juan Ramón Quintana of masterminding the bombing, saying "they will not make me leave the senate or the country."

"Senator Guardia's anger is legitimate but his accusations against the government will not help to defuse a very tense political climate that is detrimental to the press," Reporters Without Borders said. "For the moment, it is important that the appropriate authorities, at both the national and the regional level, do everything possible to shed light on this bombing."

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