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Political motive suspected in Ecuadorian radio programme suspension

On Thursday 2 May 2013, the radio program "Hablemos Claro", broadcast by Radio Marejada in the coastal province of Manabí, was taken off the air. Manabí is located approximately 400 km southwest of Quito. According to the program's director, Trajano Andrade, it was suspended due to pressure exerted by the Municipality of Manta.

Andrade pointed out his program had been broadcast since June 2012 and had always maintained a critical line against the actions of the Municipality of Manta, sharing citizens' complaints about problems such as insecurity, the lack of public works, and the water service, among others. Andrade stated that the municipality complained about this to the radio station's management, which is why the program was suspended.

Meanwhile, Tulio Muñoz, the station's director, denied that any pressure had been exerted by the municipality and stated that the program was suspended because it was not properly managed. Manta's mayor, Jaime Estrada, said he had not interfered to get the program closed down.

A commentator for the same radio program, Guido Quijije, reported on 11 April before the Prosecutor's Office that he had received threats on his cell phone against himself and his family if he did not shut up. Quijije stated in his complaint that he is a quiet man and attributed the threats to the critical line of the program.

Trajano Andrade is a lawyer. He was a councilman in Manta (1982 - 1986) and representative for the Province of Manabí (1986 - 1988) for the Democratic Left. After being President of the Board of the Port Authority of Manta (2004 - 2007), he served as Minister of Transport and Public Works during President Rafael Correa's first term, until he resigned his position to run for the National Constituent Assembly for Movimiento PAIS. He held this position until he was expelled from the Committee on Legislation and the ruling party after an incident involving Ricardo Patiño, the current Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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