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Ecuadorian journalist's home graffitied after writing article critical of government

This statement was originally published on fundamedios.org on 7 April 2015.

On the night of 5 April 2015, Ivonne Guzmán, journalist and columnist for the newspaper El Comercio, was the victim of harassment and intimidation by unidentified persons who scratched the words "sapa puta" (cunning bitch) on the gate of her Quito home.

The journalist told Fundamedios that the incident occurred between 20:00 and 21:00 and that she believed it could be related to her most recent article published on 11 March under the headline "Thanks!" in which she questioned the high cost of living and the surcharges on imports set by the government. According to Guzmán, this article had a major impact on social networks, where people known to support the president also harassed her.

Before the incident, El Comercio had published, on 3 April, a letter sent by the communications secretary Fernando Alvarado in reply to the article. In the letter Alvarado ironically thanked the journalist for letting him know that to publish opinion pieces in this media outlet "you only need to insult and discredit, as well as give unfounded opinions in order to misinform the readers". The official also "thanked" her for "pretending to be a middle class citizen and attempting to deceive us by voluntarily failing to mention her personal interests, related to her job..." and added that this confirms what Guzmán stated in her article regarding the fact that "what abounds in this country are cheats and incompetent people".

The term sapo or sapa is commonly used in Ecuador as a synonym for cunning or someone who takes advantage of other people's naivety or kindness.

Guzman confessed that the insult unnerved her and that its objective was to intimidate her. She announced that she will file a complaint with the Prosecutor's office to ensure the incident is investigated.

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