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Environmental issues reporter receives threats

(CERIGUA/IFEX) - 2 June 2011 - Journalist and columnist Eduardo Villatoro, who writes a weekly column for the "La Hora" newspaper, has received threatening telephone calls that appear to be linked to articles he has written about natural resource exploitation and the construction of a liquid gas plant in coastal areas of Guatemala.

Villatoro told CERIGUA that he recently wrote an article criticising the government for allegedly granting a license to a transnational allowing for iron extraction activities on the Pacific coast. In another column, published on 26 May, he also wrote about the intentions of a Mexican company to build a liquid gas storage plant in an environmentally sensitive area on the Atlantic coast.

In the threatening phone calls Villatoro was told that he was discouraging foreign investment in the country and he is an enemy of progress. The callers told him that since he was not assassinated during Guatemala's civil war, for being a communist, this time he would be.

The threats were repeated in calls to the Guatemalan Journalists Association (Asociación de Periodistas de Guatemala, APG), of which Villatoro is a member and for which he has served as a director and as president on several occasions. In those telephone calls, the threats were linked to the journalist's articles about environmental issues.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals calling on the Guatemalan government and authorities to fully investigate the threats and provide Villatoro with protective measures.


APPEALS TO:

Ruth del Valle
Comisionada Presidencial de los Derechos Humanos
(Presidential Human Rights Commissioner)
2a. Avenida 10-50, zona 9
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2334 0119

Sergio Morales Alvarado
Procurador de los Derechos Humanos
(Human Rights Ombudsman)
12 Avenida 12-72, zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2424 1717
Correo-e: [email protected]

Fiscalía Especial de Delitos contra Periodistas y Sindicalistas
(Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists and Union Members)
Ministerio Público
7a. Avenida 11-20 zona 1, segundo nivel
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2220 6873

Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas Sobre Derechos Humanos para Guatemala
(Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala)
13 calle 3-40 zona 10, Edifico Atlantils, oficina 803
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2382 3410
Correo-e: [email protected]

Carlos Menocal
Ministro de Gobernación
(Interior Minister)
6a. Avenida 4-64, zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2362 0237 / 2339 4474
Correo-e: [email protected]

Jaime Leonel Otzin Diaz
Director de la Policía Nacional Civil
(National Police Director)
Dirección General de la Policía Nacional Civil
6a. Avenida 13-71, zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2238 1474


(Please note this is an abridged translation.)


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