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Radio Progreso correspondent receives death threats

(C-Libre/IFEX) - Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 27 July 2011 - Roberto García Fúnez, a Radio Progreso correspondent, based in the municipality of Arizona, Atlántida department, informed C-Libre that he has been receiving death threats.

"I have received calls from unknown individuals, who have threatened me, my wife and my children. I fear for my life and that of my family, and my wife is pregnant," García said, adding that he had spotted some suspicious individuals driving around in his neighbourhood and parking near his home, in a clear act of intimidation.

The journalist has been working for Radio Progreso for two years. He has been reporting on the construction of hydroelectric dams along Honduras's coast. Local environmental organisations have complained that the dams are being built with little consultation or without the consent of the local community, but with the complicity of the municipal authorities, including Arizona Mayor Adolfo Paguada.

According to the journalist's wife, Gricelda Yamileth Monje, during a public forum on the dams, held in the city of Tela, the Arizona mayor took down the contact information for her husband and father-in-law. Without their consent, the mayor included this data in a document supporting the hydroelectric companies' plans, which was sent to the National Congress.

García began receiving threats after he reported on the dams for Radio Progreso. The threats intensified after he submitted a complaint to the Prosecutor's Office and to the media on 25 July, denouncing that he had been assaulted by Mayor Paguada on 17 June.

On that particular day, García explained, he was at a municipal forum when the mayor said that his radio reports were defamatory, had damaged his reputation and were sparking unrest in the local community. The mayor assaulted the journalist and prevented him from speaking out to defend himself.

García explained that he has toned down his reports for Radio Progreso out of fear for his safety, and that he doesn't place much faith in the authorities.

According to a local parish priest, there is a lot of fear in the community due to the violence and a number of recent assassinations, and some local families have moved out of the area as a result.


(Please note this is an abridged translation.)


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