Gunmen kill radio station owner in Paraguay; RSF blames organized crime

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  • February 7, 2013

By Alejandro Martínez

The owner of radio station Sin Fronteras 98.5 FM Marcelino Váquez was gunned down and killed on Wednesday Feb. 6 in front of his work place in Pedro Juan Caballero, Paraguay, near the border with Brazil, website Paraguay.com informed.

Witnesses reported that around 7 p.m. two armed men intercepted Vázquez while he left the station and shot him at point blank. Vázquez, 54, was en route to a club that he also owned.

The reasons behind the attack remain unknown but Reporters Without Borders (or RSF in French) said that "organized crime was probably behind this murder, especially as the method bears its hallmarks.”

"Sin Fronteras FM was mainly a music station but it also carried news and opinion programmes that were ready to broach any subject. Vázquez almost certainly paid the price for this audacity," the organization said.

Paraguay dropped 11 places in RSF's most recent Press Freedom Index. The organization said the region near Pedro Juan Caballero -- the capital of Amambay department -- is known as an area where marijuana is grown, drugs travel through the border with Brazil and journalists from both countries are exposed to constant danger. RSF produced a report on the region on 2011.

According to AFP, the crime was the most recent one in a wave of killings that are presumably also related to organized crime.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.