Paraguayan journalist suffers three murder attempts in three days

By Maira Magro

Gabriel Bustamante, a reporter based in the southern city of Ayolas who works with FM Ayolas, La Nación, and Crónica, survived three alleged murder attempts last week, the Paraguayan Journalists’ Union and Reporters Without Borders (RWB) report.

The local press has reported that the perpetrators were Francisco and Valentín Vera, brothers of Isidro Vera, an executive at the Yacyretá energy company, who Bustamante criticized and accused of corruption on his radio show.

According to RWB, on July 22, Francisco Vera first showed up at the journalist’s house and said that he had come to kill Bustamante, but neighbors and police thwarted the attempt. ABC Color says the reporter was hit several times before he managed to escape.

The next day, he went to look for Bustamante at his radio station, where he reportedly warned that he had come to “finish the job.” Once again, the reporter escaped.

On July 24, the reporter suffered the third attempt when an armed Valentín Vera tried to break into Bustamante's house, where he was arrested and charged with attempted murder, La Nación explains. His brother Francisco has also been charged, but he has not yet been detained, RWB explains.

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.