“The tragedy of Guatemala’s journalists”, the story of Jose Pelico, a Guatemalan journalist living under constant protection after being threatened by armed men.

first_img April 28, 2009 – Updated on January 25, 2016 “The tragedy of Guatemala’s journalists”, the story of Jose Pelico, a Guatemalan journalist living under constant protection after being threatened by armed men. News Organisation Help by sharing this information _ _ RSF_en Reporters Without Borders publishes an account by Jose Pelico, journalist and press freedom activist of the organisation Cerigua (Centre for informative reports on Guatemala), forced to live under protection after being threatened by armed men. Last April, Reporters Without Borders provided him with emergency funding so that he could stay in the secure residence in which he and his family have been living for six months. When I was ten I already knew I wanted to be a journalist for a daily newspaper or a radio. Today, I have realised that dream, but after ten years in the profession, I am paying a price for it: my family and I have been threatened with death. According to Guatemala’s Observatory for Journalists, organised crime, drug traffickers and gangsters regularly threaten members of the profession. The Observatory warned two years ago of the dangers of criminal gangs infiltrating to the heart of Guatemalan society. They have found Guatemala an ideal territory to establish themselves, thanks to the impunity that holds sway within its institutions and in particular the police, whose leaders nevertheless boast about their success in the fight against crime. The reality is utterly different in a country where on average 17 people meet a violent death every day.These criminal gangs are a particular danger to the regional and local press. No-one dares mention the presence of the drug cartels in places such as San Marco, Huehuetenango, Quetzaltenango, El Quiche, Alta Verapaz, Peten and Puerto Barrios, where criminal gangs operate. Journalists in the rural areas have also been silenced, intimidated and sometimes co-opted by members of the mafia, who are seen as “saviours” and enjoy a certain prestige in communities which have been let down by the state institutions. When a journalist takes the risk of exposing the power exerted and deadly influence of crime gangs on the country’s institutional life, they immediately receive threatening calls, are intimidated or worse still murdered.Jorge Merida, a journalist in Coatepeque, in the Quetzaltenango region, was killed in his home a year ago after receiving threats. His killing has still not been punished and the investigation has stalled. In another disturbing case, Rolando Santis, a journalist on the programme Telecentro 13 on privately owned Telecentro television, was the victim of a cowardly murder on 1 April 2009 as he returned from reporting on a criminal act committed in the red zone of the Guatemalan capital. His cameraman was badly injured and is still in hospital.Both these journalists had been threatened for having referred to two similar cases. Santis told me that he knew that intimidation was the lot of journalists. Unfortunately, there is no official protection for journalists. Santis paid with his life for being a combative journalist, for exposing abuses against the people and investigating organised crime in the capital. Local newspapers published reports that shortly before he was killed, Rolando Santis was gathering information about a house where authorities later discovered drugs and sophisticated weapons. The office of the public ministry, responsible for investigating attacks against journalists and trade unionists, set up to investigate attacks on the press, persecutes community radios and does not fulfil its role of investigation and protection.We journalists, devastated by this murder of our colleague, ask ourselves questions. How much longer do we have to wait before the Guatemalan authorities guarantee freedom of expression? How many other people will pay with their lives before any concrete action is taken? When will journalists be able to do their job in complete freedom?For my part, I am afraid for the future. My family is also a victim of this and I do not want to abandon them. I am afraid, because of these people who, annoyed by exposures by journalists have no hesitation in carrying out their threats, as the killings of Merida and Santis proves. However I am finding some small comfort as a result of the solidarity shown by people, institutions, colleagues and fellow professionals. I must thank them for the help they have given me since I became the target of intimidation.I am currently receiving protection, supplied to the government of Guatemala by the Inter-American Commission on human rights. But these steps cannot complete guarantee my safety nor that of my family. The government does not have enough resources. Despite the huge danger, we only have two officers taking it in turns to protect us. This also has repercussions for my daily life. For example, since I can’t travel in public transport, I have to take taxis and that is expensive and I can’t manage it in my financial situation. Another example is the fact that I have to frequently change my address, which also involves major expense. All these costs deprive me of my freedom, without even mentioning the psychological effects on my children. We are prisoners in our own home.Jose Pelico last_img read more

Promissory note repayment will cost jobs

first_imgNewsLocal NewsPromissory note repayment will cost jobsBy admin – April 17, 2012 566 LIMERICK-born economist, Tom McDonnell, believes that recent moves to negotiate a deal on the Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide promissory notes, is a positive move.Mr McDonnell was speaking at Mary Immaculate College. He did, however, warn that the structure of the deal and in particular the interest rate, would be crucial to Ireland’s debt sustainability“As it stands, the promissory notes will cost €47 billion over the next 20 years. Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up “It is welcome that the Government is now prioritising this issue and realises that the current structure of Ireland’s debt burden and the promissory note payments has to be renegotiated with a view to easing the burden on the Irish state and ensuring Ireland’s debt sustainability into the medium term. “However, the structure of any deal is crucial.  We don’t yet know exactly what will come about and in particular there is no information regarding what the interest rate on payments might be.”Mr McDonnell was speaking before addressing a public meeting on promissory note that was hosted by the Limerick One World Society.“The promissory notes constitute our remaining €30.6 billion bill for the private debts of Anglo and the INBS – a bill due to be paid by the Irish people through higher taxes and lower public spending: he pointed out.  “While most of the Anglo/INBS bondholders have now been repaid, we will be footing the bill for that repayment for years in terms of lower public spending and higher taxes – taxes which will be used to pay for bank debt rather than for improved public services or infrastructure. He said that over 2% of GDP will be sucked out of the economy each year up to 2023 to meet the promissory note repayments, which will mean more job losses and more pressure on a battered economy and society.“TASC (an independent, progressive think-tank dedicated to promoting equality, democracy and sustainability in Ireland through evidence-based policy recommendations), has suggested that the Government seek to convert the promissory notes into a low-interest long-term government bond – sometimes called a ‘bullet bond,” which is repayable over a longer period, such as 50 or even 100 years and has long argued that at least some of the former Anglo’s private banking debt that was socialised should be written-down.”He concluded that the outcome of the negotiations being conducted by the Department of Finance and the ECB will have a long-term impact on Ireland’s debt sustainability and economic recovery. Advertisement Facebook Twitter Emailcenter_img Print WhatsApp Linkedin Previous articleCharged with breaching court order at Newcastle WestNext articleIGB identify owners of dead greyhounds adminlast_img read more