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Colombia April 18, 2005
H.E. Alvaro Uribe Velez
Palacio de Narino
Despacho del Senor Presidente
Cra 8 #7-26
Bogota , D.C.
Republic of Colombia
Fax: (011.57.1) 286-7434
As members of the non-partisan Overseas Press Club of America (OPC), we wish to express our alarm at the recent attacks against journalists in your country. We condemn the murder of Julio Palacios Sanchez of Radio Lemas in Cucuta ; the kidnapping of Hernan Echeverri Arboleda, a photographer for the bi-monthly, Uraba Hoy, and the death threats against Antonio Colmenares, a reporter for the newspaper, La Opinion, and Jorge Corredor, the news presenter for La Voz del Norte. Colmenares and Corredor reportedly fled the city.
Mr. President, the death of Mr. Palacios is particularly troubling to our members, as it must be to you personally. His reputation for fearless reporting of corruption, especially the activities of drug traffickers in the local politics of Cucuta , suggests that he was killed for carrying out his duties as a journalist. His murder stains the reputation of your great country. That he was an ardent supporter of your party and your presidency could suggest that his murder was a symbolic act against your government. Also, the recent car bombing which destroyed seventy percent of the RCN radio station building in the city of Cali was most distressing.
Colombia has suffered terrible violence from the drug lords and the Marxist guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). We recognize the tremendous difficulties facing democracy in your country. We believe that the capture and punishment of those responsible for these attacks on journalists can have a positive effect on the people of Colombia . We urge you to publicly state your support of these investigations and the efforts of journalists to inform your people.
Norman A. Schorr
Freedom of the Press Committee
cc: Luis Alberto Moreno Mejia
Ambassador of Colombia to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Republic of Colombia
2118 Leroy Place, NW
Washington , DC 20008
Fax: (202) 232-8643
Ambassador Luis Guillermo Giraldo
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Colombia
to the United Nations
140 West 57 Street, 5 th Floor
New York , NY 10022
Fax: (212) 371-2813
U.S. Ambassador to Colombia
Embassy of the United States of America
Carrera 45 #22D-45
Bogota , D.C.
Fax: (011.57.1) 315-2197