October 18, 2019

Press Freedom

Ecuador

Ecuador May 26 , 2005

H.E. Alfredo Palacio
President
Office of the President
Palacio de Gobierno
Garcia Moreno 1043
Quito
Republic of Ecuador
Fax: (011.693.2) 580-735

Your Excellency:
 

The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) wishes to express its solidarity with Ecuadorian journalists and to condemn the widespread threats, sabotage and violence that have made their lives and work so dangerous.
 

We welcome this week’s assurances by Interior Minister Mauricio Gándara, reported in the Ecuadorian press, that Paco Velasco will be assured “very personalized” protection if he returns to Ecuador. As you must know, Velasco, head of La Luna radio, fled Ecuador on May 3 after receiving numerous threats against his life. Radio La Luna , which campaigned vigorously against former President Lucio Gutiérrez, was knocked off the air twice by acts of sabotage during the rioting that preceded the removal of Gutiérrez.
 

The violence seems to come from both supporters and opponents of ex-President Gutierrez. The latter appear to have been responsible for roughing up a crew from the TV station, Ecuavisa, and a correspondent of El País of Madrid . While the death on April 19 of the Chilean photographer, Julio Augusto García , after inhaling tear gas during a riot can not be attributed to partisan violence, it does emphasize the dangers of practicing journalism in Ecuador today.
 

Mr. President, we hope that your government will not only protect journalists from violence — and prosecute those who commit or threaten violence — but that you will also turn back the efforts of the previous government to control Ecuador ‘s press. Criminal penalties should never be sought against journalists who criticize public figures, as happened last year in the case of Rodrigo Fierro of El Comercio, who criticized a former president.
 

The Overseas Press Club of America will welcome evidence that your government wishes to restore Ecuador ‘s commitment to a free press.
 

Respectfully yours,
Jeremy Main
Kevin McDermott
Freedom of the Press Committee

 

cc:

Hon. Andres Teran Parral
Chargé d’Affaires
Embassy of the Republic of Ecuador
2535 15th Street, NW

Washington , DC 20009

Fax: (202) 667-3482

The Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Ecuador to the United Nations

866 United Nations Plaza , Room 516

New York , NY 10017

Fax: (212) 935-1835

Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney

U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Ecuador

Embassy of the United States of America

Patria and 12 de Octubre Avenues

Quito

Ecuador

Fax: (011.593.2) 250-2052

(OR: U.S. Embassy – Ecuador

APO AA 34039)