URGENT - Ecuador radio closed

URGENT - Ecuador radio closed

Post by Bruce Girar » Sat, 25 Jun 1994 17:18:12

                       :RadioAction Alert:


ECUADOR, JUNE 1994 - At 4:30 in the morning of Wednesday June 22, 1994,
soldiers occupied and closed Radio Latacunga, the station of the
Cotopaxi provincial Diocese in Ecuador.

The soldiers entered the radio station through the roof, broke a
glass door leading to the offices and arrested Gonzalo Granda and
Norma Arroyo, who were on duty at the station.

On learning of the break-in a few minutes later, station director,
Sister Alma Montoya, arrived on the scene. She was also arrested
and taken to the military base of the Patria Brigade. Sister
Montoya is a Colombian citizen and there is concern that she will
be expelled from Ecuador.

At 9:30 the same morning Alonso Guerrero, an employee of the
station, went to Radio Latacunga to investigate the events. He was
also arrested. Other employees have reported being harassed.

Another station, Escuelas Radiofnicas de Ecuador (ERPE), in
Riobamba was also occupied at 11:30 in the evening of Tuesday June
21. The radio station remained on the air, but with music
programmed by the soldiers.

These events are taking place at a time when the government has
mobilized the military in response to widespread protests by
indigenous peoples against a new law governing agricultural
development. Native people have closed all the roads of the central
mountain area, leaving some cities isolated.

Organized into the Confederacin de Nacionalidades Ind?genas del
Ecuador (CONAIE - Confederation of Indigenous Nations of Ecuador),
native people are opposed to the new law which they claim will
breakup communal structures and permit a concentration of land in
favour of large companies and plantation owners. According to
CONAIE, the new law will wipe out the land reforms gained over the
past years.

The Declaration of Santiago, proclaimed during the Seminar on
Communication Media and Democracy organized by UNESCO in Chile last
month, states that democracy cannot exist without freedom of the
press. The attacks against Radio Latacunga and ERPE are attacks
against democracy.

AMARC's Solidarity Network is requesting that faxes protesting the
occupation of Radio Latacunga and ERPE and the arrest of the
employees of Radio Latacunga be sent to President Dur?n Ball?n at
fax 593-2-580735. Faxes in solidarity with Radio Latacunga and its
workers can be sent to 593-3-802239.

Please send copies of your faxes and letters to AMARC's Solidarity
Network at the address below.

    The Solidarity Action Network is an initiative of AMARC,
the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters

    For more information about AMARC or the Action Network,
                   contact us at:

  3575 St-Laurent, # 704 - Montreal, Quebec - H2X 2T7  Canada
      Fax: +(514) 849-7129 - Tel: +(514) 982-0351


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