Miami (August 12, 2010)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today strongly condemned the “cowardly attack” and called “serious intimidation of press freedom” an attempt to blow up the building that headquarters radio stations Caracol Radio, La W Radio and Spanish news agency EFE in the Colombian capital of Bogotá.
According to information gathered for the IAPA at the scene by IAPA Rapid Response Unit reporter Diana Calderón, director of Caracol Radio, and an initial report by Colombian Attorney General Guillermo Mendoza Diago, the car bomb is believed to have targeted the radio station.
One theory is that the 5:30 a.m. attack was meant for Caracol’s general director and host of its program “6 am Hoy x Hoy” (6:00 a.m. Today), Darío Arizmendi, who had been receiving threats. At the time of the explosion, which injured at least nine people, Arizmendi was at the station with reporters Gustavo Gómez and Erica Fontalvo.
IAPA President Alejandro Aguirre, editor of the Miami, Florida, Spanish-language newspaper Diario Las Américas, condemned the “cowardly attack” and immediately offered “the solidarity of this organization with our colleagues and everyone affected by the explosion.”
Aguirre declared that “we have no doubt that this was an attempt at intimidation to silence the press; we have full confidence that the new administration of President Juan Manuel Santos will act quickly to investigate, identify the perpetrators and prevent such an incident from happening again.”
The explosion also rocked neighboring commercial and residential buildings while the most serious damage caused in the press building was to the Caracol offices.
Robert Rivard, chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information and editor of the San Antonio Express-News, Texas, said, “We regret that just when Colombia was earning a reputation as a model in the battle against violence, incidents like this occur and they are forced to maintain their guard on high alert.”
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org