GUATEMALA Restrictions and violations of press freedom continued in the March-October period and aggression has flourished in aclimate of impunity. Investigations - even if they are carried out - fail to produce results. There are never any people arrested or brought to trial. Thus violence against journalists persists. On September 12, journalist Victor Hugo López, director of Nuevo Diario del Aire, was shot to death. Two other developments threaten freedom of expression. One is an atmosphere of hostility against the magazine Crónica for commenting in favor of the World Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. The other case is that of Judge María Eugenia Villaseñor Velarde, who was forced to leave the country for writing a book about a political crime. Here is a chronology of key events affecting press freedom in Guatemala: On March 3, radio journalist Nery de la Cruz Ibánez reported she had been attacked near her home by unknown persons carrying machine guns. They threatened her and took her press credential but not her money. The journalist said she had been repeatedly threatened by letter and telephone in late 1993. On March 20, journalist Adolfo Barrera Ortiz and his family left Guatemala after an apparent attempt on his life earlier in the month. In February, a bomb had exploded next to his home. The government rejected his request for protection and only helped him leave the country with his family. Barrera Ortiz, his wife and four children sought asylum in Canada; they have permission to stay and will receive financial help from the Canadian government for ayear. Another journalist, a relative of Barrera Ortiz, was the victim of a criminal assault in 1989 in which his wife was killed. He is now in exile in Costa Rica. On March 22, editors of several newspapers and reporters Salvador Hernández, Iduvina Hernández, Otto Ramiro Morán Gálvez, Guillermo Girón Valdez, Osear Granados, Ricardo Castro, Osear Masaya, Héctor Adolfo Barrera Ortiz, Nery de la Cruz, José Rubén Zamora, Haroldo Sánehez, Jorge Yee and Carmen Aida Ibarra, received written threats on letterheads of the National Guatemalan Revolutionary Union, URNG. This guerrilla organization denied sending the threats and blamed the army, whieh also denied sending them. Underground terrorist groups use these kinds of tacties to confuse public opinion and the victims. On March 24, broadcaster Marco Tulio de la Roca was gunned down, losing an eye as a result of the attack. The motives are unknown, according to his wife, Aída de De la Roca. The same day, students at the Western University Center, CUNOC, attacked the regional offices of Prensa Libre in Quetzaltenango department. The weekly El Nuevo Quetzalteco, which is distributed in the western region of Guatemala, is edited there. The students hurled a variety of missiles at the building, causing serious damage. U.S. journalist and photographer Diane Weinstock was attacked with clubs, rocks and machetes by a mob in the city of San Cristóbal Verapaz in northern Guatemala. Weinstock was apparently taking photos when the crowd, who mistook her for a baby-snatcher, launched its attack. The assailants also set fire to a locallaw office where she had sought refuge. Twenty people were arrested. The journalist, who writes about the environment and produces a publication in Alaska, was hospitalized as a result of her injuries. U.S. embassy officiais reported unofficially that Weinstock was not in Guatemala in her capacity as a journalist. The Public Ministry revealed several days later that Ms. Weinstock had submittedpapers to adopt a child in Alta Verapaz. On April1 3, journalist Joaquín Medina Bermejo, director of the television news program "Notisiete," reported that his wife, Sara Elisa Corado de Medina, 32, had disappeared while downtown. He believed it to be a kidnapping. He indicated that during the regime of President Serrano Elías, his family had been the victim of continual threats and, prior to the alleged kidnapping of his wife, his children had received telephone calls with death threats. Corado was found alive a day later by the police. Medina Bermejo later revealed that his wife had "kidnapped" herself because of marital problems. AIso on April13, at 6:15 p.m., a group of men with shotguns, machine guns and 9mm submachine guns kidnapped Prensa Libre marketing director Rafael Aragón Ortiz, according to his own account. He was allegedly forced to draw up a message against the government of President Ramiro de León Carpio to be published in Prensa Libre's April 15 edition. There are, however, sorne doubts that have not been cleared up. The same person was involved in an incident a few days later in the basement of the Prensa Libre building. He fired several shots at his own automobile in the belief - according to his own account - that someone was trying to attack him. But there apparently was no one else in the basement. On April25, at 9:45 p.m., the building in which La República, edited by Gonzalo Marroquín Godoy, is located was the scene of a drive-by shooting. No one was injured. On May 17, the congressional Human Rights Commission summoned the president of Siglo Veintiuno, José Rubén Zamora, to ask him to clarify allegedly derogatory remarks published in the newspaper about representativesJosé Carlos Acevedo andJorge Eduardo García Salas, who requested the hearing. The representatives went to the extreme of threatening Zamora, who did not appear before the Commission, with legal action against his newspaper. Since then, it has been rumored, without confirmation, that several representatives are drawing up a "gag law" against the nation's press. On May 31, unidentified attackers threw a dynamite stick at the home of Fernando Quezada Toruño, a member of the editorial board of weekly magazine Crónica. The reason for the attack could not immediately be established, but it is believed to involve the family relationship of the victim and Bishop Rodolfo Quezada Toruño, president of the Assembly of Civil Society, one of the groups partiicipating in peace negotiations between the government and Guatemalan guerrilla groups. On June 3, Ramsés Cuestas, Attorney General and Chief of the Public Ministry, report that the alleged murderers of newspaper executive Jorge Carpio Nicolle had been captured. The arrested men were Carlos Enrique López, former governor of Quiché department; Pedro Chaperón Lacpoc, mayor of San Pedro Jocopilas; and Francisco López, commander of the self-defense civil patrols in that town. At dawn on June 23, a hand grenade was hurled at the offices of Tinamit magazine in Guatemala City, damaging the building. Executives of the magazine reported the attack to the National Police, but nothing has been resolved. On July 1, a bomb was thrown at the studios of Radio Progreso at 10 p.m., following a program, "Tribuna de Opinión Pública," in which guest journalist Hugo Arce had criticized Attorney General Acisclo Valladares Molina. Three days later, the program moderator, César Augusto Méndez Auraz, was fired. The journalist's house is under constant surveillance, and the Archbishop of Guatemala has called for protection for Méndez Auraz. Around 3 a.m. on the morning of July 17, unknown persons kidnapped Edwin Quezada Barquero, reporter for the morning newspaper Prensa Libre, according to the victim's own declarations. Although he claimed to have been taken by members of Army Intelligence, it was established that the journalist was inside a local bar-in a state of intoxication - during the period in which he claims to have been kidnapped. Prensa Libre conducted an investigation, establishing that Quezada's claims were lies, and then fired the journalist and made its findings known to the publico Quezada and his family arrived in Canada on August 11, after leaving with the help of the Guatemalan Archbishop's Human Rights Office. That office is continuing its own investigation into the case, which Prensa Libre dismissed afier several witnesses testified seeing Quezada the night he was allegedly kidnapped. The magazine Crónica, edited in Guatemala City, devoted significant editorial space to defending the Conference on Population and Development, held in September in Cairo, Egypt. Crónica's editorial stance was interpreted by sorne as including support of the right to abortion. An editorial titled "Machismo, the state morality" declared: "The position of Guatemalan President De León Carpio concerning the Population and Development document is untenable. It not only adopts unilateral criteria on religious and moral matters, but his negative stance also is irresponsible because it gets in the way of a better standard of living for Guatemalan women." These comments provoked a violent response from groups affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, and the Catholic organization Opus Dei apparently led an economic boycott agalnst the magazine. The denunciations published in Crónica also had an effect on other media, which became fearful of making editorial comments on the theme and resorted to self-censorship, although they did publish declarations and comments from third parties. On August 5, around 1:30 p.m., Prensa Libre photographer Alberto Galiano was arrested, handcuffed and put in a National Police radio patrol car, on the orders of judge Rubén Mendoza, who tried to impede Mendoza's journalistic work. The photographer was trying to take photos of two alleged criminals who had been killed, when the judge stepped into his path and told the police to arrest him. As he was being transferred to the detention center, colleagues trom other newspapers impeded the arrest and protested. Finally, thanks to the intervention of a group of more than ten journalists, the photogrpaher was set free. The judge was immediately removed from office. On August 10, four unidentifed men shot up the Guatemalan ]ournalists Association (APG) headquarters in downtown Guatemala City, where military officersand civilians were taking part in a roundtable at the time. A 50-year-old bypasser was injured. On September 1, magistrate María Eugenia Villaseñor Velarde left the country and sought temporary asylum in Costa Rica. She had received death threats for several weeks for writing a book entitled "Myrna Mack and Her Encounter with ]ustice," in which she gives a first-hand account of the trial of a Guatemalan Army specialist for the murder of anthropologist Myrna Mack. The accused was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Mack was killed while she was investigating reports of peasant massacres. In commenting on the case, Villaseñor Velarde declared, "Taken as a whole, the Guatemalan judicial system shows signs of going backwards in not daring to order the investigation of the crime's intellectual authors." She stayed in Costa Rica for 30 days, returning to Guatemala by airo On September 9, the Attorney General for Human Rights, Dr. Jorge Mario Garúa Laguardia, in published remarks, charged the with putting Opus Dei pressure on Crónica for its position on the Cairo conference. The same day, an open letter was sent to the Guatemalan president signed by Katia Gil in the name of the International Federation of ]ournalists concerning the case of Crónica editor Francisco Pérez Antón "whocharged on August 14 that the Opus Dei attempted to damage him economically in order to prevent the weekiy from informing" about the Cairo conference. According to the IFJ, an Opus Dei delegation visited business executives who place advertisements in the magazine and persuaded sorne of them to withdraw their ads. The Opus Dei strongly denied any responsibility. On September 12, two gunmen with automatic weapons killed journalist Victor Hugo López, news director of Nuevo Diario del Aire, as he went about personal business downtown. On September 13, La Hora copy editor Gerson López was shot at by unidentified persons as he got out of his automobile near his office.He dropped to the ground, successfully ducking the bullets. He reported that he had never received threats and did not have the impression that he himself was the object of the attack. President Ramiro De León has ordered an investigation. On September 19, the Attorney General's Office for Human Rights handed down an official resolution in response to the petition presented bythe International Federation of]ournalists (IFJ) regarding Opus Dei pressures on Crónica magazine. The resolution called on "idealogues and executors of intolerance to cease and desist from such practices."