Letters   |   Colombia

Colombia: Mysterious hate pamphlet includes three journalists on enemies list

August 26, 1999

Alfonso Gómez Méndez
Attorney General
Bogotá, Colombia


Your Excellency,

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is writing to urge you to investigate the provenance of a pamphlet containing threats against journalists and other intellectuals that started circulating in the streets of Bogotá, Cali, and Medellín earlier this month.

The pamphlet, signed "Colombian Rebel Army (ERC)," accuses 21 intellectuals, among them three journalists, of being enemies of Colombia's peace process. The pamphlet reads: "These sinister figures feed the war between Colombians, foment hatred and class struggle, live off the war ... They will pay for the destruction of the peace process."

The three journalists mentioned by name are: Alfredo Molano, a columnist for the Bogotá-based daily El Espectadorwho had to flee the country earlier this year after his life was threatened by Carlos Castaño, leader of the right-wing paramilitary United Self Defense Forces (AUC); Patricia Lara, the former owner of the weekly Cambiowho now writes occasionally for the Bogotá-based daily  El Tiempóand Arturo Alape, biographer of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) leader Manuel Marulanda, and a columnist for El Espectador.

The August 13 murder of journalist Jaime Garzón is the most recent illustration of how seriously threats against journalists in Colombia must be taken. CPJ therefore calls on you to do your utmost to determine who is behind the ERC-signed pamphlet, and to protect those threatened in it.

We thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We await your reply.

Sincerely,

Marylene Smeets
Americas Program Coordinator





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Alfonso Gómez Méndez
Attorney General
Bogotá, Colombia

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