AUGUST 3, 2005
Posted: August 17, 2005

Radio Quebracho Poty


Unidentified attackers set on fire the studios of community radio station Radio Quebracho Poty, based in the town of Puerto Casado, on the border between Paraguay and Brazil.

Early on the morning of August 3, unidentified attackers forced the door to the station’s studios open, set the station’s broadcasting equipment on fire, and cut the antenna’s cables with pliers, according to Charles Saldívar, who is a correspondent for the Asunción-based daily Última Hora and TV channel Telefuturo, as well as a reporter for radio station Radio Pai Puku. A Molotov cocktail thrown inside the radio station, Saldívar said, apparently caused the fire.

Radio Quebracho Poty, owned by the Catholic Church, is the only radio station in Puerto Casado. The station’s studios are located inside the local church’s premises.

Puerto Casado, a small town by the Paraguay River, is located inside a large estate owned by the Moon sect. The radio station has campaigned for the expropriation of the land that surrounds the town, airing interviews with supporters of the measure, Saldívar said.

A day after the radio station was burned, the Paraguayan Senate passed a bill calling for the expropriation of 52,000 hectares of land surrounding Puerto Casado and belonging to a company owned by the Moon sect. The Chamber of Deputies is currently discussing the bill, which is supported by Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte Frutos.

Radio Quebracho Poty’s employees attributed the attack to opponents of the land expropriations, who days before the attack had protested near the radio station and had threatened to burn the station and the church, Saldívar said.

After interrupting its broadcasts for several days, Radio Quebracho Poty is now back on air using a transmitter on loan from Radio Pai Puku. Saldívar said prosecutors have yet to detain any suspects in connection with the attack.