Journalists Andersson Boscán and Mónica Velásquez recently fled Ecuador amid threats. (Photo: Andersson Boscán)

Journalists Andersson Boscán and Mónica Velásquez flee Ecuador amid threats

São Paulo, July, 28, 2023—Ecuadorian authorities must investigate threats to journalists Andersson Boscán and Mónica Velásquez and ensure that they can return to the country safely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday.

On Tuesday, July 25, Boscán, co-founder of La Posta, and Velásquez, his wife and a journalist with the social media-based outlet, left the country shortly after publishing a report on corruption and drug trafficking allegations involving the brother-in-law of President Guillermo Lasso and members of the Albanian mafia, according to news reports.

In a statement to CPJ, Boscán said that officials with a European intelligence agency contacted La Posta about “a plan of attack” against the outlet’s founders orchestrated by the Albanian mafia. The statement said La Posta’s reporters had also obtained audio files that featured a local Ecuadorian businessman speaking to a member of the Albanian mafia about targeting Boscán in an unspecified attack.

“Ecuadorian authorities must thoroughly investigate the threats against journalists Andersson Boscán and Mónica Velásquez, and ensure they can return to the country safely,” said Cristina Zahar, CPJ’s Latin America and the Caribbean program coordinator. “It is outrageous that journalists are fleeing Ecuador amid such widespread threats in response to their work.”

In his statement, Boscán said that Ecuadorian police were aware of the threats made in that recording, but said “they didn’t alert us to the risk we were running.”

“La Posta will continue to do its job, confident that this country deserves the truth and free journalism,” the statement said.

CPJ contacted Ecuadorian Communications Secretary Wendy Reyes for comment via messaging app but did not immediately receive any reply. The outlet’s report said that the president’s brother-in-law did not comment on La Posta’s investigation.

Earlier this year, Ecuadorian journalist Karol Noroña left the country after receiving death threats, and in March, five bombs were mailed to journalists throughout the country, injuring one.

In June, CPJ published Ecuador on edge, a report examining how political turmoil and a deepening security crisis have put reporters and press freedom at increasing risk.