Unidentified assailants shot Álvaro Alfredo Aceituno López, director of the local station Radio Ilusión, at around 4 p.m. on June 25, on the street where the station is located in the small, southeastern Guatemalan city of Coatepeque, according to his colleagues and press reports. One of the bullets hit Aceituno, 64, in the back of the head, according to press reports. The Guatemalan Red Cross rushed him to the hospital, where he died later that day.
Leonel Mérida, who worked with Aceituno at Radio Ilusión, said that Aceituno mostly presented the news on his own radio show, “Acontecer Coatepecano,” but sometimes made guest appearances on other programs and expressed opinions about local issues such as bad road repair. Mérida said that Aceituno had not told his colleagues he had received any threats before his murder. Family members told the Guatemalan press freedom group CERIGUA they were also not aware of any threats against Aceituno.
Alex Coyoy, a journalist in Coatepeque who said he had known Aceituno for nine years, told CPJ that the radio reporter was critical of local authorities, hospitals, and companies, and that he would take calls to the radio station in which people would often criticize local officials and municipal programs. Aceituno had worked in radio for around 37 years, and was also a retired teacher, Coyoy told CPJ.
A spokesperson for the National Civil Police told reporters that investigators had been dispatched to Coatepeque to investigate the crime, and that there was no information about a possible motive.