Unidentified individuals intercepted Salgado, host of the radio program “Frijol el Terrible,” as he was leaving the studios of Radio Cadena Voces at 4 p.m. The assailants shot Salgado at close range at least seven times and sped away in a gray Toyota 4Runner, according to witnesses quoted in local press reports.
Dagoberto Rodríguez, director of Radio Cadena Voces, said he believed the killing was in retaliation for the station’s critical reporting on official corruption. The Honduran Commissioner of Human Rights, Ramón Custodio López, told CPJ no other motive had come to light. Police said Salgado’s murder was unrelated to his work, but they did not disclose any other motives, local press freedom advocate Thelma Mejía told CPJ.
Salgado, 67, was noted for his satirical criticism of the country’s political system, according to Rodríguez. His show combined humor with coverage of everyday problems, such as the prices of food and transportation. “Frijol el Terrible,” which was on the air for more than 20 years, reached a nationwide audience, Rodríguez said. He described Salgado as respected by his colleagues and admired by his listeners.
Rodríguez told CPJ that Radio Cadena Voces had been harassed continuously for its reporting on government corruption. Over the last two years, he said, hackers had repeatedly erased information on the radio station’s Web site, the staff had received anonymous telephone threats, and at least one journalist had been attacked by a local government official. Rodríguez and his family were themselves forced to flee Honduras on November 1, after police informed the journalist that his name had appeared on a hit list, Custodio told CPJ.
Sandra Aguilar, the victim’s wife, described Salgado as a quiet man who divided his time between the radio station and his small study at home. Aguilar told CPJ her husband had never had problems or received any threats. Several days after Salgado’s murder, hundreds of journalists protested in the streets of Tegucigalpa. They called on local authorities to ensure justice.
On October 26, authorities arrested German David Almendárez Amador after witnesses identified him as the gunman, the Tegucigalpa-based daily El Heraldo reported. Almendárez and his family insisted that he was innocent and had an alibi, local news reports said. He was later freed without charge after spending many months in custody.