Fausto Gabriel Alcaraz Garay

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Alcaraz was returning home from work in the early afternoon in the city of Pedro Juan Caballero, Amambay state, when two assailants on a motorcycle shot him repeatedly, according to local press reports. The Associated Press reported that Alcaraz was hit by 17 bullets. The suspects fled the scene immediately.

Alcaraz co-hosted a show on Radio Amambay called “De frente a la mañana” (Head-on in the morning), in which he often denounced crime and drug trafficking in the city, the Asunción-based daily ABC Color reported. Radio Amambay’s owner, Sen. Roberto Acevedo of the opposition Authentic Radical Liberal Party, said Alcaraz discussed the illegal activities of local drug traffickers, according to reports. “With this latest crime, no journalist will want to talk about drug dealers, who are all devils,” he said.

Acevedo said the local police in the city, which borders with Brazil, are heavily influenced by the drug gangs and that Pedro Juan Caballero, “seems more and more like Ciudad Juárez in Mexico,” according to news reports.

In a statement published on the Interior Ministry’s website, Minister Francisco de Vargas dismissed Acevedo’s statement as “too broad.” He said authorities had launched a probe and were investigating at least two suspects, one of whom was found dead the day after the murder in Amambay.

ABC Color reported that radio stations and programs like Alcaraz’s have become a flashpoint in the political power struggle between Acevedo’s family (the senator’s brother is mayor of the city of Pedro Juan Caballero) and Pedro González, governor of Amambay. Both sides own radio stations which they use to accuse the other of being involved in criminal activity–charges both groups deny–according to the daily. Ten days after the murder, local blogs published what they said were leaked text messages between Acevedo and Alcaraz in which the senator appeared to instruct the journalist on what he should say on his program. The senator denied writing the messages, according to news reports.

On June 2, authorities said they arrested a Brazilian citizen who faced an international arrest warrant for drug trafficking and who they were investigating to see if he had any links to Alcaraz’s murder, according to news reports.