November 14, 2019
Dear Attorney General Chincilla and Secretary Cueva:
We are deeply disturbed by the assassination of journalist Buenaventura Calderón, age 72, and killing of his wife, María, age 43, in Puerto Lempira in Gracias a Dios Department.
On November 1 two persons, with their faces covered and riding a motorcycle, fired several shots at Calderón as he was parking his vehicle in front of his house. He died immediately. His wife, who was with him in the car, died at the hospital from several bullet wounds.
Buenaventura Calderón was the host of. “Ecos de la Mosquitia,” a daily news program on the Catholic radio Kupia Kum. He often addressed issues related to corruption in education and healthcare services, impunity in investigations of drug trafficking cases, and the territorial rights of the indigenous Misquito peoples of the region. He was also President of the Puerto Lempira Board of Trustees and a local representative for the Liberty and Refoundation (LIBRE) political party.
Buenaventura Calderón is at least the fourth journalist killed in Honduras in 2019 (cf our letters of Mar 24, Sep 22, Sep 23). His murder highlights the dangers journalists face in carrying out their work reporting on human rights, especially in isolated and rural communities. According to the National Commissioner for Human Rights (CONADEH), about 80 journalists have been killed in Honduras in the last 10 years.
We therefore strongly urge that you
- conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of Buenaventura Calderón and his wife, publish the results, and bring those responsible to justice
- develop and enforce strong protocols to protect journalists that will enable them to carry out their work without fear for their lives.
Brian J. Stefan Szittai Christine Stonebraker-Martinez