PARMENIO MEDINA PEREZ, Costa Rica
A fellow Colombian had warned him not to uncover what he should not even touch, something that Parmenio Medina Pérez was likely to have known very well. Living in Costa Rica for the past several years, he had left his native Colombia on seeing that many journalists there were falling by the wayside for rummaging around where they should not have done so.
Aggressive, sarcastic and relentless towards corruption, Medina in San José faced up to powerful political, business, government, financial and even religious interests. His program “La Patada” (The Kick), broadcast by Monumental radio station, was a powerful voice of denunciation mixed with sarcastic criticism and high-level humor. On taking up investigative reporting as his weapon he earned a great deal of credibility, but also a lot of enemies.
Among these latter were Catholic priest Minor de Jesús Calvo, manager of the now defunct radio station Radio María, and businessman Omar Chaves, both of whom Medina accused over and over again of shady money laundering, going on to charge, with a police report as evidence, that the priest had been spotted with a young friend at a place known as a hangout of homosexuals. The priest then surreptitiously sold the radio station.
One night in May 2001 unidentified persons sprayed Medina’s home with bullets, he having been the object of numerous threats and warnings in anonymous telephone calls. The bullets shattered windows at the house located in Heredia, near the Costa Rican capital, but no one was injured. Medina accused the former priest and his group of having been responsible. Two months later Medina himself was shot at as he walking just a few yards from his home. The shots came from a moving automobile with tinted windows. He died from massive loss of blood.
Five suspects in the murder were acquitted and three finally convicted: Omar Chaves, Luis Alberto Aguirre Jaime, and Minor de Jesus Calvo, meaning that, under pressure from the IAPA and internationally, progress was made against impunity.
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