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Lend Your Voice - CD

  

Santiago Leguizamón
April 26, 1991

SANTIAGOLEGUIZAMON, Paraguay

Leguizamon was an aircraft mechanic who, through training and experience, became a flight engineer. But the truth be known, over the noise of engines, propellers and turbines he sought quiet moments to write prose, poetry and drama. It came naturally to him. Finally he decided to study journalism and earned a degree in Communications.

This began a new phase in his life – for 16 years in Pedro Juan Caballero, Amambay, Paraguay, he wrote passionately for newspapers and magazines, discussing and presenting  images as a  correspondent for radio and television stations across the country .His morning radio program "Open Doors" was considered the voice of the voiceless along  the arid border between Paraguay and Brazil.

As a seasoned journalist he caught on to and immediately began to criticize the illicit trade in his region, especially along that stretch of no-man's land that separates (or unites) Pedro Juan Caballero (Paraguay)  and Ponta Pora (Brazil). His radio station, Mburucuyá, frequently denounced the corruption in the area -- the smuggling, drug trafficking and money laundering. The criticism upset organized crime.

Paraguaycelebrates National Journalists Day on April 26th. This date was intentionally selected in 1991 to permanently silence the voice of the voiceless and bring mourning rather than celebration. Leguizamon (41 years old, married, four children) was ambushed by four Brazilian men, apparently hired to kill him, who shot him 21 times, according to the coroner.

The long and slow judicial process has suffered frequent changes of judges and prosecutors, who have received threats, and the release of suspects; evidence and witnesses have disappeared. IAPA presented the case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and has repeatedly taken its appeal for justice to Paraguayan officials. In March, 2009, President Fernando Lugo, at the request of the IAPA, took steps with the Justice Department for the clarification of this crime that remains unpunished after nearly 20 years.



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