Ms. Paz Villalobos was thirty-eight years old and hosted a morning show called “Three in the News”, which broadcast on “Cadena Hondurena
de Noticias” (The Honduran News Chain). She was known to report on politics and narcotics trafficking, but was not among Honduras’ best-known or most outspoken journalists. She studied at the National Autonomous University of Honduras, and spent several years working in radio. She had previously worked eight years for Radio Globo, where she was critical of the 2009 political crisis, during which former president Manuel Zelaya was exiled.
Relatives theorized that the murder could be linked to a Mara member who had been threatening Paz. The Maras allegedly claimed they would kill her when she refused to pay protection money for the small business she owned in the area.
The President of the College of Journalists of Honduras (CPH), Juan Ramón Mairena, lamented that the murder of the journalist “could not go unpunished”, as has happened with the violent deaths of 16 others between 2010 and the beginning of 2011.
Solving this particular incident, however, will be a challenge for the police, as there are mitigating factors. There is controversy that her death could have been meant for the military officer whose car she was in, as in the case of a mistaken identity; it could be due to the unpaid extortion money for the Maras; or it could be linked to her radio broadcasts.
Paz is the 17th journalist slain in Honduras since the beginning of 2010.