Radio Journalist Assassinated in Honduras

Radio journalist Luz Marina Paz Villalobos, and her companion (and possible mechanic), Delmer Canales, were gunned down by two men on a motorcycle yesterday in Tegucigalpa. The police reported 47 bullet holes in the vehicle. She and her companion were traveling in a pickup truck belonging to military officer Marco Tulio Leiva, who told reporters at the murder scene that Paz was interested in buying the vehicle.

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.

2 Responses to "Radio Journalist Assassinated in Honduras"

  1. Administrator  December 7, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Thank you for your comment. We did not catch the misuse of that word on the first read-through. “Mitigating” was obviously used inappropriately. The sentence should read, “as there are differing factors…”

    Our apologies.

  2. Trujillo Patty  December 7, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Who cares why this woman was murdered? She was murdered. There are no mitigating circumstances. Whoever did this, for whatever the reason it was done, needs to be chased down and punished. But, This IS Honduras.

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