Ecuador: letter bombs sent to journalists

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Ecuador: letter bombs sent to journalists

A suspect has been arrested in Ecuador who may have been involved in sending letter bombs to journalists. The suspect is said to have sent envelopes containing an explosive to five journalists. One of them exploded, but a television presenter was not injured. Interior Minister Juan Zapata has revealed that the five packages contain a USB stick with a detonator: “it is suspected that they were sent by the same person.”

Talk show

The person’s gender or identity has not been released in the interest of the investigation. The packages were delivered by a courier company. One was addressed to journalist Carlos Vera, who has a talk show and an internet channel providing critical political commentary.

Television presenter

On Monday, a USB stick exploded near the presenter of a news program, Lenín Artieda, of television channel Ecuavisa. He is known for his outspoken comments against crime and corruption. Artieda was unharmed in the attack. The computer he had put the memory stick in was a total loss. A police chief said the explosive was designed to detonate the moment the memory comes into contact with a computer. Only part of the charge went off during the explosion, so that the television presenter was largely unhurt.

To attack

On Monday, envelopes with similar USB sticks were received at Teleamazonas, TC Televisión and Radio Exa. Explosives experts examined and detonated them.

Ecuador is plagued by violence incited by international organized crime groups. Every day there are deaths due to settlements in criminal circles. Politicians have been liquidated in the last elections, but violence against journalists is not as common as in other Latin American countries. Yet 356 attacks against journalists and media outlets have been reported in the country between January and December 2022.

In 2019, a firebomb was thrown against the building of the Teleamazonas transmitter in Guayaquil. Last year there were smaller explosions at the home of a journalist from the Expreso newspaper, who was investigating corruption in the municipality of Guayaquil. More than 20 years ago, a journalist was injured by a letter bomb.

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