December 13, 2019

Radio journalist murdered in northeastern Peru

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the authorities in Iquitos, the capital of northeastern Peru’s Loreto region, to quickly shed light on the murder of Sonia Alvarado Huayunga, a journalist whose body was found in the province of Datem del Marañón, one of this Amazonian region’s six provinces, on Tuesday the 10th of December, three days after she went missing. The body bore the marks of blows and strangulation.

Aged 28, Alvarado was a presenter on Radio Láser, a local radio station, and worked for the public relations department of Datem del Marañón.


The murder motive is not yet clear but the police said they have arrested her ex-husband, Felipe Cáceres Rodríguez, as the main suspect. Cáceres had quarrelled with her and had threatened her several times. The national daily La República reported that she had been investigating illegal logging in the region, in which Cáceres is alleged to have been directly involved.


Justice must be rendered to Sonia Alvarado and her family,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau. “We call on the Peruvian authorities to shed all possible light on this murder and to pay the utmost attention to the possibility that it was linked to the victim’s work as a journalist.”  


The Loreto region, which is very rural and hard to travel around, has for years been marked by drug trafficking, illegal logging and corruption. In a message about Alvarado on Facebook, Radio Láser’s staff said her “mission was to eliminate corruption in Datem del Marañón province.”


Peru is ranked 85th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.