“A great champion of journalism and freedom of expression in Guatemala has passed away,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “We offer our most heartfelt condolences to the family and colleagues of Ileana Alamilla, who dedicated her incredible energy and experience to the defence of media freedom throughout her career.”
A lawyer by training, she fled Guatemala in 1979 and spent two decades in exile, in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico, until 1998. It was while in exile that she founded CERIGUA (Centre for Reports about Guatemala) in 1983 “to break the circle of international isolation that hides the internal armed conflict in Guatemala and to denounce the terror and crimes against its population.”
She was named a Messenger of Peace by the ministry of culture and sports in December 2011 in recognition of her work during the process of negotiating and signing the peace accords. She was also president of the Guatemalan Journalists’ Association (APG).
In one of her last columns, published in October in the newspaper Prensa Libre, she criticized the Guatemalan state for failing to keep its promises to the United Nations and for failing to implement measures for the protection of journalists.
The entire staff of RSF will remember her unflagging courage and commitment to freedom of expression and information, and shares the grief of her family and friends.