Salesian Radio-Television “Ichilo” attacked in Yapacaní, Bolivia
Sunday 10 November, violent groups linked to the government of the outgoing President Evo Morales attacked Radio-Television Ichilo (RTI) owned by the Salesians. It is based in the municipality of Yapacaní, Ichilo Province, Department of Santa Cruz.
www.infoans.org reported that in the early hours of Sunday, after the announcement of the President’s resignation, the Salesian radio station was attacked by several assailants: the radio facilities were looted, the equipment destroyed, the offices on the first floor burned.
Radio Ichilo had been operating for 38 years, one of the most important radio stations in the region, known for its social commitment and service of and to the peasant population and working-class organizations. Since 1992, the broadcaster has also equipped itself with a television channel, which thus complemented the radio broadcast.
The radio was founded in 1981 by the Salesian priest Fr Aquilino Libralon, along with six young people from the youth group of the local parish. Although starting with a single signal repeater, the radio did a great deal of pastoral work in the community and was able to foster social promotion and the integration of the great diversity of immigrant peasant families from the other provinces of the country that had been arriving in the area since the 1960s.
The destruction of the Salesian radio and TV station in the two-story building, is a violent response to the choice of the Salesian community and its broadcaster to provide information in the most truthful and objective way possible. It is an attack that goes directly against the indigenous communities of the region.
For his part, the General Councilor for Social Communication of the Salesians, Fr Filiberto González, commented: “We deeply regret this vandalism which destroyed Salesian Radio Ichilo, in Bolivia. We reject all acts of violence that hinder dialogue and threaten social peace and the right to democracy.”
He emphasised: “We express our solidarity to all the Salesians and the staff of Radio Ichilo and to the network of Salesian radio stations in Bolivia, whose professional ethics are well known, and we remember them as authentic informants of truth and justice in the service of those who have no voice. Thank you for your testimony and your conviction as communicators in the service of peace and democracy.”
As the Salesian radio station was attacked by several assailants: the radio facilities were looted, the equipment destroyed, the offices on the first floor burned.