The relatives of Javier, Paul and Efraín arrived together at the Plaza Grande. They loaded posters, they stopped in front of the Presidency of the Republic and they showed messages that said: “We are missing three”. “There is hope, nobody gets tired”.
Others exhibited photographs of the three and recalled that a year has passed since they were abducted and subsequently killed. The journalists and the driver traveled to the northern border to record the violence reported there and were last seen at 09:30 on March 26, 2018. At that time they passed military control and went to Mataje, where A week before, three soldiers had been killed who patrolled the area. “It has been a period of constant struggle to know the truth and justice is done for what happened on the border,” say the relatives, and say they will continue in search of the truth.
Galo Ortega, Javier’s father, wore a T-shirt with the photograph of the three of them and next to the faces the phrase was printed: “Our heroes, we will always have three missing”. On his neck he carried his son’s credential and a chain with three padlocks.
On April 3, 2018, the journalistic team appeared precisely chained. That proof of life was spread by Colombian media. Ortega said that his representation means that “relatives have felt chained throughout the year.” Cristian Segarra, son of Efraín, hopes that the case will be clarified after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights delivers the final report of his investigation.
This Tuesday, March 26, 2019, this newspaper spoke by telephone with Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR, who maintained that the entity is in the last phase of the work. The Special Monitoring Team (ESE), in charge of investigating the event, has already submitted its report for the Commission to evaluate.
That work would end later this month. Then, the results will be presented to the authorities of Ecuador and Colombia, which can issue their observations. These should be included in the writing. Lanza said that after the process, in April a date will be set to make the final report public. That detail will be discussed with relatives and authorities. The relatives are waiting for the final document. “The idea is that no Ecuadorian who is on the border has to be kidnapped and killed in the cruel way that happened to our relatives,” said Yadira Aguagallo, a couple of Paul Rivas.
On November 1 of last year, the IACHR, with headquarters in Washington, United States, delivered a first report, in which it recommended that the Office of the Prosecutor of Ecuador inquire and evaluate “the actions and eventual responsibilities of the agents on whom they had specific duties guarantor of the security of the journalistic team “.
In fact, the day before yesterday (Monday, March 25, 2019), the Prosecutor’s Office summoned more people to give their version on this issue. The entity called on authorities of the National Police and ex-officers to expand their versions, although three people did not attend this judicial meeting.
Another of the recommendations of the IACHR was that it should be established how the communicators were managed while they were in a state of emergency decreed in the area, and that families have the right to know the truth. He also asked that the motive for the kidnapping be investigated and whether the plagiarism originated in the journalistic activity they carried out.
Now, the relatives of Javier, Paúl and Efraín hope that the report of the international organization will determine how investigations have been carried out in Ecuador and Colombia and the flaws in the investigations. They hope that the work of the IACHR will offer revealing information about the kidnapping and murder. In addition, that responsibilities can be established and that this information contributes to the investigations of the Attorney General.
Lanza said that this is the first case of international monitoring of crimes against journalists in the region. “The conclusions will also be very important for the clarification of the truth, so that measures of non-repetition are adopted and based on the recommendations made in the report can clarify the facts.”
The IACHR hopes that the Ecuadorian State will accept the report’s recommendations. Lanza announced that there will be a follow-up to determine if the observations are adopted by the authorities. Relatives of Paúl described as “unprecedented” that they had to request the intermediation of the IACHR, so that they could carry out an inquiry.
Lanza pointed out that, during the months in which they worked, the members of the Special Monitoring Team did have the support of the State and the facilities to conduct the field investigations and to access the information.
Javier’s father said that this year has been “very difficult” and that he will not rest until the case is clarified. According to the Special Rapporteur, “(the IACHR) is committed to clarifying the truth, to a full investigation and to punish those responsible.”
A year after the abduction, relatives and friends of the press team have planned activities to remember the date. On Tuesday, March 26, for example, at 4:00 pm, a tribute to all three was paid at the EL COMERCIO facilities. The workers formed a circle and a minute of silence was observed. Then there was applause in recognition of the journalistic work they did. Six journalists held a banner with the phrase “We are missing three.”
The editorial chanted the phrase “By Paúl, nobody gets tired. For Javier, nobody gets tired. For Efraín, nobody gets tired. ” While at 19:30 it was planned to carry out the so-called ‘Silent Planting’, on the outside of the security system ECU-911, in the Itchimbía park.
This Wednesday, March 27, 2019, on the other hand, other activities are scheduled. At 7:00 pm, in the Plaza Grande, in the center of the capital, a vigil will be held for the victims of violence. Also on that list are Katy Velasco and Óscar Villacís.
In addition, the military died after an attack by the dissidents of the FARC that later formed the armed Front Óliver Sinisterra, which was headed by the downcast alias ‘Guacho’.
On April 12, a day before the one-year anniversary of the confirmation of the triple murder, there will be a Eucharist.
The then Minister of the Interior, César Navas, confirmed that the journalistic team had been kidnapped the previous day in the town of Mataje.
Colombian media broadcast a proof of life. In this video it is seen that Javier, Paul and Efraín are chained. They make public the order of the armed ones.
Lenín Moreno confirms the murder of the three members of the kidnapped journalistic team. He announces that operations on the northern border are resumed.
The bodies of Javier Ortega, Paúl Rivas and Efraín Segarra arrive at 09:50 at the Quito airport. The aircraft is received with a water bow. (I)