Edgar Joel Aguilar and his girl friend were lucky this week. They escaped a hail of bullets from some one who obvioulsy did not like Aguilar’s reporting.
Aguilar is a reporter for Canal 6. He recently reported Aguilar had recently on the armed holdups of trucks carrying coffee shipments in western Honduras. Witnesses say the car that carried the people who attacked Aguilar matches the description of one of the vehicles used by gangs in the area.
An initial report from El Heraldo just described the incident. From that report, it was not possible to determine if the attack was motivated because of Aguilar’s profession. It could have just been a carjacking attempt.
Later, Aguilar made it clear he had received threats. The mayor of the town where the attack took place said Aguilar’s reporting had provoked reactions from many people. The mayor also condemned the attack.
Aguilar asked for police protection. (Of course, the problem in Honduras when asking for police protection is the danger that the would-be assassins might have been members of the police force.)
Honduras is a dangerous place. The murder rate is 86 per 100,000 people, the highest rate in the world. And some cities are closer to 200 per 100,000. (By comparison, at its worst, Detroit was only at 30 per 100,000. The entire United States is about 5 per 100,000.)
Since 1992 18 journalists have been murdered but only five have been confirmed as being directly related to the person’s job. The last confirmed murdered journalist was in March 2010.
That does not mean that none of the subsequent murders were tied to the journalists’ work. It just means that there is no way to CONFIRM that a journalist was killed because of his/her reporting. But then again, hardly any murders in Honduras are investigated.