Journalist Says Nicaraguan Police “Supported” Her Attacker

Marisol Balladares (r), radio host on Radio Corporación, denounced a man who tried to “stab” her twice and stole her cell phone.

By Ana Lucia Cruz (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Nervous and with a visible wound on her left hand, journalist Marisol Balladares denounced before the Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH), an attack she suffered on Wednesday, March 31. A man allegedly linked to the Police, stole her mobile phone and tried to wound her with a knife.

Balladares explained that while leaving Radio Corporación, where she works as a broadcaster, she overheard Police officers, who besiege the media outlet, speaking on the radio: “the target is moving south,” exactly the direction she had taken to board a vehicle that would take her home.

She explained that a few meters from the radio station, a man with scars on his face and armed with a knife, approached her from behind and tried to wound her on two occasions.

She stated that she defended herself by kicking him and preventing him from causing further damage. However, the man tried to stab her again and managed to wound her on one of the fingers of her left hand. “He yelled at me, give me the phone, you son-of-a-bitch, I am going to kill you. I took out the phone from my pants and threw it at him. He picked it up and shouted at onlookers that if they got involved, he was going to kill them.”

The Police didn’t try to prevent the crime

Balladares noted everything took place within the sight and patience of the Police. They were only a few meters away besieging in the vicinity of Radio Corporacion. “It was premeditated because I was carrying my wallet, had money, but he was interested in stabbing me and taking my cellphone.”

She added that the aggressor was not alone, because she followed him for several blocks and saw him get on a motorcycle in the Barrio Larreynaga.

CPDH Lawyer Carla Sequeira explained that it is not the first time that Balladares has been attacked, besieged, and harassed by the police or other government supporters. These have put at risk “her life and that of her family.”

She assured that the CPDH will exhaust the internal mechanisms to request precautionary measures in favor of Balladares before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

Sequeira said the Police failed to fulfill their duty by not providing assistance during the attack against Balladares. Supposedly their functions include the “prevention of the perpetration of criminal acts or any form of threat to people and their property.”

“It is evident that the Police were in front of the radio station. They did not prevent these actions from happening. There was no type of help, the citizen did not receive any response,” noted Sequeira.

According to complaints to national and international human rights organizations, since the outbreak of social protests in April 2018, independent journalists of Nicaragua, have been persecuted, threatened, harassed and robbed. Media outlets such as Confidencial and 100% Noticias were even confiscated. Journalist Angel Gahona of Bluefields was killed and nearly a hundred journalists went into exile.

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