Tributes are being paid to Facundo Cabral, the Argentine folk singer, who has been shot dead in Guatemala.
Cabral, 74, was heading from his hotel to the airport in Guatemala City when he was reportedly ambushed. The motive is unclear.
He was one of Latin America’s most famous performers, and his killing has prompted a wave of reaction.
Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom said he was “dismayed by this cowardly act” and decreed three days of mourning.
Cabral had performed in the city of Quetzaltenango, 200km (120 miles) west of Guatemala City, on Thursday. He was heading to Nicaragua for more concerts.
Police said Cabral’s vehicle, which was accompanied by another carrying bodyguards, had been hit by a number of rifle bullets and the singer died at the scene.
His most famous song was No Soy de Aqui ni Alla (I’m Not From Here or There), which was recorded in a number of languages.
Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman tweeted his “profound sadness” at the news, adding: “Adios amigo!”
Meanwhile President Colom told Argentine radio he had called his counterpart, President Cristina Fernandez, to tell her the news and said that it “seemed to hit her hard”.
“We will find these criminals and bring them to justice,” he said.
The president’s office said police were investigating whether the shooting was an attempted robbery or a targeted attack.
The presidents of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela were among those sending condolences.
“What pain! We cry with Argentina and all of our great fatherland,” tweeted President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.
Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rigoberta Menchu, travelled to the scene of the killing and openly wept.
“For me, Facundo Cabral is a master,” she said. “He loved Guatemala greatly.”
Local media said the vehicle carrying Cabral tried to escape into a fire station. Police said one of the attackers’ vehicles was later found abandoned on the road to El Salvador. It had bullet holes and contained spent cartridges.
Cabral’s representative, David Llanos, told reporters: “I don’t know how and why this happened, because Facundo is well-known around the world and I don’t see why anyone would be interested in killing him.”
Guatemalan fan Edgar Palacios, 54, told Reuters the singer would not be forgotten.
High murder rate
“Facundo Cabral died but his music will never die, just like John Lennon died but his music never died. Cabral wasn’t just from one country. He was a universal man.”
Cabral became famous in the early 1970s as a protest singer in Argentina.
His wife and baby daughter died in a plane crash in 1978.
In 1996, Unesco declared him a “world messenger of peace”.
In an interview with Associated Press in 2008, he said: “I love life so much because it cost me so much to enjoy it. From the cradle to the grave is a school, so if what we call problems are lessons, we see life differently.”
Guatemala has one of the highest murder rates in Latin America.
Greater Seattle’s air pollution ranks among the nation’s worst. A key culprit is… diesel fuel, such as that used by trucks at the Port of Seattle, which has more lenient policies toward old dirty trucks than do the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and even Oakland, the latter previously run by Seattle port CEO Tay Yoshitani, according to a joint investigative story by InvestigateWest and KCTS-9.
At 7 tonight, the news teams continue to explore the issue with a joint story on KCTS Connects that takes an in-depth look at the local situation, including the effects on asthmatic children.
Or you can watch it now at KCTS or right here:
For this story, according to InvestigateWest:
Veteran environmental reporters Robert McClure of InvestigateWest and Jenny Cunningham of KCTS 9 spent six months examining the impact of truck traffic on the communities that border the Port of Seattle, an area that new studies say has some of the worst air in the state. Their stories detail how toxic emissions from diesel trucks endanger residents of some of Seattle’s poorest communities, but also contain lessons and implications for any area dealing with major roadway traffic near schools and residential neighborhoods.
In addition, McClure and Cunningham examine how Port of Seattle Chief Executive Officer Tay Yoshitani helped oppose changes in legislation that would have made trucks cleaner, despite his promise to make Seattle the “cleanest, greenest, most energy-efficient port in the U.S.”
“We’re taping a follow-up interview for tonight’s show with Port Commissioner Tom Albro and attorney Paul Marvy with Change to Win,” says Jason Pagano of KCTS.
In an effort to try to regain his Friday spot providing weather news on Steve Scher’s “Weekday” public-affairs program, Cliff Mass has proposed a compromise. “I sent KUOW an email proposing a compromise that many of you suggested: a weather-only segment and their establishment of other periods allowing discussion of other issues,” Mass wrote on his blog.
If you’re eagerly awaiting the return of the city’s most erudite deliverer of bad-weather news, expect a long wait, at least in regards to returning to his volunteer post on 94.9-FM. Despite more than 2,000 fans on a Facebook protest page (Put Cliff Mass Back on KUOW) and more than 4,000 online-petition signatures, the board of KUOW is standing behind the decision to ditch Mass for not talking strictly about weather, but instead at times offering opinions about matters such as education.
The board of KUOW today issued the following announcement on its web site:
The KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio Board of Directors is aware that many listeners are upset by the removal of Cliff Mass from our programming. We support our program director’s decision, which was not made lightly or in disregard of the interests of our listeners.
Feedback is always welcome and considered. We have received many messages in email or online. We’ve read and considered these messages and appreciate the time it took to send these messages. And we respect the views expressed.
Ultimately this decision is the responsibility of KUOW’s program director and we support his decision. If a guest like Dr. Mass is invited to discuss a specific topic on air in a specific segment, he is expected to inform our listeners on that topic and work within the guidance of our staff. He chose not to do that, despite several requests. We appreciate Dr. Mass’s contributions to KUOW over the years and wish he had chosen to stay on to do our weekend weather segment.
Thank you for providing us with your input and thanks for listening.
KUOW/PSPR Board of Directors
Is that the final word? Don’t count on it, at least in terms of the issue dying. Tonight, Cliff Mass wrote an update to fans on the Facebook protest page:
“Over the weekend I emailed Steve and KUOW asking them whether we could find some compromise. I asked them to get back to me during the next few days. So far no word. Between the online petition and facebook pages, over 7000 have requested that the weather segment be reestablished. It is hard to see how KUOW can claim to be responsive to its listeners if such a large number are ignored. The great irony here is that KUOW claims to give great emphasis to airing both sides of issues, but when that issue is KUOW, a differing voice is silenced. .. cliff”
UPDATE: That KUOW board letter (above) makes it sound like “I decided to quit (not true) and that it was also the decision of the program manager, Jeff Hansen,” Mass wrote on his blog. “Just gets stranger and stranger.
“I think I was the only regular they had down there that was not allowed to speak on a variety of topics. Even stranger, I have talked to a number of other radio stations and NONE of them have said anything about constraining my speech. In fact, one news director laughed and said he WANTED me to talk about education topics–it would lend interest to the program. Why is KUOW different? Why is speech most constrained on a public radio station owned by the University of Washington?”
“I was standing in two fist-sized pools of smeared, sticky blood, trying to sort out why there were seven angry Syrians yelling at me,” Dorothy Parvaz begins her story at Al Jazeera English, which describes what it’s like inside Syria’s secret prisons.
Only one of them – who I came to know as Mr Shut Up during my three days in a detention center, where so many Syrians ‘disappeared’ are being kept – spoke English.
Watching them searching my bags, and observing the set of handcuffs hanging from the bunk bed wedged behind the desk in the middle of the room, I guessed that I was being arrested – or, at the very least, processed for detention.
“Why are you doing this?” I asked.
“Shut up! SHUT UP!” said Mr Shut Up.
READ FULL STORY…
UPDATE May 19: Dorothy Parvaz is reunited with family in Vancouver, B.C.
“[W]hat I heard were just savage beatings,” she said in an interview on Al Jazeera English, her employer. “I didn’t know what these men had done, one agent said that two of them were responsible for murders in or near Deraa.
“I was handcuffed repeatedly, blindfolded, taken to a courtyard and just left to hear these men being beaten. They all sounded very young, they all sounded to be in their late teens or early twenties. So it was an overall terrifying experience,” she said.
She at one point shared a cell with a 19-year-old female who “quivered” whenever she heard a beating. The consolation for the frightened teen, Parvaz said, was that only males were beaten. It did not seem that the young detainees were protesters; one female detainee wore stiletto heels. Parvaz got the impression that at least some young people were swooped into detention practically at random.
Parvaz was not harmed. After those three days, she was sent to Iran. She said she was treated well in Iran.
Photo credit: Photo of D. Parvaz, high above, courtesy Seattlepi.com and Free Dorothy Parvaz Facebook page
Dorothy Parvaz should be back in British Columbia soon
‘Every superlative is failing me,’ says friend Melanie McFarland
May 18, 2011
The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is relieved and happy to hear that our colleague Dorothy Parvaz is safe and has been released by Iranian authorities. Parvaz disappeared April 29 after landing in Damascus, Syria, on assignment with Al Jazeera English, and her freedom was announced May 17.
Her detention sparked a quick response from journalism organizations worldwide. Many of AAJA’s 1,500 members — in particular people in the AAJA-Seattle chapter who know Parvaz through her work at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer — called for her safe and speedy release. AAJA issued a letter to the Syrian Embassy on May 3, World Press Freedom Day, urging Parvaz’s return.
Parvaz’s detention marked the third time in three years that AAJA has spoken out in defense of our fellow journalists reporting from global hot spots. Anytime one of our colleagues is unduly prevented from doing her work of shedding light in the world’s dark corners, AAJA will be ready to offer its support.
We are grateful that Parvaz is coming home. And we look forward to a day when journalistic freedom isn’t a luxury but is a right worldwide.
AAJA National President
Friend and former Seattle P-I colleague Kristen Young shared the news via email about the former Seattle Post-Intelligencer journalist, D. Parvaz, who went missing nearly three weeks ago upon arriving in Syria on assignment for current employer Al Jazeera English.
Dorothy Parvaz is free! Her fiancee Todd Barker: “Fred’s family and I just got off the phone with Dorothy. She is safe in Doha and will be coming to Vancouver B.C. soon. We can’t wait to see her. She said that she was treated well in Iran. She sounded positive and grateful for the support – but a little embarrassed. We are very thankful to Iranian authorities for her release and good treatment.”
She is back in Doha, Qatar, according to Al Jazeera English.
According to the Seattle Times:
“The family and me are elated, and we’re really grateful to the Iranian authorities who treated her very respectfully,” said Todd Barker, Parvaz’s fiancé. “It’s over.”
Barker said he received a call from Parvaz around 9:30 p.m. The first words she said to him were: “I’m so sorry.” He said Parvaz should arrive in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday or the day after.
According to AP, Barker said: “I looked at my phone, saw it was her number and God, it was as unreal as the moment when I got the call that she hadn’t been contacted in 24 hours.”
Here is a press release issued by Young:
Iran Frees Dorothy Parvaz
Seattle, WA, May 17, 2011 – Dorothy Parvaz – a citizen of the U.S., Canada and Iran and an Al Jazeera English reporter – has been freed by the Iranian government. Her family wishes to express their sincere gratitude to the Iranian government for freeing Dorothy and to supporters worldwide for their thoughts and actions on Dorothy’s behalf.
From her fiancé Todd Barker, posted on FB:
“Fred’s family and I just got off the phone with Dorothy. She is safe in Doha and will be coming to Vancouver B.C. soon. We can’t wait to see her. She said that she was treated well in Iran. She sounded positive and grateful for the support – but a little embarrassed. We are very thankful to Iranian authorities for her release and good treatment. From – Dorothy’s family”
(Fred Parvaz is Dorothy’s father.)
From her brother Dan Parvaz, posted on FB:
“Finally, my sister is free. And while I’m grateful to the Iranian government for her treatment and release. I’m more grateful to all of you. particularly to the close friends and colleagues who maintained this page. You kept the faith, made phone calls, wrote letters, rallied, watched the media (some of you *were* the media)… and never lost hope. You have done a good thing, and at least in my mind, have been part of a great thing.”
She had been detained for eighteen days, ever since she boarded a plane from Doha, Qatar, to Damascus, Syria, while on a reporting assignment for her employer, Al Jazeera English.
The Canadian and U.S. governments worked on freeing Dorothy. Hundreds of articles, radio and TV segments, and blog posts focused attention on her detainment. Supporters worldwide visited and “liked” the Free Dorothy Parvaz Facebook page, which has more than 16,000 members. Thousands of Twitter messages demanded her freedom at #FreeDorothy and @FreeDorothy.
Venerable news organizations and bloggers from around the world spotlighted Dorothy’s detention. Al Jazeera English, The Seattle Times, The Globe and Mail, Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Press Institute, Reporters Without Borders and many other international institutions called for her freedom. Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation and Wolfson College Cambridge, where Dorothy held journalism fellowships, released statements lauding her reporting skills, affirming the rights of journalists and calling for her release. We are so grateful.
Thank you to U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, U.S. Representatives Jay Inslee, Jim McDermott and Rick Larsen (D-WA), and many other elected officials for supporting the effort to free Dorothy.
Their participation, and yours, was crucial. Thank you so much for your support.
With deep gratitude,
Friend and former P-I colleague Kristen Young shared the big news via email moments ago to alums of the P-I.
She wrote the following:
Dorothy Parvaz is free!
Her fiancee Todd Barker: “Fred’s family and I just got off the phone with Dorothy. She is safe in Doha and will be coming to Vancouver B.C. soon. We can’t wait to see her. She said that she was treated well in Iran. She sounded positive and grateful for the support – but a little embarrassed. We are very thankful to Iranian authorities for her release and good treatment.”
Nearly three weeks have passed since family and friends have heard from missing former Seattle P-I journalist Dorothy Parvaz. She arrived in Syria in late April to report on uprisings for current employer Al Jazeera English but was detained at the airport and, according to Syria, deported on May 1 to Iran. Yet no one has revealed Parvaz’s whereabouts, and Iran has yet to confirm or deny detaining her.
Iranian spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast today did bring up paperwork issues, however, stating that Parvaz “had violated the law in several cases…she wanted to travel to Syria with an expired Iranian passport (as a tourist but) aimed at working as a journalist without asking for relevant permits,” he said, according to Reuters. “We are also following up her case because it is important for us as well,” he added.
“It baffles me why this is happening,” Parvaz’s father, Fred Parvaz, told CBC News. “This passport violation, these are just very minor, these are very insignificant. [It] could be subject to a fine or subject to some charges, and I have not seen any charges laid against her.”
- More than 16,000 people now follow updates and well-wishes via the Free Dorothy Facebook page.
- A related Twitter feed is growing.
- The editorial board of the Cleveland Plain Dealer today wrote: “The world should not silently accept the arrest of journalist Dorothy Parvaz.” The editorial concluded:
“Autocratic regimes can be hard of hearing, but sustained international protest sometimes secures the release of their innocent captives. Let the outcry for Parvaz and others unjustly held be loud, and as long as it takes.”
Friends of Parvaz have been doing their part and have started urging supporters to sign an online petition. There, one fan wrote:
“Dorothy is a courageous person and a dear friend. If it were not for her introducing my wife and I, our beautiful 3 1/2 month old daughter would never have graced this world with her presence. We need her returned to us immediately safe and unharmed.” Dylan Wilmsen
Photo credits: First image is from the Free Dorothy Parvaz Facebook page. Second image courtesy Seattlepi.com via Free Dorothy Facebook page.
* Email Mr. Mohammad Khazaee, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, at email@example.com. Respectfully ask for Dorothy’s release or inquire after her whereabouts. Call (212) 687-2020.
Where’s Dorothy? Worried friends and family haven’t heard from former Seattle P-I journalist Dorothy Parvaz for nearly three weeks. Syria says it deported her to Iran on May 1 after she tried to enter the country to report on its uprisings for her current employer Al Jazeera English. But wait: Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi on May 14 told the government news agency IRNA that Iran had “no information” about Parvaz, according to Reporters Without Borders.
So, who is right? No one seems to know yet.
Here’s the latest report by Reporters Without Borders:
Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about the fate of Homa Dorothy Parvaz, a journalist with US, Canadian and Iranian nationality working for Al-Jazeera English, who disappeared after arriving at Damascus airport on 29 April.
According to a statement issued by the Syrian embassy in Washington, the Syrian authorities deported her to Iran on 1 May. But Iranian foreigh minister Ali Akbar Salehi told the government news agency IRNA on 14 May that Iran had “no information” about Parvaz. This was the first comment by an Iranian official about the case.
“No one has heard from Parvaz for the past two and a half weeks,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The Syrian authorities finally said they handed her over to the Iranian authorities 15 days ago. But until then they said nothing about her whereabouts, with complete disregard for her family and for the media that employ her. This total lack of transparancy does not bode well.”
The press freedom organization added: “The Iranian information ministry says it has no information about Parvaz. If that is Iran’s official position, it means she has disappeared. If not, we urge the Iranian authorities to say where she is being held, to allow her to leave the country or to account for the charges against her if they decide to continue detaining her.”
Parvaz’s brother told Reporters Without Borders that the family had received no notification from the authorities in Tehran. “They should at least tell us why they are holding her. She did not even enter Iran voluntarily.”
According to the statement issued by the Syrian embassy in Washington, Parvaz tried to enter Syria with an expired Iranian passport and a tourist visa. After finding transmitting equipment in her bags, the Syrian authorities assumed she had come to cover the anti-government demonstrations. She was alllegedly deported to Iran on 1 May, less than 48 hours after her arrival. She was not allowed to contact her family or the US or Canadian embassies at any point.
The sequence of events shows that the Syrian authorities remained silent about her whereabouts for nearly two weeks. The Syrian government newspaper Al-Watan went so far as to report on 10 May that she had left the country on 1 May “without saying where she was going ( http://www.alwatan.sy/dindex.php?id…).”
Al-Jazeera had announced on 27 April that it was suspending all activities throughout Syria until further notice because of the many threats and acts of intimidation against its crews. Its Syrian employees were repeatedly threatened by the authorities, and stones and eggs were thrown at its offices.
Around 100 people demonstrated outside Al-Jazeera’s Damascus bureau on 30 April, accusing it of “lying” and “exaggerating” in its coverage of the anti-government protests that began in Syria in mid-March ( http://en.rsf.org/saudi-arabia-from…).
Photo credits: First image is from the Free Dorothy Parvaz Facebook page. Second image courtesy Seattlepi.com via Free Dorothy Facebook page.