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The BBC's Ruth Morris
"Coca is the only crop he can sell for a profit"
 real 28k

Friday, 9 June, 2000, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
My story: Victim of drug traffickers

Guillermo Cano, editor of one of Colombia's leading newspapers, El Espectador, was assassinated by drug traffickers in Colombia 13 years ago, following a powerful and persistent campaign against drugs in his newspaper. His widow, Ana María Busquets, tells her story:

"The dramatic assassination of my husband changed not just my life and that of my family, but that of the country as well.

"There was nothing to stop the drug-traffickers doing what they liked.

"Guillermo was a kind of prophet when it came to predicting the impact that drug trafficking would have on Colombian society. Just like he said, people got used to making easy money, they got used to impunity.

"The drug traffickers were able to do what they wanted. It wasn't enough to kill my husband. They threatened my family and constantly attacked the offices of the newspaper. When my children took over the management of the paper they received death threats and had to leave the country with their families for a few months.

"The day that one of them returned to Colombia, there was a huge bomb explosion at the newspaper. At the same time, the traffickers were threatening any company who wanted to run advertising in our paper. This led to huge financial losses and we had to sell up.

Peaceful man

"Guillermo was the first independent journalist to be attacked by the drug-traffickers. He was widely respected as a professional and as a man, and I guess we thought that they wouldn't dare attack him in the way they did.

"We were aware of the risks but we did not think that they would take his life. He hadn't taken precautions. I don't even think he would have accepted them.

"There were never any weapons in our home, he detested them. He never thought that arms could be more powerful than words. He believed passionately in freedom of speech and in fighting anything that threatened it. He saw drug traffickers as a major threat to openness and honesty.

"Did we learn anything from my husband's death? I hope so.

"Every year on 3 May, Unesco presents an award to honour freedom of speech. This award carries my husband´s name: Guillermo Cano."

Interview by BBC Mundo

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