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Award-Winning Journalist Told He Can Leave Country if He’s Unhappy

November 5, 1985

ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) _ The award-winning owner of a newspaper that was shut down for criticizing President Alfredo Stroessner said Tuesday he was detained briefly by police and told he could leave the country if he was unhappy.

Aldo Zuccolillo, owner of the daily ″ABC Color,″ said the incident occurred Monday upon his return from New York, where he received a Maria Moors Cabot last Thursday at Columbia University.

Zuccolillo said in an interview that he was arrested when he arrived at Asuncion’s airport and taken to the capital’s police headquarters for a meeting with the police chief, Gen. Francisco Britez.

Zuccolillo quoted Britez as saying he was under instructions to tell the newspaper owner,″If you are not happy with the government and peace which reigns in Paraguay, you can leave it.″ Zuccolillo said he was then set free.

″I will not stop exercising my rights because I don’t believe those who are not in agreement with the government must leave the country,″ he added.

″ABC Color″ was closed down by Stroessner’s authoritarian regime on March 22, 1984, in an order that charged it was trying to disturb peace and subvert the government. The popular newspaper frequently criticized alleged violations of civil liberties by the regime.

The Cabot awards are given to journalists in the Western Hemisphere for contributions to inter-American understanding and freedom of information.

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