The saga of the shutdown of RFPI in reverse chronological order
The University for Peace Shuts Down Radio for Peace International the Afternoon of November 5th, 2003
The Copy Exchange
11/05/2003 - 6:30 PM CST (Costa Rican time) - The Copy
Exchange - "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and
expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions
without interference and to seek, receive and impart
information and ideas through any media and regardless of
frontiers," states Article 19 of the United Nations Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. But that apparently does not
apply to the United Nations' mandated University for Peace,
which silenced the voice of Radio for Peace International
today at approximately 4:00 PM CST, by cutting power to the
James Latham, in a cell phone conversation with this
reporter just minutes ago, stated that the RFPI staff would
not be leaving the station any time soon. In an earlier
conversation Latham stated that if food were prevented from
being brought into the station, the staff would be forced into
going on a hunger strike. RFPI volunteers have been supplying
food by bringing it with them from Ciudad Colon and crawling
through a hole in the fence that surrounds the university
Tomorrow an attempt would be made to move station equipment
out of the station and into a secure location - an action that
could be blocked by the armed University for Peace guard and a
large quantity of barbed wire.
Barbed Wire Boxes RFPI In
The Copy Exchange
11/04/03 4:00 PM CST (Costa Rican time) - The Copy Exchange
- Today the University for Peace (UPaz) "strung up enough
barbed wire across the entrance to round up a herd of Texas
longhorns," stated RFPI station chief, Lames Latham, in a cell
phone conversation with The Copy Exchange. Nobody is getting
in or out of the station, but the RFPI staff has no intention
of budging. "We are not moving until this [standoff] is over,"
Local supporters in the San Jose area, after hearing that
water supply was cut off yesterday, tossed 5 gallon buckets
over the fence near the studios for collecting rain water.
With heavy rain continuing on throughout the day, an ample
amount of water was collected to sustain the RFPI staff for a
good number of days.
Meanwhile legal action continues. Papers requesting
intervention to force Upaz to cease its action, signed by the
RFPI staff and others - including Rodrigo Carazo, founder of
UPaz - will be filed at Costa Rica's highest court in the next
Station Loses Water and Phone Service
The Copy Exchange
11/03/2003 08:00 PM CST and Costa Rican time - 0200 Tuesday
UT - The Copy Exchange - The University for Peace (UPaz) took
its first step toward forcing RFPI off UPaz land today by
cutting off water and phone service to the station, reported
Lames Latham in a phone conversation with The Copy Exchange on
a cell phone line. Both Utilities, fed through the university
property, and are subject to UPaz control, the water cut off
at 11:30 CST and the phone cut off at noon.
But then came the rain - buckets of it. By placing a large
trash barrel under the rain spout, and collecting rain water
it every available wastebasket, some 70 gallons of water were
collected, to provide several days worth of water for the
undeterred RFPI crew.
UPaz also is now toughening its stance on allowing vehicles
in and out of the station.
A court injunction will be filed in a Costa Rican court
Tuesday by RFPI requesting a cease and desist order be
levelled against UPaz. In addition, RFPI is pursuing legal
action in Costa Rican and international courts to recover the
value of the RFPI studios, for which UPaz has offered
A letter sent to RFPI last week from a UPaz lawyer stated
that UPaz had no need for the equipment, transmitters, and
studios and that "You can take the building with you."
RFPI Will Be Relocating
The Copy Exchange
The University for Peace (UPaz) gave little ground to Radio for Peace International in negotiations that took place over the last few months over compensation to RFPI for their $200,000 facilities and for the cost of moving the station, RFPI station manager, James Latham, reported yesterday. UPaz would only set up an escrow account containing a tiny percentage of what is owed the station - money that RFPI cannot access. RFPI walked away for the talks empty handed, forced to relocate but penniless to do so.
UPaz officials stated that RFPI must vacate their facilities by October 31st or face legal action, though it is unclear what form that action might take, since Costa Rican law does not apply to international land, such as UPaz property.
Regardless, RFPI does plan to move and is determined to keep their dream alive. Land outside San Jose has been donated to RFPI, a deed being drawn up to transfer ownership to the station. From a newly established office in San Jose, capable of containing the studios, RFPI will be able to live stream their programming over the Internet during the three to six month period required to set up the transmitter and tower at the new location. Once the transmitter is established RFPI begin broadcasts again using a studio-to-transmitter link from the San Jose studio.
UPaz reportedly is planning to make use of the present RFPI facilities, for which they offered nothing in monetary consideration, for their own purposes.