The families of the three Ecuadorean journalists, who were kidnapped last week, revealed their identities Sunday as they called on their captors to show compassion and release them.
“We considered it sensible to finish with this silence and give a name and a face to our beloved ones,” the families said in a press statement.
Photographer Paul Rivas Bravo (45), driver Efrain Segarra Abril (60) and writer Javier Ortega Reyes (32) were kidnapped by a still undisclosed group on March 26 in the northern province of Esmeraldas. They were covering the living conditions of the inhabitants affected by the recent bombings and increasing insecurity in the region for the El Comercio newspaper.
"Relatives of the kidnapped three communications professionals decided to make their names public because we are convinced that knowing who they are will encourage the whole country to join in the demand for their immediate release," the families said.
The families believe that by making their names public, it will increase their visibility and reduce their vulnerability. They hope that their abductors will be compassionate knowing that their victims have families and friends who are waiting for them to return "every day and won't rest until they are back home safe and sound.”
Paul Rivas is described by his family and friends as a sensitive, lively, smart and supportive photographer committed to social struggles.
Paul Rivas has worked in El Comercio for 20 years and has earned several national and international awards, including the Eugenio Espejo National Journalism Award and the Golden Feather prize for his photography projects on migration and missing people.
“Paul grew up among photography films and cameras. His passion for taking pictures was inherited from his father, who is also a photographer," the statement said.
Javier Ortega returned to Quito from Valencia to study communications and joined the El Comercio team first as an intern but staying for a permanent position as he showed worthy of a journalist.
His family says Javier is passionate about soccer, a sport he plays every Wednesday despite having a demanding job.
Efrain Segarra is in charge of driving El Comercio teams to wherever they need to inform the public.
Segarra has worked in El Comercio for 16 years, where he has been “infected” with love for journalism, making of him an assistant, a reporter, and a photographer.
Three Ecuadorean journalists kidnapped on the Colombian border last week are alive and "doing well," Ecuador's Interior Minister Cesar Navas said Saturday.
"Today we have some information to share with them (relatives) and certain addresses that are important that they know," Navas told a press conference.
"Since yesterday we knew they were well and the situation is stable, which is what that we wanted in the first instance: to stabilize the situation."
Following the meeting, family members of the journalists said they will reveal the identities of their kidnapped relatives.