Blackout Hiding Negotiations for Release of Duarte Daughter

Times Staff Writer

The government of El Salvador imposed a news blackout Wednesday on negotiations for the release of President Jose Napoleon Duarte’s eldest daughter, who was kidnaped Sept. 10.

The embargo, which follows publication of several conflicting reports about the case, appeared to be in response to a demand by the abductors of Ines Guadalupe Duarte Duran.

“From now on, the government will no longer give any information on the case,” Minister of Communications Julio Rey Prendes said.

Duarte Duran, 35, and a friend were abducted in front of a private university in the capital as they arrived for classes. Duarte Duran’s driver was shot to death in the attack, and her bodyguard was wounded.

Three Radio Contacts

Sources close to the case, who spoke on condition they not be identified, said the government has had three radio contacts with the kidnapers and that two of them included taped messages from Duarte Duran. In the messages, Duarte Duran said she was “well, and in the hands of the Pedro Pablo Castillo Front.”


Both Salvadoran and foreign diplomatic sources have said that Duarte Duran’s captors identified themselves as the Castillo front of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. Although the rebels announced in July that they would begin organizing political prisoners under that name, there is no known Castillo guerrilla command.

Spokesmen for the Revolutionary Democratic Front, the guerrillas’ political arm, have denied any knowledge of the Castillo group and say they do not know who is holding Duarte Duran.

‘Very Painful and Cruel’

The rebels’ Radio Venceremos referred to the kidnaping for the first time Wednesday but did not claim responsibility on behalf of any group. “To Duarte, it now seems very painful and cruel to be in the middle of the war and to suffer war wounds,” the broadcast said.

Sources close to the case said Duarte Duran’s abductors have made several demands as preconditions for negotiating her release. They reportedly include the news blackout, a halt to military operations, delivery of radios to the kidnapers and direct negotiations without intermediaries.