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Cablegate: Media Play- Telesur Debut and U.S.

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

281356Z Jul 05



E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Telesur, the regional TV channel backed primarily by
the Venezuelan government, debuted July 24. Recent
comments made by officialist press reflect disappointment
in the United States for what they consider another
attempt to hinder efforts towards regional integration.
They further claim the U.S. response to the launch of the
station demonstrates the American government fears a rise
in national-patriotic tendencies in South America.
However, the opposition press is concerned that Telesur
will hinder the spread of democratic ideals, and welcome
the United States' efforts to monitor the dissemination
of Telesur programming. Some opposition journalists have
already expressed doubts about the success of Telesur
because of a perceived lack of organization and the
predictable repeating of the same populist rhetoric. END


Political analyst Manuel Felipe Sierra commented in
leading liberal daily EL NACIONAL circ. 120,000 (07/26):
"Telesur does not bet on integration. It is rather a
window to sell the advantages of the unprecedented
process of democratic deformation that has been taking
place in Venezuela. Even though it was premature, the US
Congress passed an amendment to counteract Telesur
signal. At a first glance, this measure generates
patriotic feelings and it is an obvious meddling into the
life of the country. But why are Cuba and Venezuela the
only countries affected by this extreme measure? Why not
any other Latin American nation? Telesur will be a tool
`to strengthen the anti-imperialist messages, the Castro-
Chvez propaganda.'"

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Sensationalist daily 2001 circ. 90,000 (07/27)
editorialized: "Telesur is not an instrument for
integration; it is rather a means of exporting the
Bolivarian revolution. The first Sunday broadcast did
not make any impact at all. With Tiro Fijo as an
interviewee and the anti-imperialist message as a slogan,
there are a number of reasons to say that the Channel
started off with the wrong foot because it doesn't
respond to the feeling of most of the people."

Journalist Marianella Salazar commented in leading
liberal daily EL NACIONAL (07/27): "The first broadcasts
of Telesur reminded me of the sixties. Yesterday,
Telesur broadcast a documentary on Fidel Castro and Che
Guevara. Castro and Che are two complementary models of
Marxist-Leninist terrorism. Che's message has been
`hatred as a factor of fight' Will that be the message
and the model that will be heard by the audiences of the
South American countries? The revolution is now on the
air, that's why Che and the sixties are back in fashion:
utopias, fanaticism, the new wave, `the new man',
socialism, popular songs, comrades, marihuana,
revolutionary order against the bourgeois order."

Columnist under the pseudonym of Marciano (reportedly the
Venezuelan vice president Jos Vicente Rangel) wrote in
pro-Government daily tabloid DIARIO VEA
circ.25,000(07/27): "The proposal of the Republican right
in the House of Representatives proposed by legislator
Connie Mack illustrates the current policy of the mafia
that runs the US. It is, in fact, the application of a
policy similar to that applied against Cuba, which is a
complete failure. It is stupid to think that the US
administration will be successful by repeating in
Venezuela the frustrated experience of `Radio Mart.'
What good things can the Bush administration disseminate
about the American democracy when Venezuelans know very

well the stark reality that nation lives: poverty and
social inequality, a precarious electoral system and the
genocide action against other peoples like in the case of
the invasion of Iraq? Stupid gringos, don't you learn
from history!"

Columnist Clodovaldo Hernandez wrote in conservative EL
UNIVERSAL circ. 120,000 (07/22): "The United States
intends to bombard Venezuela but not with napalm, like in
Vietnam, or with bombs, like in Afghanistan or Iraq but
with objective news. The attack will be preemptive and
seeks to counter the hemispheric brainwashing the
Venezuelan `regime' plans to do through Telesur, a weapon
of mass destruction more lethal than those Saddam Hussein
had hidden in his palaces - according to gringos'
objective news."

A column by Journalist and radio and TV host Roberto
Giusti in EL UNIVERSAL(07/23), read: "The decision of the
US House of Representatives is a mistake because
Venezuela is still far away from being Cuba, where there
is a sole media owner, a single message and one way of
addressing the news. In our country there are still
media outlets and journalists willing to counteract, and
in fact they do, the twisted or biased information that
comes from the government-run communication platform. In
Venezuela, the freedom of information and the right of
the citizens to be informed is fully guaranteed thanks to
those media and journalists, despite the governmental
actions, harassment, and the laws that aim at reducing
the spaces of the freedom of speech. In conclusion, we
don't need a version of radio Mart in Venezuela."
Political Analyst Columnist Alberto Garrido wrote in
conservative daily EL UNIVERSAL (07/22): "The decision of
the US House of Representatives to 'counteract the anti-
American sentiment' of the newly-born Telesur is,
technically, in the framework of the concept of fourth-
generation war. One of the most important elements of
the fourth-generation wars is the use of the media to win
the psychological war. The war of information between
the United States and Venezuela seems to announce the
beginning of the end of a stage, marked by the priority
of the oil business, and the beginning of another one,
where the voice that will be heard the most will be that
of the Pentagon."

Journalist Earle Herrera commented in liberal El MUNDO
circ. 45,000 (07/25): "Gringos have a wrong concept of
the Venezuelan opposition members: they consider them to
be stupid. Now the House of Representatives passed an
amendment in order to protect local opposition members'
minds. Rarely has a group been insulted so much under
the pretext of protecting it from a bad influence.
Republican senator from Florida (from where else?),
Connie Mack, made a speech that would have cracked
senator Mac Carthy up, and succeeded in having the House
of Representatives pass the refered amendment Gringos
underestimate not only the opposition but also their own
media outlets, which is outrageous."

An editorial in pro-government daily tabloid DIARO VEA
circ. 25,000 (07/25): "Venezuelans already know that the
U.S. Senate passed a decision to bombard Venezuela with
TV programs. . The Bush administration's decision implies
a new intervention against Venezuela and also against the
countries that made the sovereign decision to join the
Telesur project. The imperialist circles show their
desperation as the national-patriotic tendencies in South
America increase."

Journalist and Venezuelan Ambassador to Mexico wrote in
leading opposition EL NACIONAL (07/26): "Telesur already
frightened US most conservative sectors. The American
decision to invade the Venezuelan radio-electric spectrum
with clearly destabilizing media garbage indicates that
the Bolivarian government's permanent warning of the Bush
administration's imminent direct aggressions and
interventionist attitude was true. It seems to be that

the Bush administration got tired of acting through
intermediaries and now wants to repeat in Venezuela the
fiasco of TV Mart. For the gringos it is unacceptable
that Latin Americans have an option to CNN."

Another column in EL NACIONAL by political analyst
Alberto Barrera (07/24) read: "The reaction of the US
House of Representatives on Telesur seems to foster this
plan instead of counteracting it. Before going on the
air, Telesur has already turned into a power. By wanting
to attack it, they strengthen it. Everything backfires
for the US. After all these years, they still don't know
who we are, what happens to us. The Bush
administration's policies are a bunch of wrong moves,
arrogance and sheer ignorance: in fact, they still don't
know what world they live in."



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