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Cablegate: Haiti Reporting From Colombia

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #0198/01 0211844
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 211843Z JAN 10 ZFF3
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2125
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA

UNCLAS BOGOTA 000198

SIPDIS
STATE FOR A/S VALENZUELA (WHA/FO)
KWHITAKER (WHA/AND)
JDICKSON, EKAUFFMAN, MMILLER, AND CWEST (WHA/PDA)
EMBASSIES FOR PAO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAO KDEM OIIP HA CO
SUBJECT: Haiti Reporting from Colombia

REF: STATE 5277

1. (U) SUMMARY. All leading national and regional newspapers in
Colombia continue their extensive coverage of the events in Haiti,
and have highlighted the USG's quick response to the crisis. Post
has closely followed the overwhelmingly positive coverage of the
U.S. role in Haiti disaster assistance and has yet to see any
criticism of the USG effort. Embassy Bogota plans a press event
with Ambassador Brownfield highlighting joint U.S.-Colombian
efforts with USAF planes transporting Colombian donations to Haiti.
We continue to post on line and distribute USG messages/photos on
the relief efforts and have responded to requests for information
and spokespeople as appropriate, including arranging several live
interviews for Colombian media with WHA Media Hub Coordinator Greg
Adams. END SUMMARY

2. (U) Embassy Bogota has been closely following the overwhelmingly
positive Colombian media coverage of the U.S. role in Haiti
disaster assistance. All leading national and regional newspapers
daily carry extensive coverage on the USG's quick response. The
record contributions to the Red Cross through the HAITI 90999 text
message system has been widely covered and continues to be reported
on as the level of contributions grows. Among the most positive
print coverage was an article that appeared in the 19 January
edition of El Espectador, Colombia's second leading national daily
(readership: Daily, 264,600; Sunday: 538,600)which featured an
above the fold front page photo of U.S. Marines arriving in Haiti
with the headline, "The Law has Arrived."

3. (U) Editorials and op-eds have also been largely positive when
discussing the role of U.S. assistance. Leading national and
regional newspapers have noted that while a global response is
important, it is U.S. involvement and leadership that is critical.
In particular, an El Tiempo (readership: 1,040,900 Sunday:
1.928.700; Internet: 1,229,600 hits per week) editorial on January
20th stated that despite recent negative comments (by the French),
it is thanks to U.S. assistance that food and water are starting to
reach the Haitian people.

4. (U) TV and radio footage of U.S. ships, soldiers, and SAR teams
providing assistance, as well as playing a key role in restoring
order. The visit of Secretary Clinton was extensively covered and
media coverage focused on the coordination of international aid
efforts. Vice President Biden and Homeland Security Director
Napolitano's visit to Florida was also covered in broadcast, print,
and online outlets. The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) granted
to Haitians already in the U.S. has also received notable coverage.

5. (U) The only mildly negative comment was from an RCN reporter at
Port-au-Prince airport who complained that the U.S. military had
ordered all members of the press who had been camping out there to
leave. He expressed concern for their security. Caracol TV
reporters did not comment on the issue.

6. (U) To date there have been no negative editorials or op-eds
regarding USG involvement in Haiti. There have been, however, a
small number of straightforward wire service reports on critical
statements made by French and Venezuelan government officials.
Ambassador Brownfield addressed the press on January 15 after an
unrelated meeting with indigenous community leaders where he
reaffirmed that U.S. assistance would remain consistent, and that
the USG would continue to work with the Haitian government in the
long-term. His remarks were widely covered by broadcast media over
the weekend. Embassy Bogota plans a press event with Ambassador
Brownfield highlighting joint U.S.-Colombian efforts with USAF C-17
cargo planes transporting Colombian donations to Haiti.

7. (U) Post is actively responding to media inquiries and has
posted updates to the Embassy's website, Facebook page, and Twitter
feeds on USG efforts. This includes posting relevant excerpts from
speeches/statements made by USG officials, official statements and

photos, and links to relevant USG NGO websites. In addition, post
arranged an interview with Greg Adams, State Department Media
Coordinator for the Western Hemisphere on January 20 with La W
Radio (estimated audience: 9 million, broadcast throughout Colombia
and syndicated in Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador and major East Coast
US markets) in which he clarified the extent and purpose of U.S.
assistance in Haiti. It also provided him the opportunity to
dismiss Chavez's claims that the earthquake was caused by U.S.
nuclear testing. Post arranged another interview - this one for
Cable Noticias - on Thursday, January 21 for Mr. Adams, and expects
that it will also garner widespread attention when it airs on
Friday, January 22. We will continue to enlist the assistance of
the WHA Media Hub, in response to any inquiries that come in from
the field, in coordination with WHA.
NICHOLS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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