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Cablegate: Haiti Reporting From Colombia (January 22-25, 2010)

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #0258 0261301
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 261300Z JAN 10 ZFF3
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2245
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA

UNCLAS BOGOTA 000258

SIPDIS
STATE FOR ASSISTANT SECRETARY VALENZUELA (WHA/FO)
KWHITAKER (WHA/AND)
JDICKSON, EKAUFMANN, 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 (January 22-25, 2010)

1. (U) SUMMARY: Post continues to closely follow the Colombian
media coverage of the U.S. role in Haiti disaster assistance.
Though Colombian coverage of the earthquake aftermath is beginning
to diminish, reporting on the U.S. role in providing sweeping
disaster and humanitarian assistance continues to be very positive.
All leading national and regional newspapers continue to focus on
Colombian contributions to the assistance effort, as well as the
issue of the need for international cooperation in providing
effective on-the-ground assistance and long term strategic
planning. END SUMMARY

2. (U) Although Colombian coverage of the Haiti earthquake
aftermath is beginning to diminish, reporting of the U.S. role in
disaster assistance continues to be very positive. On January 25,
"El Tiempo" (readership: 1,040,900 Sunday: 1.928.700; Internet:
1,229,600 hits per week) ran an interview with Assistant Secretary
Arturo Valenzuela, in which he affirmed that the U.S. is in Haiti
"to cooperate, not to replace the government." "El Tiempo" also
ran an op-ed by independent columnist Salud Hernandez entitled
"Venezuela, Missing in Action," citing the need for the U.S. to
step in and restore order due to the UN's failure to do so.
"Semana", Colombia's leading weekly magazine (readership: 918,000;
centrist) last week included a report on the U.S.'s decision to
drop food and water from the air, noting discussions and
coordination with the UN and Haiti government in making this
decision.

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3. (U) TV and radio footage continues to show U.S. ships, soldiers
and SAR teams providing assistance. Coverage of Colombia's
assistance to Haiti has also been extensive, highlighting the
heroic efforts and successes of Colombian SAR teams, as well as
Colombian shipments of food, clothes and other needed items via sea
and air. On January 22, La W Radio (estimated audience: 9 million,
broadcast throughout Colombia and syndicated in Venezuela, Panama,
Ecuador and major East Coast US markets) broadcast an interview
with DCM David Lindwall, in which he clarified that the order to
remove journalists from the Port-au-Prince airport came at the
direct request of the Haitian government and stressed that relief
efforts were becoming more effective every day.

4. (U) The only negative coverage is a political cartoon that ran
in "El Espectador" (readership: Daily, 264,600; Sunday: 538,600) on
January 22 showing a colonial soldier planting a U.S. flag on the
island of Haiti. Post will meet with the cartoonist this week to
discuss this cartoon with him and provide information refuting its
inference, as well as engage with El Espectador's editor to express
our strong concerns.

5. (U) Post continues to respond to media inquiries and is sending
out Haiti fact sheets to regional outlets. The Embassy's Facebook
page is updated regularly with photos of both USG and Colombian
assistance in Haiti, together with relevant articles in the news.
Additionally, we continue to post guidance, relevant excerpts from
speeches made by USG officials, official statements, and links to
related websites. Traffic to the Facebook page has increased and,
since the Haiti updates, the number of fans has gone up from 1,977
to 2,038. We continue to update Twitter feeds and the official
Embassy website as well.
BROWNFIELD

© Scoop Media

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