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Posted May. 28, 2005 03:22,   


“It will be like CNN in Latin America.”

“No. It will be like Al Jazeera in Latin America.”

As Telesur, a 24-hour news channel, is about to be launched in Latin America, the world is paying keen attention to it. On May 24, it successfully made its first broadcast. Telesur has declared that it will deliver news from a Latin American perspective, just as Al Jazeera carries the Arab perspective.

From an early stage, the U.S. has been worried that the station might spearhead activities to spread anti-Americanism across Latin America.

A Hostile Institution to the U.S.–

Most Latin American countries welcome the launch of Telesur, saying that now they have a “CNN of their own in Latin America.”

Beto Almeida, affiliated with Telesur’s local station in Brazil, expressed his expectation that “the channel will provide a place to Latin Americans where they can exchange their thoughts.”

However, the U.S. was unable to veil its uncomfortable attitude toward the birth of Telesur. Venezuela and Cuba, both of which are outspoken U.S. critics and are both members of an “axis of subversion,” in the eyes of the U.S., own 51 and 19 percent of Telesur, respectively. They are the two leading shareholders.

On May 23, State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher said, “We are concerned that the news agency could be exploited to take stands against the U.S. by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and President of Cuban Council of State Fidel Castro.”

On May 10, the Washington Times reported, “Telesur will not be able to become a Latin American CNN. It will end up as a political tool for dictators to oppress freedom.”

Aram Aharonian, the Uruguayan journalist with an anti-American background, is the general director of Telesur. This, too, annoys the U.S. General director Aharonian has described the U.S. as “an enemy” and the Iraq War as a “massacre” instead of a “war of liberation.”

In a recent interview with the New York Sun, a daily newspaper, in March, general director Aharonian said, “Al Jazeera wants to reflect Arab opinion, and Telesur wants to reflect the opinions of Latin Americans.”

Venezuela, the Largest Shareholder–

Telesur will continue its test broadcasting until June 24 before it is officially launched in mid-September.

Forty percent of the programs, which are produced in Spanish and Portuguese, will air news items sent from Latin American nations. The remaining 60 percent will be filled with its own productions that offer information on Latin American society and culture.

Ho-Gab Lee gdt@donga.com