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WikiLeaks and 'US media war' in South America

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WikiLeaks and 'US media war' in South AmericaIn an effort to deflect and counteract leftist regimes in Latin America during the Cold War, Washington attached great political importance to its propaganda efforts.

From Cuba to Chile, the US sought to promote friendly media while cultivating the support of right-wing reporters. Ultimately, such propaganda efforts proved not only economically wasteful but also politically self-defeating as Washington antagonised the Latin left, leaving a bitter residue for years to come.

In light of the Cold War experience one might expect Washington to learn from its mistakes, yet in 2006 Voice of America started to broadcast toward leftist Venezuela.

Originally founded in 1942, the Voice of America is overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (or BBG), a quasi-independent company in charge of US "public diplomacy" which in turn beams radio and TV programming to countries such as Cuba.

Recent diplomatic cables disclosed by whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks underscore Washington's high stakes media war in Latin America.

Though Cuba had been an earlier focal point of US propaganda efforts, in more recent times it is Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, who has sounded the alarm bell over at the state department.

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