Nov 30, 78 • 1130 • Montevideo-State • 4131

UNCLASSIFIED
PAGE 01 MONTEV 04131

[List of agencies receiving informational copies on PDF]

O 301130Z NOV 78
FM AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO
TO USINFO WASHDC
INFO SECSTATE WASHDC [illegible number]
UNCLAS MONTEVIDEO 4131
USICA
FOR PCM/NC, RD

E.O. 11652: N/A
SUBJ: MEDIA REACTION: GUYANA AFTERMATH
REF: ARF-71 OF NOVEMBER 22

All three Montevideo morning papers express disbelief over the incredible reports of mass suicide of Americans in Guyana which has been sensationalized in the Uruguayan media for the past ten days.

Pro-government El Pais November 26, published an editorial hated “Incredible Explosion of Fanaticism” commenting: “The Dantesque episode, which must not have precedents even among the most backward African tribes, defies the human conscience and sensibility and casts doubts on certain aspects of our modern civilization.”

In the aftermath of the Moscone/Milk assassinations, the leading Montevideo daily published another editorial November 29 under the heading, “With the Snell of Watergate.”

El Pais found it “surprising and without any possible justification that a little more than a year ago Rosalynn Carter sent an affectionate handwritten letter to Jones” and that “high officials such as Vice President Walter Mondale dedicated highly eulogistic concepts to him and his sect.”

El Pais concluded by asking rhetorically, “Is it that perhaps no one, except the unfortunate California Congressman Leo Ryan, had the slightest indication about the dark activities of Jones and his ‘Temple’? Are we not – God forbid – headed towards the explosions of a democratic Watergate?”

On the other hand, independent El Dias called this form of interpretation of the facts by the press “a scandal.” In an editorial hated, “In the Face of a Scandal,” El Dia commented November 30, “Everyone knows now secretaries of those who hold their offices carefully and faithfully respond to all correspondence. So, there is nothing wrong in the fact that having received a letter from the leader of a religious movement which expresses kind sentiment for a candidate or public figure, that secretaries later acknowledge receipt of these letters and express their appreciation, even more so with the letter came from someone who requested support for any spiritual or religious group.”

In conclusion, El Dia commented, as for Mondale or Mrs. Carter, the statements of White House spokesman Judy Powell evidently seem correct: “Not because one responds courteously to someone who later assassinates his mother-in-law, does one become responsible for that death.”

Nationalistic pro-military La Manana, November 28, also published an editorial on the Guyana tragedy which it headed, “Dangerous Manifestation Behind the Babel of Sects.”

La Manana commented, “The unutterable events which occurred in a remote jungle region of Guyana have nothing to do with remoteness, proximity nor primitiveness. They constitute, for those who are slow in grasping the essential, the forceful and undisguised expression of a whole intellectual and ethical conversion whose true countenance is not ordinarily transmitted by theoretical formulations.”

Pate

Originally posted on March 16th, 2020.

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