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Radio San Miguel, Cusco (4965 kHz)

by Mika Mäkeläinen

Radio San Miguel is one of the many Peruvian stations that just couldn't care less about international correspondence. So when I had a chance to visit Cusco in April 2000, I just had to visit the station, although I was so sick that I was barely able to walk to the station.

Although difficult, I will try to comment something without risking a libel action. To put it briefly, despite feeling pretty very weak, I endured nearly two hours at the station, because they wanted to interview me not only on radio (just like all the other stations that I visited), but also on TV. The company has a local TV channel called CTC.

While waiting for my turn in the limelight, watching the midday show made me feel even worse, as I didn't expect to witness such blatant political propaganda for Fujimori. A local congressional candidate for the Peru 2000 alliance was interviewed with family and friends, who along with the host competed in praising el chino and his politics.

Every ten minutes the Fujimori campaign rock video was aired, and the show ended with everyone in the studio dancing and singing the Fujimori campaign song. Cut with scenes from the rock video, it was quite a spectacle. Behind the cameras, the station manager was clapping his hands, urging the crew to develop a hypnotic climax in praising the supreme leader.

This is not to say I would dislike the political agenda of President Fujimori - I try not to take sides - but I couldn't avoid seeing how many of the charges concerning questionable campaigning on the part of the government and government-controlled media were true. The state is the biggest advertiser in Peru, and by channelling ad revenue to favorable stations, the government has firm control over most major television stations and newspapers - in comparison with them radio seems to fare relatively well.

Back to Radio San Miguel. After the ordeal was over, I asked for a verification for a few reports I had with me. It couldn't be done right away, but confirmations would be brought later to my hotel - so I was promised. Several phonecalls during the following two days resulted in the same response - but promises were just promises. And I made the grave mistake of giving them a YLE cap...

Fucking Radio San Miguel became my primitive reaction to all irritating situations during the rest of the journey. Yea, I know, you can't demand a QSL...

(published on April 22nd 2000)

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