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Audio: The final BBC World Service transmission in Spanish

Following budget cut announcements, the last BBC World Service programme in Spanish for South America (“Mundo”) was broadcast on Friday 25th February 2011.

Translation: (thanks to Demian Franz)

Welcome to “BBC Mundo” radio. Libya is facing an uncertain future with violence spreading across the country. What would happen if Gaddafi decides to abandon power? In the United States, the Libyan situation causes great concern regarding the price of petrol. And we say goodbye to our listeners after 73 years. Welcome to the final edition of “BBC Mundo” radio. Today is 25th February 2011 and from London, I’m Claudio Rojas.

It seems the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya is living out its final days. Many reports from the north African country highlight the strategic advance of the opposition movement and the Libyan leader appears cornered. However, if Gaddafi is forced to give up the power he has exercised for 42 years, what future awaits the country? William Marquez reports.

The fundamental problem for the future of Libya seems to be that it has its own social differences. The country is made up of many tribes, and the interests of its leaders is to control and expand their own spheres of influence, which is hard to reconcile with the aim of a new constitution across the country. The existing constitution is virtually non-existent after more than 40 years of personal and authoritarian rule from the “brother leader”, as they call Muammar Gaddafi, and his tribe and close family. Unlike other Arab countries such as Tunisia and Egypt, parties which may have contributed to a transition to democracy such as political parties, unions, non-governmental organisations and civil institutions simply do not exist. Therefore, there are many who look to the military as the only group who can overthrow Gaddafi and take charge of the transition process. However, the army itself is not a professional army, but one divided and weakened by continued manoeuvres by Gaddafi to strengthen his own power and resist a coup d’etat. If a unifying force in the vacuum of power reveals a face of the future as bleak as those of the weapons that have begun circling among citizens and the entrenchment of the leader in Tripoli, it can only suggest more violence in a future of uncertainty. William Marquez, BBC Mundo radio.

Meanwhile in the United States, the Libyan crisis may be reflected in the price of oil. Our correspondent in Washington, Carlos Chirinos, explains that may impact the speed of the US economic recovery.

In the US, one of the greatest concerns is that the crisis in Libya could destabilise the oil markets. While Europe buys most of Libyan oil, the 1.8m barrels produced daily in the country could be disrupted and unnerve global markets. On Thursday, President Barack Obama tried to allay those fears by saying that his country is capable of overcoming the current situation in Libya. Speaking to a group of businessmen in Washington, Obama said that the price of oil will stabilise and that there are sufficient reserves in the United States and European countries to deal with any reduction in supply. Saudi Arabia has offered to cover any shortfalls arising as a result of the crisis, and are in contact with European refiners who may see their oil supplies disrupted by the situation in Libya. But concern about oil prices is not unique to the White House or government. Here in America, on the streets many drivers are terrified of the rise in the price of a gallon of petrol. The average price of the fuel is already three and a half dollars, almost fifty cents more than a year ago. But with summer approaching, and along with it the imminent revival of the driving season, many fear that by the middle of the year it may be close to five dollars. In addition, high petrol prices could eventually affect household economies and manufacturing, at a time when businesses and consumers expect the government to maintain the pace of economic recovery. From Washington, Carlos Chirinos, BBC Mundo radio.

In its first assessment of human rights in Colombia since president Juan Manuel Santos took power, the United Nations has warned about an increase in massacres in the country, relating to the bands that emerged after the demobilisation of right-wing paramilitaries. More details from our correspondent in Bogotá, Hernando Salazar.

The High Commissioner of Human Rights of the United Nations is concerned that the massacres increased by forty percent in Colombia. In 2010 there were 38 mass shootings that left 179 dead. United Nations attribute them to the bands that emerged in recent years that, for many, are successors to the right-wing paramilitaries, and in some areas act with the efficiency of the military. But the president Juan Manuel Santos, who took power last August and promised special protection to human rights, argues that the increase in the massacres is not as great as the United Nations report presents. Experts consulted by BBC Mundo such as Professor Mario Madrid-Malo believe that in Colombia there has been some progress, such as reduced crime killings of people, who were formerly presented as “killed in combat”. These cases, known as false positives in Colombia, added 3,000 victims between 2004 and 2008. But there have been few convictions. Madrid-Malo warns that for the United Nations there are specific problems in Colombia, such as enforced disappearances, organised crime, attacks against human rights defenders and violence against vulnerable groups. The picture is very complex and Christian Salazar, the head of the Colombian Human Rights office, told BBC Mundo that the government of the country, which has experienced six decades of conflict, should be more attentive to the recommendations of the international organisations. From Bogotá, Hernando Salazar, BBC Mundo radio.

More information at bbcmundo.com.

In Mexico there is an alternative health care system that services the majority of indigenous communities. They’re shamans and healers, considered by some as essential in the survival of indigenous peoples. For BBC Mundo radio, Alberto Najar has the story.

These are people who cure diseases but did not study medicine. Sometimes they use some herbs, but it is usual to add prayers and songs and invocations to the spirits. These people are shamans and healers, common characters in all indigenous communities in Mexico. They’ve existed since pre-Hispanic times and are an alternative health network in the country. They reach the places where public medicine can’t, or to communities where doctors are mistrusted. These are people with special abilities to heal, but are not witches nor are they considered in the same range. A healer knows how to use herbs or the energy surrounding human beings; it also uses some rituals. Shamans do the same, but also have the ability to contact spirits and ask for your help. The shamans and healers are essential in the lives of indigenous communities. Whether they actually heal people or not, the truth is that many of them are more trusted than doctors trained in universities. Without the shamans, say the researchers, aboriginal people of Mexico would had not survived the last 500 years. Health authorities do not recognise most of their practices, and are even campaigning to discourage their services. Indeed, in some regions its days are numbered, but not because of the government’s work.The eating habits of people has changed, causing diseases such as diabetes or hypertension, which did not exist in their communities. For this, the shamans have few remedies. Some recognise this, and refer their patients to doctors trained in schools. So maybe one day, their existence will be part of the culture and not responsible for the health of millions of people. From Mexico, Alberto Nájar, BBC Mundo radio.

For many travelers in search of an adrenaline-filled experience, there is no better summer destination for adventure tourism than the Andes region of South America, a natural paradise full of lakes and mountains. However, as Veronica Smink from the Southern Cone discovers, what – for most tourists – is an unforgettable holiday, for some end up being a nightmare.

Chilean newspaper El Mercurio recently reported that at least 30 tourists have lost their lives during the summer season while playing sports in the country. According to the Chilean Navy, the main cause of the deaths were recklessness or alcohol. Meanwhile, in neighbouring Argentina, at least five foreigners died between December and February while trying to climb Aconcagua, the highest mountain on the continent. The head of the Aconcagua Provincial Park, Daniel Gómez, told BBC Mundo that in the last three years, authorities have had to make between 200 and 230 evacuations of tourists who were trapped at height. An estimated 7,500 people, mostly foreigners, arrive each year to climb the hill, triple that a decade ago. According to mountain guides, climbers increase their risk, which puts them in danger. Gómez admits that the authorities do not impose requirements or restrictions on climbers before they embark their adventure, so it is not possible to verify if the tourists have the necessary equipment or training to make the ascent without putting their life at risk. Climbing is an extreme sport and is a personal choice, explains Gómez. However, he accepted that those involved in safeguarding the climbers are increasingly concerned about the costs involved in daring rescue missions in the mountains. Therefore, Gómez said that from 2012, Argentina will require any person who wants to climb the Aconcagua to hire a private guide or a tour operator to accompanies them. From Argentina, Veronica Smink, BBC Mundo radio.

And as we have been explaining for days, this is the last time we meet around a radio receiver. After 73 years, the editor of BBC Mundo, Hernando Alvarez, must say goodbye to a whole era of friendship and international contact.

The last one to leave turn out the light. This phrase has been used in many contexts and this week I want to use it to end radio transmissions of the BBC Latin American service. I have to turn off the light that was lit on the night of March 14, 1938. In an inaugural celebration, the then-Director General of the BBC, Sir John Reith, first greeted listeners in Latin America:

“From London and the British Broadcasting Corporation, we salute all the listeners in Latin America. From now on, we’ll talk to you in your own language. Every day we’ll pass on the news we receive from around the world. Our newsletters will be truthful and accurate. And add the hope that is of… ”

“This short message from Reith was heard in the context of the imminent outbreak of World War II, in which Benito Mussolini’s Italy and Adolf Hitler’s Germany led a strong propaganda campaign. And the propaganda continues, though dressed in different suits than those used at the time. But the BBC also continues the effort to counteract and provide a place where information is free from political and commercial interests. Perhaps that is why I won’t let myself be overruled by nostalgia. Yes, we switch off the radio, but we keep our digital and independent journalism. We understand that the digital news consumer today seeks what we call “martini” journalism. Present and available anywhere, any time, any hour. And that is precisely what we offer in our website and through mobile phones. We will also have a weekly podcast which will be available every Thursday where the BBC Mundo team discusses the main topics of the week. It brings me deep sadness that we must stop broadcasting radio, but I understand that times change, and that even though we turn off a light, we leave on the power of individual journalists who work in the offices of BBC Mundo in London, Miami, Mexico and Buenos Aires, in addition to all the correspondents and contributors to the BBC around the globe. For the last time, Hernando Alvarez, BBC Mundo radio. And I leave the final words to Claudio Rojas.”

Thanks Hernando, but we’re not completely off-air, because as you said there will be a weekly podcast which will be available every Thursday, and which will explore the key topics of the week. Remember also that BBC Mundo is also available through your mobile phone, so keep in touch through our website, bbcmundo.com. And we say goodbye to all of you on behalf of those who are making this contact possible over the Internet. And indeed, on behalf of those who occupied this same microphone, this same studio, in these past seven decades, because they built one world through contact between nations who honor us as human beings. From the BBC in London, Claudio Rojas says to you farewell…

2 Replies - Posted: 26th February 2011, 3:11pm - Category: World Service Radio

  • Jorge j. García.

    Estimados Amigos: desde niño en mi casa se escuchaba vuestro servicio a través de la onda corta, en una vieja radio a válvulas.
    Como fui creciendo fui adentrándome en el mundo del diexismo y escuchar al Big Ben era algo habitual.
    Hoy, el tecnicismo me quita la posibilidad de escucharlos como era mi gusto, buscando en el dial, conociendo las distintas frecuencias y siempre participando en “El Circuito”.
    Guardo para mi muchísimas horas de radio y principalmente cuando ocurrió el conflicto de las Islas Malvinas. Los felicito a cada uno de esos locutores que ya eran parte de mi familia. y que siempre pusieron su mejor voluntad.
    Me gustaría oir cada uno de esos espacios al menos como recuerdo de tan bellos tiempos.
    Un saludo desde Argentina.

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