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PLO Seeking Public Sympathy, Recognition by Colombian Government

The Palestine Liberation Organization, in a concerted effort to gain public sympathy and recognition by the Colombian government, carried out a major propaganda campaign last month using print and television media.

“El Tiempo,” a major Bogota daily, ran a series of lengthy articles on the PLO, stressing children and suffering of Palestinians. The articles were written by a reporter who went to Lebanon at the invitation of the PLO, which also invited television reporters. An interview with PLO chief Yasir Arafat was shown, along with scenes of various peaceful PLO activities in Bogota. The United Nations-sponsored Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People was marked by a full-page ad in El Tiempo and a screening of a UN film on Palestinians.

According to Rabbi Morton Rosenthal, director of the Latin American Affairs Department of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, observers here believe the media blitz will have little impact in Colombia, a country traditionally supportive of Israel. Colombia has promised to provide a batallion of infantry troops for the international peacekeeping force in Sinai, more troops than any other Latin American country.

A second factor cited by Rosenthal is the anti-terrorist campaign currently being waged by the Colombian government against the M-19 and FARC guerrilla organizations. Seven guerrillas were killed in clashes with government troops last week.

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