The Cold War Guerrilla: Jonas Savimbi, the U. S. Media, and the Angolan War

The Cold War Guerrilla: Jonas Savimbi, the U. S. Media, and the Angolan War

The Cold War Guerrilla: Jonas Savimbi, the U. S. Media, and the Angolan War

The Cold War Guerrilla: Jonas Savimbi, the U. S. Media, and the Angolan War

Synopsis

This is first book on U.S. policy in Angola during the 1980s. It shows how the Reagan administration led the U.S. media to inflate the importance of Jonas Savimbi as a "freedom fighter" and to intensify the civil war in Angola. This well-researched and moving case study shows how the Reagan administration adopted Savimbi as an ally in the crusade against Third World governments supported by the Soviet Union and how the mainstream media followed the administration's agenda and right-wing views about the civil war in Angola. This text provides insights about how the U.S. media covers African and Third World issues in the 1990s during the Bush administration as well.

Excerpt

This is not the book I started out to write but one that grew out of it and took on a life of its own. While my original intention was to write about South African propaganda in the United States during the Reagan years, so much of that propaganda was concerned with South Africa's intervention in the Angolan war and its support for Jonas Savimbi and the rebel movement known as unita (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) that the subject appeared sufficiently important to merit separate and extended treatment. in addition, very little has been written about the Reagan administration's "dirty war" in Angola (as the New York Times described it), which was initiated in the name of the "Reagan Doctrine" and pursued without interruption by the Bush administration.

Although much of that war remains shrouded in secrecy, at least one aspect is open to investigation, and that is the media's coverage of it. What the American public knows about Savimbi and his war to overthrow a government recognized by the entire international community (with the exception of the United States and South Africa) is what they read in their newspapers, hear on their radios and see on their televisions. But this "information" has all too often been derived from official sources, either spokesmen for the Reagan/Bush administrations or agents of the Pretoria regime, both of which have a vested interest in promoting Savimbi's cause.

Most of the material consulted for this study is in the category of the printed word. Television coverage was significant only during Savimbi's highly publicized visits to the United States, especially in 1986. in between, unita spokesmen occasionally appeared on network television or on the local radio and television stations supplied with free tapes, films or videos by Savimbi's Free Angola Information Service or the lobby groups (including the South African) supporting him. UNITA's own radio station--the Voice of the Resistance of the Black . . .

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