WikiLeaks release causes problems for Canada; Caribbean spared for now

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  • December 2, 2010

By Dean Graber

Just as the newest WikiLeaks release has strained Washington’s relations with much of the world, including Latin America, its revelations have also shaken Canada, threatening its ties to Afghanistan. Ottawa’s ambassador to Kabul has offered to resign over his criticism of the Afghan president.

Caribbean countries are mentioned in hundreds of the documents, but this BBC story suggests no smoking guns have been found (yet). News media in Guyana and Trinidad were waiting for more docs to be uploaded to Wikileaks.org’s “cablegate” section.

The leak has revealed new—although benign— aspects of U.S.–Canadian relations, including a U.S. diplomat’s claim in 2008 that Canadian broadcasters, including public media, “twist current events to feed longstanding negative images of the U.S.” and “the Canadian public seems willing to indulge in the feast.” U.S. diplomats complained that the CBC's entertainment TV programs, in particular, push "insidious negative popular stereotyping" with "anti-American melodrama."

As of Thursday (Dec. 2), complete texts for only six of 2,700 documents pertaining to Canada have been released, and Canada’s share of the humiliating WikiLeaks disclosure has been minor, the Toronto Star's Mitch Potter says. Among them: the report that Canadian officials in 2008 worried that Barack Obama's election to president had made him far more popular in Canada than they were themselves.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.