Events in Panama Underscores Value of UPI's Radio Noticias

From the UPI's internal publication, UPI Advance, dated January 1990:

The Dec. 20, 1989, invasion of Panama by U.S. armed forces put a high price on native-tongue interviews with Spanish-speaking leaders, and fast English/Spanish translations. UPI's Radio Noticias was on the mark with accurate, thorough and up-to-the-minute coverage of the invasion.

UPI Radio Noticias is the largest Spanish radio news network in the world. With over 100 stringer correspondents on five continents, it is the largest Spanish-speaking correspondent network. It captures 90 percent of native Spanish speakers in the United States and Puerto Rico.

With the news of the Panama invasion, UPI Radio Noticias immediately devoted 100 percent of each of its hourly seven-minute broadcasts to coverage of the situation in Panama, and to world reaction. Three anchors were on duty -- UPI Radio Noticias News Director Luis Covarrubias and anchors Mario Martinez Y Palacios and Mercedes Antezana.

When fugitive Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega spoke to the Panamanian people over Nicaraguan radio, UPI Radio Noticias captured it live, broadcast it, and provided an immediate English translation by Palacios to UPI Radio.

The Washington anchors translated into Spanish all the U.S. government briefings, including President Bush's live televised address; and interviews with numerous U.S. political and military leaders.

In the early hours, before noon, Dec. 20, UPI Radio Noticias broadcast reports from Panama City and stepped up monitoring of Latin American radio. There were numerous interviews with Panamanian exiles, including Alberto Conte, president of the College of Panamanian Journalists in Exile and the Panamanian Committee for Human Rights In Exile groups.

Covarrubias landed an interview with Luis Endara, a first cousin of the new Panamanian President Guillermo Endara. Luis Endara offered the first public information on the whereabouts of President Endara.

UPI Radio Noticias New York correspondent Alex Navas interviewed the ambassador of Nicaragua, Alejandro Serano Caldora, at the United Nations building.