Defense Department To Produce Radio Novela In Colombia

The U.S. Department of Defense is looking for a writer and producer for a new radio novela in Colombia. Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin reports that this radio soap opera will have a decidedly anti-guerrilla message.

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(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing in foreign language)

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Drug, guns, steamy romance. It is not called "El Cartel" for nothing.

(SOUNDBITE OF TELENOVELA, "EL CARTEL")

MARTIN: "El Cartel" was one of Colombia's top rated narco telenovelas, to TV soap operas that romanticized the country's drug cartels.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUNSHOTS)

MARTIN: Most Colombians are not wrapped up in the drug trade or guerrilla warfare, but these shows are really popular. So much so that now the U.S. Department of Defense wants to put out their own novela to try to send a different kind of message. Last week, the U.S. Army said it's looking for someone who can write and produce 20 15-minute episodes for a radio soap opera.

They want the scripts to encourage armed guerrilla groups in Colombia to put down their weapons. And they're hoping that radio, which can reach isolated areas, will encourage peace in remote places where violence can thrive.

So if you've been longing for a chance to write that yarn about the notorious drug lord who wakes up one morning and sees the error of his ways, sharpen your pencils and brush up on your Spanish. Proposals are due June 5th.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing in foreign language)

(SOUNDBITE OF EXPLOSION)

MARTIN: Tomorrow on MORNING EDITION, we'll hear from a quintessentially American city, Detroit. The city has a pretty tight budget these days. So tight that when a homeless person dies, the city sometimes waits more than a year to bury them. That story and the day's top news on NPR's MORNING EDITION.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: And you're listening to NPR News.

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