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The Cassandra series prevented social unrest in the RS | Info

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The Cassandra series prevented social unrest in the RS |  Info

Why was “Cassandra” so important to the inhabitants of Srpska and did the story of the orphan who was left in the circus really have the power to prevent new unrest in the country that just came out of the war?

Izvor: YouTube, screenshot

When in October 1992, RCTV from Venezuela premiered the soap opera “Cassandra”, the success was immediate and worldwide. In 1997, the series reached Bosnia and Herzegovina, where, according to the BBC, it played a much bigger role than is thought.

When the broadcast in Republika Srpska was abruptly stopped, the American State Department intervened in the whole matter, in order to prevent the anger of the people from spilling over into a new conflict, the then director of Coral Pictures, the company that owned the telenovela, told BBC Mundo in Spanish.

The story of a young woman who was traded as a baby and given to a poor, Roma family from the circus and who returns to her hometown at the age of 18, where her biological rich family lives, conquered Venezuela with its 150 episodes. The legendary Cassandra, whose character was created by Cuban Delia Fialo, “the mother of Latin American soap operas”, was played by Koraima Torres.

The actress delighted the audience so much that the soap opera began to be exported to other Spanish-speaking countries, and then crossed the barrier of the Latin world and reached more than 100 countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Antonio Paez was executive vice president of Koral Pictures, the RCTV affiliate in Caracas and Miami, and the worldwide soap opera distributor.

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This is how “Cassandra” arrived in the countries of the former Yugoslavia and in 1997 “bewitched” Republika Srpska, Pez told BBC Mundo in Spanish.

In 1997, a conflict simmered in Srpska between the current of former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadžić and his successor, Biljana Plavšić.. At that time, Karadžić was accused of war crimes, while Biljana Plavšić had the support of the USA.

The state television of Republika Srpska SRT, which had the greatest influence on the population, was located in Pale under the control of Karadžić and had repeaters throughout the territory, until one day in August 1997, Biljana Plavšić took control of the SRT repeater in Banja Luka and cut off the signal. .

Source: Promo

When the signal returned to the air, it was in the hands of Plavšić’s government and stopped repeating the programs coming from Pale. However, the channel immediately ran into a problem – did not broadcast “Cassandra”, and the audience was in the middle of the story.

This worried not only the management of the television, but also allegedly the United States of America.

The State Department, led by the administration of then-US President Bill Clinton, was concerned that the fact that Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina could not continue to watch their favorite series could cause social unrest, resentment and, ultimately, fuel internal strife and undermine the Biljana government. Plavsic.

Because of this, a State Department official contacted Antonio Pez.

“The secretary told me that they were calling me from the Department of Foreign Affairs of the United States of America”Pez said and remembered saying in disbelief: “I pray?”.

“I started talking to a guy who said, ‘Look, I can’t even tell you my name right now. There’s a public television station and you’ve got a show that’s selling in this area. We really want to keep it on the air because it’s been taken down and there’s a war escalated because of it, so we need your help to get it back on the air”He said.

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Paez called a television station in Republika Srpska and after several attempts managed to talk to the director.

“Yes, we really want to bring that series back. See how you can help us”they told him from the television.

Paez searched Coral Pictures’ records and found they never sold the broadcast rights to “Cassandra” to SRT.

He called again and they admitted on television that the channel from Pale had pirated episodes that were previously broadcast in Belgrade, but that they could not buy them because they had no money.

Paez then tried to get the State Department to pay for the series, because they were interested in rebroadcasting. He received a negative response, but in the end the director of Coral Pictures decided that if it was so important, he would donate the series.

“I’ve never heard of a TV show that was so popular that it actually helped and contributed to peace. That’s what “Cassandra” did. In fact, it contributed to peace in the entire region,” Paez said.

(WORLD/BBC Mundo)

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