BBC ends Spanish radio broadcasts for Latin America

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BBC journalist Juan Peirano interviewing fellow Peruvian Madeleine Hartog-Bel at the 1967 Miss World contest
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The BBC will still be available in Spanish on the internet

The BBC has ended its radio broadcasts in Spanish for Latin America, 73 years after they first went on air.

The radio service has been closed as a result of cuts to the World Service budget, but the BBC's Spanish-language website, BBC Mundo, will continue.

The BBC Serbian and Portuguese for Africa services have also been closed.

BBC managers say they have had to make tough choices because of a 16% cut in the British government's funding for the World Service.

The BBC Latin American service was launched on 14 March 1938 to counter propaganda from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy on the eve of World War II.

It faced its greatest challenge during the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina in 1982, when its journalists were determined to maintain objectivity in the face of pressure from the British government.

But radio output had been substantially reduced in recent years in favour of the internet, with the remaining broadcasts mainly intended for Cuba.

BBC Mundo editor Hernando Alvarez said the end of Spanish-language radio was a sad moment, but the BBC's journalism would still be available to audiences in Latin America via the internet and mobile phones.

The Portuguese for Africa service has also been broadcasting since the 1930s.

It was an important source of news during the conflicts in Mozambique and Angola following their independence from Portugal, and has closed with a record audience of 1.5 million listeners.

The BBC's English language radio service for the Caribbean will stop broadcasting on 25 March after 72 years on air.

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