President Reagan created Radio Martí in 1983. It was intended to bring real news to Cubans. The broadcasts became popular because they made for more than just news. They included baseball round tables, music charts, movie reviews, etc. It was a Miami station but broadcasting to Cubans.
Radio Martí was reaching so many people that the regime would conveniently shut off the lights to censor the broadcasts. In Cuba, you could hear Radio Martí on an AM frequency. I used to hear the short wave broadcasts. Later, TV Martí was added to the package, and that was successful as well.
I remember a Cuban saying something like this: “Why do the lights always go out at 8 p.m.?” Then he answered, “Radio Martí.”
Down in Miami, a number of Cuban-Americans want Radio Martí to get back to talking “freedom for Cuba.” This is from news reports:
A Miami-based group that takes a hardline in opposition to Castro government has funded a television campaign calling on Florida residents to call the White House and urge President Donald Trump to name a new director of the U.S. broadcasting operation directed at the Cuban people.
The Inspire America Foundation – which supports Cuban dissidents and pro-democracy groups while conducting polls and preparing policy proposals – is running the ads on America Teve, a Spanish-language TV station in Miami.
We support the change in leadership. It’s nothing personal against the leadership. It’s rather a statement of returning the broadcasts to what President Reagan called for years ago.
During the Obama years, Radio and TV Martí switched from promoting freedom in Cuba to President Obama’s engagement policy.
How did that engagement work out? It’s the same old regime that attacks dissidents and has its hands in all of the hard currency in the country.
We call on President Trump to make Radio and TV Martí great again. They should go back to telling the Cuban people the truth about their regime and how it treats dissidents.