Senator Feingold would zero out Radio/TV Martí as part of his "Spotlight on Spending."

Posted: 27 Nov 2009   Print   Send a link
"Today, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, announced the launch of his 'Spotlight on Spending' series to highlight actions Congress can take to reduce the deficit. ... The first featured provision is the elimination of the Radio and TV Martí program: ... Deficit Reduction: $300 million over ten years 'This relic of the Cold War attempts to broadcast radio and TV signals into Cuba that virtually no one tunes in to,' Feingold said. "Government studies show that Radio and TV Martí are riddled with problems, and fall short of journalistic standards. As we progress toward a more modern and constructive relationship with Cuba, Radio and TV Martí no longer have any real diplomatic or fiscal purpose. I plan to bring up this issue when the Senate takes up President Obama’s recently announced nominees to the Broadcasting Board of Governors.' ... The political environment has changed significantly since the inception of Radio and TV Martí, and President Obama's commitment to international diplomacy and dialogue offers a more effective way to engage with the people of Cuba. The Obama administration has already loosened restrictions on Cuban Americans' visits to Cuba, and the White House and Congress are considering easing travel restrictions and other ways to normalize relations." Senator Feingold website, 23 November 2009. Easing travel restriction might help "engage with the people of Cuba," but for providing uncensored news to Cuba, there is still no substitute for international broadcasting. See my comments in previous post.
     "Anti-Castro Florida Republicans in Congress zealously guard the appropriations. But Mr. Feingold’s press release noted that Radio and TV Marti reportedly have small audiences at best, partly because of Cuban government jamming efforts." Jackie Calmes, The Caucus blog, New York Times, 23 November 2009.
     "Radio Marti began its broadcasts on May 20, 1985, in a flagrant violation of all international regulations regarding radio-electric transmissions. Meanwhile, TV Marti began transmitting on March 27, 1990, during the administration of George Bush Sr." ACN Cuban News Agency, 25 November 2009.