United States turns off its ticker in Havana.

Posted: 29 Jul 2009   Print   Send a link
"The US has turned off a Times Square-style news ticker - a source of irritation for the Castro government - at its diplomatic mission in Havana that since 2006 streamed propaganda and news into the night, western diplomatic sources said. The measure is the latest in a series of initiatives by the Obama administration as it seeks to engage Cuba and to end 50 years of enmity viewed in Latin America and the Caribbean as a relic of the cold war. ... The crimson ticker - five feet high and running through 25 windows of the Swiss embassy building that hosts the US mission on Havana's sea-side drive - began to stream messages on January 16 three and a half years ago, to mark Martin Luther King Jr's birthday at the height of tension with the Bush administration. 'I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up,' was the ticker's first message. Then president Fidel Castro dug up the mission's parking lot a few feet from the front door in response, to replace it with 138 flag polls reaching 100ft in the air to conceal the ticker." Marc Frank in Havana, Financial Times, 27 July 2009. See also The Guardian, 27 July 2009, with photo.
     "Officials confirmed that last month they dismantled the 5-foot-tall sign, which for the last three years displayed messages critical of Cuban authorities. In return, the Cuban government has taken down some nearby billboards condemning the United States. 'These dueling billboards, if you will, were not serving the interests of promoting a more productive relationship,' Ian Kelly, a State Department spokesman, told reporters." Los Angeles Times, 28 July 2009.