|Type||Radio, television, Internet|
|Availability||Cuba, United States|
|Launch date||May 20, 1985 (radio)
March 27, 1990 (TV)
Radio y Televisión Martí is a radio and television broadcaster based in Miami, Florida, financed by the United States government (Broadcasting Board of Governors), which transmits anti-Castro propaganda to Cuba in Spanish. Its broadcasts can also be heard in the United States.
Radio Martí was established in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, at the urging of Jorge Mas Canosa, with the mission of fighting communism. Today, it broadcasts a 24-hour radio program on short and medium wave.
In the early 1980s, the U.S. Government planned to create a radio station to be known as Radio Free Cuba, modeled on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, with the hopes of hastening the fall of Cuban president Fidel Castro. Existing North American broadcasters objected strenuously to these plans, fearing that they would lead Cuba to retaliate by jamming existing commercial medium-wave broadcasts from Florida. These fears proved true in 1985, when Cuba-based transmitters briefly broadcast powerful signals on the medium wave band, disrupting U.S. AM radio station broadcasts in several states. Cuba continues to broadcast interference with U.S. broadcasts specifically directed to Cuba, in attempts to prevent them from being received within Cuba.
On May 20, 1985, broadcasts to Cuba from the United States began. The first day of broadcasting was chosen to commemorate the anniversary of Cuba's independence from United States rule, May 20, 1902. The station came to be named Radio Martí after Cuban writer José Martí, who had fought for Cuba's independence from Spain and against U.S. influence in the Americas.
In 1990, TV Marti was created to broadcast television programming to Cuba. It began broadcasting on March 27, 1990. Currently TV Martí is an element of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) with its complement Radio Martí. The sister elements of TV Martí in the IBB are Voice of America (VoA), Radio Sawa, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and Radio Free Asia. The IBB and the Broadcasting Board of Governors are independent federal entities spun off from the now defunct U.S. Information Agency.
Radio Martí today 
Today, Radio Marti transmits over shortwave transmitters in Delano, California and Greenville, North Carolina and a medium-wave transmitter in Marathon, Florida (GC: ). The studios are currently located in Miami. Cuba jams both the medium-wave and shortwave signals, but the shortwave program is heard in Canada and throughout Central and South America. On occasion, the medium wave transmitter at 1180 kHz can be heard as far north as Washington, D.C. TV Martí broadcasts daily programs in Spanish via a transmitter affixed to an aerostat balloon located 10,000 feet (3,048 m) above Cudjoe Key, Florida. As a result of Hurricane Dennis, the broadcasting aerostat (which the locals named "Fat Albert") was destroyed by wind.
An hour of Radio Martí's news programs are carried each night, midnight to 1:00AM, by Miami's most popular Spanish-language station, Radio Mambi (WAQI-710AM), which blankets the island of Cuba with its 50,000 watt signal, although it is jammed in Havana. TV Marti airs half-hour early and late evening newscasts, but the channel is also carried on DirecTV, which is pirated by many Cuban civilians. A low-power Miami TV channel, WGEN-LD, Virtual digital Channel 8.1 (RF digital Channel 45.1), carries TV Marti's half-hour early and late evening newscasts and other programming. .
Radio Martí operates with about 100 employees and a budget of $15 million. Its mission, in its own words, is to provide "a contrast to Cuban media and provide its listeners with an uncensored view of current events." Former prisoners in Cuba and Cuban exiles often speak on Radio Martí; and on Saturdays a Spanish version of the U.S. president's weekly radio address, as well as the opposition's response, are transmitted.
There is much debate about the effectiveness of these broadcasts. As with Radio Free Europe during the Cold War, there is no way to judge the station's true audience through the usual listener surveys. Thus, the actual number of listeners is open to speculation. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union and the satellite communist governments of Eastern Europe, a Hoover Institution conference reviewing reports from citizens in newly independent Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and other countries tended to substantiate the effectiveness of RFE and U.S. Voice of America broadcasts both in providing information and bolstering democratic movements within those countries, despite attempts at electronic jamming and counter-propaganda.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the budget for all U.S. government-run foreign broadcasters, with the exception of Radio Martí, was sharply reduced. In 1996, its studios were moved from Washington, D.C. to Miami, Florida. The move, in addition to placing the station's studios closer to its target audience, also underscored its growing independence from the Voice of America, another government-run foreign broadcaster with which Radio Martí had previously shared studios.
Controversy and legality 
Fabio Leite, Deputy Director of the Radiocommunications Office of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), has condemned radio and television transmissions to Cuba from the United States as illegal and inadmissible and more so when they are designed to foment internal subversion on the island. The director emphasized that this constant U.S. attack is in violation of ITU regulations, which stipulate that radio transmissions within commercial broadcasting on medium wave, modulated frequency or television must be conceived of as a good quality national service within the limits of the country concerned.  The Cuban government also has insisted the penetration of their airwaves violates international law. This claim has not been elucidated; however, Cuba responds to these broadcasts by jamming the signals.
The Radio Martí broadcasts are directed to Cuba, and can be picked up throughout North, Central and South America when not being jammed. However, Radio Martí programs cannot be specifically directed to U.S. citizens under the same law that restricts Voice of America broadcasts.
On November 15, 2007, delegates to the World Radiocommunication Conference 2007 declared illegal the U.S. government's use of airplanes to beam the signals of Washington-funded Radio and Television Marti into Cuba, stating "A radio broadcasting station that functions on board an aircraft and transmits only to the territory of another administration without its agreement cannot be considered in conformity with the radio communications regulations."  
A report by the Government Accountability Office accuses the station of engaging in political propaganda in the forms of editorializing, use of offensive and incendiary language in broadcasts, use of unsubstantiated reports coming from Cuba, and presentation of individual views as news. The claims of unprofessionalism are strongly rejected by the station's management. National Public Radio's On the Media has pointed out that while "the U.S. has spent close to a half billion dollars on TV and Radio Marti, the Cuban government has managed to effectively block the transmission signal, at least on the TV side. Viewership on the island is estimated to be a third of one percent. One study several years ago found that nine out of ten Cubans had never even heard of the channel." 
According to a January 10, 2007 episode of the news and commentary program Democracy Now!, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CRE) called for a congressional investigation into the legality of broadcasting Radio and TV Marti over commercial airwaves from southern Florida. The group states that the Bush administration has reached an agreement with two south Florida commercial Spanish-language TV and radio stations to broadcast the TV Marti program, which the CRE accuses the US government of illegally paying the station $200,000 to air the Radio Marti program daily for six months, citing that U.S law prohibits broadcasting of propaganda inside the country.
Democracy Now! went on to state that a senior TV Marti executive was indicted by federal prosecutors for providing kickbacks in trade for certain contracts and the Inspector General's office has launched a review into the operations of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting which oversees Marti. In addition, the program indicates that Massachusetts Congressman William Delahunt has also promised to hold hearings on TV Marti.
See also 
- Martí Noticias, website of TV and Radio Martí, http://www.martinoticias.com/
- International Broadcasting Bureau, http://www.ibb.gov/
- Broadcasting Board of Governors, http://www.bbg.gov/
- Radio and TV Marti Guns After Castro - Council on Hemispheric Affairs, http://www.coha.org/2006/03/29/radio-and-tv-marti-washington-guns-after-castro-at-any-cost/
- Democracy Now!, http://www.democracynow.org
- Radio Martí Website (Spanish)
- Academics International Studies (English)
- Radio Martí and martinoticias.com YouTube page (Spanish)
- TV Martí Noticias YouTube page (Spanish)
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