An Air War with Cuba: The United States Radio Campaign Against Castro


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The History of Cuban-American Radio. The close of the s marked a turning point in the function of radio broadcasts from respective governments. By , however, VOA transmissions had been reduced to a mere minute broadcasts to Latin America. By , the Cuban-American Radio War was in full force, with government-crafted broadcasts launched in opposite directions. These early broadcasts all purported to be the one station reporting absolute truth with utmost objectivity, unlike the propagandistic enemy.

VOA broadcasts were exclusively sent overseas, as its charter forbade the organization from broadcasting to the United States. After decades of high power frequencies aimed in opposite directions, there came a truce.

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But the election of Ronald Reagan to the White House in the s reignited the conflict, and this time, things would be different. It is the installment of the Cuban-American Radio War that concerns us here. It would also include radio docudramas about Cuban politics, history, literature and culture, and would highlight sports in Cuba and the United States. The Cuban government responded to the announcement by launching an attack of interference. Making matters worse, the U. For official purposes, the Cuban government was aiming Radio Taino at the newly emerging tourist population, who would want to know more about the culture of the place they were visiting.

Thus, the station was built around and sustained by a two-dimensionally fictional audience: the emerging tourist population who never listened to the radio, and, surreptitiously, a new generation of Cuban exiles abroad who may or may not have been listening. That was the way it kept its doors open as a half-English-speaking radio station that did not constantly pay lip service to the Revolution. But really, something much deeper was at play among Taino employees—a phenomenon that would undermine Cuban Communist ideology.


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The station started off by stressing cultural roots and folklore in their programming, but soon, it found it could command larger audiences by playing foreign music. Though Radio Marti was supposed to be the voice of capitalism, it was a public station and had no commercials. Generally, people tend to prefer radio without commercials; but for young Cubans, commercials were a new phenomenon. But the absence of ideology eventually gave way to the entrance of capitalism. Thus, Radio Taino had come to espouse the very principles it sought to combat. In large part, the transformation of Radio Taino was the result of historical, economic forces.

The Cuban government was forced to make ideological sacrifices in order to maintain a flow of income. If that meant commercials would be played on Cuban government radio, so be it.

Fidel Castro

The collapse of the Soviet Union undoubtedly played a role in the transformation of Radio Taino as a commercial, capitalistic station in a Communist country. For two countries blocked off in an economic embargo, they have had remarkable influence on each other in the last half-decade. The radio war is just one manifestation.

Though a myriad of historical and economic factors have played a role in the recent opening of Cuban culture, media and economy, the radio was undoubtedly a catalyst for ideological change in Cuba. Up until , the radio war seemed to be a game of chicken between two sides, ever insisting on the truth of their ideology. Lost in this bout of strategy, the Cuban government let capitalism seep through.

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    The policy of the Liberal government in power since , wartime cooperation, and the close economic interconnections between Canada and the United States had brought the two neighbours into a more intimate relationship than ever before. Canada and the United States also clashed over fishing rights in the North Atlantic and, in the s, over…. Economic links with the United States, which had grown after the economic crisis of the s, were strengthened after World War II; U.

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    An Air War with Cuba: The United States Radio Campaign Against Castro An Air War with Cuba: The United States Radio Campaign Against Castro
    An Air War with Cuba: The United States Radio Campaign Against Castro An Air War with Cuba: The United States Radio Campaign Against Castro
    An Air War with Cuba: The United States Radio Campaign Against Castro An Air War with Cuba: The United States Radio Campaign Against Castro
    An Air War with Cuba: The United States Radio Campaign Against Castro An Air War with Cuba: The United States Radio Campaign Against Castro
    An Air War with Cuba: The United States Radio Campaign Against Castro An Air War with Cuba: The United States Radio Campaign Against Castro

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