Friday, January 06, 2006

Plane May Aid Illegal Broadcasts to Cuba

By Circles Robinson

Most Cubans are unable to watch illegal TV broadcasts beamed at the island from the United States in a mega-million dollar attempt to paint a favorable picture of Uncle Sam and degrade the local government.

Using US government sources, a Knight Ridder Newspapers article out of Washington announced on Thursday January 5 that a new broadcast airplane will soon replace the C-130 Pennsylvania National Guard plane currently bombarding Cuba with illegal TV and Radio Marti broadcasts.

While the author, Pablo Bachelet, does not mention the model of the new aircraft he notes that the plane “has also been used to broadcast to Afghanistan and Iraq,”
where the Pentagon has admitted to doctoring up the news to suit its military objectives.

Joseph O’Connell, spokesman for the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) in Washington, the US government entity that controls Radio and TV Marti, recognized that the US Congress budgeted 10 million dollars last month for the new aircraft on top of the 28 million for operating expenses.

Cuba has long cited violations of the International Telecommunications Convention that limits TV broadcasts beyond national borders and UN General Assembly Resolution 37/92 that establishes the principles for the use of satellites for direct international transmissions.

However, just as Washington ignores the annual near unanimous UN vote calling for an end to its blockade of Cuba, it continues to disregard important international accords it has signed regarding communications.

The Bush administration hopes the added broadcasting strength of the new aircraft, planned to go on line this spring, will give the station the power to overcome
jamming carried out by Cuba to protect its local frequencies.

But Knight Ridder refers to critics who say the stations are a waste of US taxpayers’ money and that the Cuban government should have little difficulty jamming the new plane’s signal.

Statements in the article by TV and Radio Marti director of broadcasting operations Jorge Luis Hernandez make it clear that the goal of more potent transmissions is to give Cubans a greater opportunity to get the false information their government denies them.

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