Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ticker Is Weapon in US-Cuba Feud

By Stephen Gibbs
BBC News, Havana


The messages can be seen from Havana's seafront

US diplomats in Cuba have set up a large electronic display on the walls of their mission in Havana.

It is the latest twist in the long running US-Cuban propaganda battle.

From the length of Havana's famed seafront promenade, the red letters can be seen scrolling in Spanish across the upper windows of the 1950s building.

They include quotes from US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, and from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Cuba is a signatory.

You do not have to be particularly close to see what the ticker says.

One message reads: "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up."

Another declares: "Everybody has the right to freedom of thought."

The Cuban government has not yet reacted to the display, but it seems likely that it will.

It has long accused American diplomats in Havana of abusing their position and attempting to create internal dissent.

In 2004, the same building was adorned with the number 75, alongside its Christmas decorations. It was a reference by the US government to the number of dissidents Cuba had imprisoned the previous year.

A few days later, the Cuban authorities put up a series of large posters on the road opposite, showing graphic images of abused Iraqi prisoners, and the words "fascists, made in the USA".

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