Aero Marti, an airborne broadcasting platform that sent radio and television signals to Cuba, has been finally canceled after countless reviews due to its high cost and limited effectiveness. The program had ceased operations since about year and a half, although its cessation happened last April.
On this fact OnCuba spoke with political scientist Arturo Lopez-Levy of the University of Denver, who tells us that “the cessation of this program indicates that something of rationality is manifesting in the propaganda war that the U.S. has had against Cuba. For several years the administration had labeled these flights as a waste, because of its high cost, without any specific political effect. However, due to the obsession of the Cuban American congressmen and senators the government was forced to spend millions of dollars from its budget.
“The termination of these flights shows how Radio and TV Martí have been paid for by the taxpayer but outside the standards and American values. Most of all, the effect of these programs, such as USAID, is to annoy, hinder bilateral relations between the two nations, “says the academic.
According to EFE Carlos García Pérez, director of the Office of Transmissions to Cuba (OCB) told it they have found more efficient methods of providing information to the Cubans. However, in April 2012, Corona Calixto Campos, Director of Cubanaleco of Miami, a former CIA operative and one of the union leaders in exile, personally delivered some video interviews and demonstrations by opposition groups to Carlos García that, through the OCB, could be taken to Cuba.
In a meeting at which I was present, the CBO director said: “We are preparing a big project. We want to flood Cuba with flash drives with news, videos, interviews, denouncing repression and encouraging a popular uprising. But we have to be smart, we cannot talk only of dissidents or the Castro, we have to send music, movies, we have to change the strategy. The idea is to have an Internet without the Internet, constantly updated, comparing what they are living with what happened in the world. And this video you bring us is very good for our project. “
Moreover, Alejandro Barreras, member of Cubanow, an organization that advocates “inform, connect and inspire a new conversation about the realities on both sides of the Florida Straits,” told OnCuba that “the legitimacy of programs like Radio and TV Martí must be measured by its effectiveness. We must differentiate the legitimate from the legal; clearly these programs comply with U.S. laws and violate Cuban ones, but they are not legitimate because they are not effective. “
Barreras argues that the way to influence the Cuban people is by “making a general travel license that encourages more contacts between the two nations. We need to establish other forms that allow free movement. Moreover programs as Zunzuneo, with a gray legal framework, must disappear. “
Zunzuneo is a secret mobile social network developed by the Agency for International Development (USAID), which was suspended following the announcement that was not reported to the congressional intelligence area and exceeded the purposes of the Agency. However, Carlos García Pérez said they are now working on Piramideo, “it is a very effective tool for Cubans to have a social network and maintain contact between them.”
Since 2010 there was a project led by the current Secretary of State John Kerry and several Democratic senators to move TV and Radio Martí from Miami to Washington DC and merge its operations with the Voice of America (VOA) due to inefficiency, low quality of its programs and allegations of nepotism and corruption within the agency. Cuban representatives Lincoln Diaz Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen disagreed accused Kerry of trying to end the program and “bury” it in the offices of the VOA.
“The Television nobody sees,” as it is popularly known in Cuba since so called it then-President Fidel Castro, has unsuccessfully tried to sneak into the homes of Cubans; first through a blimp suspended in the Florida Keys, then with aircraft, the Aero Martí project and through Hispasat. The OCB distorts audience reports since for some years takes content to different channels of South Florida whose spaces come to Cuba on flash drives, DVDs, or external hard drives. That way informs the taxpayer and Congress that contrary to what Cuba says it is actually seen.
The Cuban government has repeatedly complained to the United Nations (UN) and the International Telecommunication Union about the illegal transmissions of OCB. Abelardo Moreno, vice minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, once explained to the UN that such transmissions are intended “to promote the disillusionment and questioning of the Cuban people of their Revolution and doesn’t respect the values of respect and truthfulness “.
The truth is that with the cessation of these flights, USA eliminates one of the programs most denounced by the international community.