U.S. Begins Airborne Broadcasts of TV and Radio Martí to Cuba

For several hours on Saturday, Aug. 21, a Pennsylvania Air National Guard aircraft, operating within U.S. air space, broadcast Radio and Television Martí signals into Cuba.

The action follows a recommendation to the President by the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba to carry out regular airborne transmissions of Radio and TV Martí broadcasts to Cuba in order to break the Castro regime’s blockade of information to the people of the island. Chaired by Secretary of State Colin Powell, the Commission released its report in May of 2004.

The airborne broadcasts, which will increase the availability of reliable and uncensored information on events in Cuba and around the world, are part of an integrated approach to assist the Cuban people in bringing about rapid and peaceful change to their nation.

The airborne television broadcasts are using Channel 13, which the Federal Communications Commission has authorized for TV Martí. Radio Martí broadcasts are using a medium wave (AM) frequency not used by U.S. commercial broadcasters.

Radio and TV Martí, which operate under the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), started broadcasting to Cuba in 1985 and 1990 respectively. Their signals are routinely jammed by the Cuban government.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is a nine-member, presidentially appointed body which supervises all U.S. government-supported international broadcasting, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and VOA, Radio Free Asia, Radio and TV Martí, the Middle East Television Network (Al Hurra), Radio Sawa, and Radio Farda. The services broadcast in 55 languages to over 100 million people around the world. Current governors include Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, Chairman; Joaquin F. Blaya; Blanquita Walsh Cullum; D. Jeffrey Hirshchberg; Edward E. Kaufman; Veronique Rodman; Norman J. Pattiz; Steven J. Simmons; and Colin L. Powell, Secretary of State, who serves a an ex officio member.

For more information, contact Howard Mortman at (202) 401-3736