Youtube video confirms “hand-to-hand” distribution of Martí programming in Cuba

The Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), a human rights group, has posted a YouTube video confirming the lengths to which people in Cuba will go to get unbiased news and information. The five-minute video (below) features one of the group’s several regularly-scheduled meetings where members watch and discuss news from TV Martí. UNPACU distributes TV Martí’s programming using DVDs, thumb drives and other means.

“We know here in the eastern region we do not have the cables or antennas to receive the signal,” explained a UNPACU member in the video. “But we can see the programming thanks to the audiovisual [files]…that are passed by hand from an exile to someone associated with UNPACU.”

Cuba has one of the world’s most restrictive media environments, and it consistently ranks in the bottom 10 of Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press Index. The Cuban government attempts to jam the Martís’ radio and TV signals, but OCB has made significant progress in circumventing and defeating the jamming. In addition to the distribution of DVDs as seen in the video, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting also uses multiple web domains and proxies, SMS messaging and distribution of satellite Internet receivers.

Many of the individuals testify in the video that programming produced by the Martís provides their only source of free and unbiased information.

“When I watch the [Martí] programming,” explained one participant, “I am free.”