The Center for a Free Cuba has learned that Voice of America has begun to alert its listeners in Cuba that their Spanish-language shortwave broadcasts will end on October 31. The USAID-funded programs to overcome the Castros’ censorship and propaganda programs are based, to a great extent, on tens of thousands of shortwave radios which the Center for a Free Cuba was able to distribute inside Cuba .
Suggesting to the Cubans that they can listen to American broadcasts on the internet ignores the fact that Cuba is one of the countries in the world with the most limited access to the internet. Senator Richard Lugar and Congressman Howard Berman sent staffers to Cuba more than a year ago. They reported that Cuban authorities suggested for the United States to end its radio broadcasts in order to have better relations with the island.
The Cuban dictatorship and the regimes in Vietnam and China will celebrate. These cuts, at a time when the image of America around the world continues to deteriorate, undermine President Obama’s efforts to inform international public opinion about the real nature of the United States and its contributions to development, peace, and freedom around the world.
The Center has been unable to confirm if the appropriate congressional committees have been informed about this drastic action.
We call on Secretary Hillary Clinton to review carefully the impact of these cuts on American efforts to provide information to millions of people who suffer censorship under tyrannies of various ideologies.