Cuba blasts US-backed anti-Castro TV programming

[Associated Press]

Cuba on Monday blasted a new move by a U.S.-funded TV Marti to provide its anti-Fidel Castro programming to Spanish-language stations in Miami that are picked up by popular illegal satellite dishes on the island.

The Miami station WPMF-TV, an affiliate of the Spanish-language Azteca Americas network, in December announced plans to air the Marti programming daily. It appears to be the first time Marti programming has been broadcast on U.S. airwaves. TV Marti is paying $195,000 for six months worth of broadcasts.

"They are trying new ways to get their meddlesome and subversive messages, designed to destabilize the Cuban revolution, seen and heard in our country," an article in the Communist Party newspaper Granma said.

"The authorities of our country, with the support of the vast majority of the people, are taking and will take the necessary measures" to halt this new effort to bring TV Marti programming to the country, Granma said.

Other U.S. government attempts to beam TV Marti into Cuba have largely failed because of the communist government's successful efforts to jam the signals, most recently being sent from a cargo plane off Florida's coast.

The older sister station, Radio Marti, historically has been more successful in broadcasting to the island through both shortwave and AM signals.

This new method of broadcasting TV Marti to Cuba comes as the Washington-funded program faces renewed criticism for spending $10 million annually to produce programs that in the past were rarely seen on the communist-run island.

It is uncertain how many Cubans have illegal Direct TV satellite dishes that access Miami programming. But far more people on the island seem likely to pick up TV Marti through those dishes than through the U.S. government's past efforts.

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