U.S. Rep. Bill Delahunt of met with a group of mostly Democratic Cuban exiles in Miami Saturday, urging them to get more involved in public debates over the future of the Communist island.
The Massachusetts democrat was also critical of Radio and TV Marti broadcasts, saying they are inefficient and don’t reach enough Cubans. But Delahunt said Pedro Roig, who heads the U.S. Office of Cuba Broadcasting, appears committed to improving them.
Earlier this week, a draft report from the State Department circulated by supporters of the Marti stations concluded the broadcasts were getting better and outlined more than a dozen recommendations to improve journalistic standards, security and content. The official report has not yet been released.
Delahunt’s visit came several weeks after his colleague, U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona met with representatives from the Cuban American community in Miami.
Asked why a congressman from Boston is so passionate about U.S.-Cuban policy, Delahunt responded, “Because I’m Irish.” He described the joy he felt at seeing peace come to Northern Ireland and said he hoped to see the same for Cuba.
Earlier this week, Congress approved $33 million for the Office of Cuba Broadcasting’s budget, including $5 million a year for a plane to broadcast TV Marti to the island.