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Posted July 21, 2008 by publisher in Cuban American Culture

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(Original title: problems with Cuba broadcast contracts) See below for my comments


Congress’ investigative arm is raising concerns about contracts awarded to local TV and radio stations that broadcast to Cuba, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Office of Cuba Broadcasting beams its Radio and TV Marti broadcasts to Cuba to provide an alternative to the communist island’s government-run media. It awarded the noncompetitive contracts to the local Miami stations in 2006, following a push from the Bush administration to step up broadcasts to Cuba, as well as the announcement by former Cuban President Fidel Castro that he was stepping down due to health problems.

The contracts marked a major change in government practice, since the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, which oversees the broadcasts, is generally not allowed to air its programs within the United States to avoid the appearance of domestic propaganda.

“IBB’s approach for awarding the Radio Mambi and TV Azteca contracts did not reflect sound business practices,” the report by the Congress’ Government Accountability Office concluded. It urged greater oversight by the IBB of the contracting process.

The report found the noncompetitive agreements with local stations Radio Mambi and TV Azteca were generally completed by mid-October of 2006, but that the IBB, which also oversees the Voice of American and Radio Free Europe, did not notify its legal and contracting department until more than a month later — two days before the contract was to be signed.

In responding to a draft of the report, IBB officials said they decided against publicly seeking competitive offers because they did not believe they would get satisfactory responses from other potential providers. They also said they feared the move would alert the Cuban government, which would be better able to jam the broadcasts.

Regarding Radio Mambi, known for its virulent anti-Castro rhetoric, IBB officials said they sought the station with the strongest AM signal to reach as much of Cuba as possible. The report notes, however, that Radio Mambi is one of the most commonly jammed stations since it airs on the same frequency as a Cuban government-run news station in Havana.

IBB dropped the $438,000 radio contract for financial reasons shortly after the investigation began. The $631,000 television contract with TV Azteca, seen in Cuba through pirated DirectTV, was renewed through December 2008.

Neither IBB officials nor management from the Office of Cuba Broadcasting immediately returned messages left by The Associated Press Tuesday.

The report also found that while the Office of Cuba Broadcasting followed federal guidelines for advertising its contracts, it did not keep records of how many contractors were actually hired through that process — as opposed to simply at the recommendation of a Cuba Broadcasting employee.

“What’s important is the lack of transparency here. It’s the process itself that is disturbing,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass, who requested the review and is a longtime critic of the Martis and of the U.S. embargo on Cuba.

“With millions of taxpayer dollars spent on these programs it is critical that they be managed with full transparency and accountability—to do otherwise opens the door to waste, fraud, and abuse,” he added in a statement.

The more than 30 page report is part of a broader investigation into the U.S. government’s efforts to beam news and other programming into Cuba. The efforts have long sparked controversy, including accusations of bias and mismanagement. Last year, the State Department’s inspector general conducted his own review of the Martis and generally gave them favorable reviews, but he was forced to resign months later following unrelated allegations that he impeded a Justice Department investigation.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on July 21, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I’m sure this is not going to be popular with the HARD LINE Cuban community but the truth must be told.

    They cannot deny that they get money directly and/or indirectly to run Radio Marti (which is useless) and they get money directly and/or indirectly to fund a variety of studies and aid to non-profit organizations etc.

    So, if they are getting money to try to get rid of Castro. What happens when the Castros are actually gone.

    Guess what. Their money is gone. How could anyone make the case for Radio Marti or aid to dissidents or funding non-profit agencies that don’t do anything? They can’t.

    So, what does this mean?

    ANY Cuban American or ANY person in Miami that benefits from ANY funding (direct or indirect) that is geared to get rid of the Castros secretly hope that the Castros live a very very long life.

    How many millions of dollars a year of US taxpayer money is pumped into Miami based organizations? When the Castro’s are gone, so is the government funding.

    Same goes for the Diaz Balarts and Ros-Lehtinen. They are useless now. Imagine when there are no Castro’s to fight against. They will have nothing.

    Why has the failed Plan A Embargo lasted for 45 years with no success? Because the hard liners don’t want it to succeed.

    They secretly say Viva Fidel under their breath. Thank god for Fidel. Right folks? If it weren’t for him, you’d have to get real jobs and not live off USAID and other funding.

    There. I said it.

    Am I wrong?

    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on July 22, 2008 by Cubana with 282 total posts

    You could well be right Rob. And Fidel is secretly in favour of the embargo because it gives him the excuse for all the failings of his revolution.

  3. Follow up post #3 added on July 22, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I agree with that too. There are many instances where things were opening up then Fidel did something to close off relations again.

    Brothers to the rescue and dissident round up in March 2003 come to mind.

    Someday somebody will write a tell all book about the Embargo, who benefited and who was harmed.

    Cuba consulting services

  4. Follow up post #4 added on July 22, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    don’t know if its true or not but i’ve heard or read a while back that JFK was due to do some prenegotiations with Castro just before he was assasinated.

    It’s kind of ironic - Castro wins because of the embargo; the Miami Cubans win because of the embargo, as described above ...everybody wins but the people on both sides

  5. Follow up post #5 added on July 23, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Anyway, back to my statement that some Cuban Americans benefit from having a Castro as President of Cuba…

    Cuba Democracy Groups Facing Audits After Reports of Fraud

    “Lynne Weil, a committee spokeswoman, said in an e-mail that USAID officials told the panel that between $500,000 and $700,000 in Cuba democracy grants had been stolen from the program.”

    and that’s just the fraud part. How many millions and millions of dollars come from USAID for programs that have pretty much done NOTHING to bring about change in Cuba.

    The reason?


    Cuba consulting services

  6. Follow up post #6 added on July 23, 2008 by abh

    Let’s hope your boy Delahunt (quoted in the article) continues to push for an end to the embargo.  We’ll need him as a voice of reason within the Republican party during the Obama administration wink

  7. Follow up post #7 added on July 25, 2008 by edward with 65 total posts

    New Post…

    Having just been out at a party in South Wimbledon, South London I am stunned as to the apparent lack of power the british police force have in my island nation. I know, for example that if similar sitiuations occured in cuba, the police would come down heavy on all those involved. I’ll paint the picture…one of my local bars had a party, there was maybe 400 people turned up, everything was great until chucking out time, around 1.00am. Then, all hell broke loose, fights, bottles being thrown, almost anarchy on the streets, it was a good 20 minutes before the police arrived. What did they do?...nothing.

    You may be thinking, well, what’s this got to do with Cuba. My point is, a) there’s no violent mentality in Cuba amongst the youth, b) the law would turn up and crack heads before it even got to the stage I witnessed tonight.

    By the way, before you yanks start thinking that you would have done the same. Remember New Orleans?...I was absolutley stunned that a part of your country descended into lawlesness and was quickly ruled by gangs with guns. Both of these situations I could not envisage in Cuba. Discuss…

  8. Follow up post #8 added on July 25, 2008 by edward with 65 total posts

    The other truth is that Cuba has a superior social model than my country. You see, the democracy trick in the UK is..“we’re free, we can come from nowhere, work like a dog and become rich”. (in the US, it’s known as the american dream) It’s actually the only way we become free, by becoming cash rich, millionaire type rich. It’s really a trap. One is trapped in the system, trapped into debt, one is stuck on the wheel of paying the banks back the money one borrowed to buy a house.

    Cuba don’t play that game, that’s what they mean by freedom, if you think about it, it is freedom. Freedom from debt allows one to express oneself.

    Like a lot of people, I’m now in negative equity. I’m into the robbing banks for £1000’s…who’s the winner?, not me, and am I free?

  9. Follow up post #9 added on July 25, 2008 by edward with 65 total posts

    Interestingly enough, my wife, who is from Habana has been living with me here in South London. She’s a great person, dignity is her middle name. She’s found it a struggle here, it’s all money, money, money. Family?, no, profit first…there’s little family values here in England, it’s not the priority, profit and keeping your head above water’s the priority.

    She’s been working at restaurant/bar in Wimbledon, I asked her how it’s going? and she said to me “I’m no dog!, I said what do you mean?

    It turns out that they they were going to make a choice between her and this turkish lad. The turkish lad jumped when he was told to, like a dog. My lovely Cuban wife thought that this is beneath her. You know what, she’s right…

  10. Follow up post #10 added on July 25, 2008 by Hans

    Interesting article.


  11. Follow up post #11 added on July 25, 2008 by edward with 65 total posts

    Slaves to the money…Publisher, I put it to you that your main motivation is to make money out of Cuba. That’s why you will never be happy with with what the Castro bros have done in Cuba and indeed the way it will pan out.

    Profit is your god but personal profit is hell on earth for the Casto’s…eg, you can only take so much from the well. What are you going to give back?, the Cuban’s export doctors, what do you the likes of you do?

  12. Follow up post #12 added on July 26, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    You are way out of line.

    First of all this post is about Cuban American profiting from the Castros being in power in Cuba.

    Second, you take personal shots at me without being provoked.

    Do I smell a Varsi?

    Cuba consulting services

  13. Follow up post #13 added on July 26, 2008 by Varsi Padayachee

    Mr. Publisher, Your continuos use of me as your punching bag is really borne out of your sewer mentality. It ios just as pathetic to note your responses. I guess I really got under your skin, and rather than have an intelligent discussion your spew seems to be your only outlet. Please read your own comment”..you take personal shots at me without being provoked..” you certainly are a hypocrite. Any time you are in the Washington DC area, let me know. We should have a civilized (u know what that is, I presume), debate. I guarantee u that I will wipe the floor with your sputterings. I look forward to your response to my challenge! Give your continuous use of my name, I do hope you will have the guts to back up your swill.

  14. Follow up post #14 added on July 27, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Edward and Varsi,

    I welcome you to read Raul Castro’s speech and read my comments about it HERE.

    Please tell me what a great speech it was and that Raul is a truly great man.

    I can’t wait to hear the official party line on this one.

    Cuba consulting services

  15. Follow up post #15 added on July 28, 2008 by Varsi Padayachee

    Mr Publisher, You are n different from the thugs in Miami, who feed on the Anti Castro ferment, and make money. I suspect that has been your intent all along. How does your nonsensical reference to me further your argument? And how convenient of you not to respond to my challenge! You hide behind the moniker of a Publisher, always on the ready to dish out your swill, yet do not have the guts and honesty to agree to disagree in a civilized and honest fashion.
    I would love to have you sit across the table from me, in front of an audience, and debate the issues you so dearly attach to your bank account.
    I would love to know your journalism background. I spent 15 years in the media, and I suspect that only job you will ever get in the media, is perhaps the mailroom clerk.

  16. Follow up post #16 added on July 28, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    It was a simple request to have you comment on the article. Go ahead and make your case. Tell me why Raul is a great man. Tell me why he is the right man to lead Cuba.

    Cuba consulting services

  17. Follow up post #17 added on July 28, 2008 by humberto rodriguez

    raul castro siempre a sido el protegido de su hermano fidel por ende un lacayo sin voz ni voto todos estos anos,como dicen los espanoles,todos son nuestros esclavos ,11 millones en Cuba y 3 millones fuera de Cuba ,gran hombre ,undespiadado asesino desde la Sierra Maestra , llenese la boca de algo que se desparamara atravez de sus lavios,no coma mierda y diga eso ,la ingnorancia es la perdicion de los pueblos Fidel Castro digo su granja privada 11 millones de esclavos,si un gran hombre siento mas respeto por la opinion de mi perro nacido u s a,nacido libre de nacimiento a cualquier cubano esclavo de nacimiento .su opinion es respetada ,des de el fondo del mar.

  18. Follow up post #18 added on July 29, 2008 by Varsi Padayachee

    Mr. Publisher. I was not involved in your “tre party” with Edward. Yet, you included me in the discusiion. Sadly, your lack of education and understand seems to blare itself each time you search your pea sized “brain” for a shot at me. I must really get under your skin, given the fact you are spineless enough not to respond to my challege to debate me, in person, on the issues. My invitation is always open, whenever you come to the Washington DC area.
    Can you tell us how different you are from the Miami thugs who are fattening themselves on their Anti-Castro fervor?

  19. Follow up post #19 added on August 02, 2008 by Pete Chavez

    Dear Publisher,

    Clearly,  Varsi Padayachee’s hatred for all things western is so deeprooted by his apartheid upbringing that he is incapable of acknowledgeing truth or anyone’s noble efforts to arrive at truth, as I see how you do here every day with this website. 
    To debate Varsi Padayachee on any issue is tantamount to hosting a party for sufferers of Tourettes Syndrome.  He is not capable of putting forth his views with out spewing insults and epithets.  Gosh, If Varsi would’ve been born Cuban I suspect that he’d be the first and only citizen to be kicked out of Cuba by Castro’s regime with a one way first class ticket ANYWHERE! (lol)

  20. Follow up post #20 added on August 02, 2008 by Pete Chavez

    PS And yes Edward does reek of Varsi, I guess we could add multiple personality to the battery of psychological disorders Varsi exhibits on this site with every posting.

  21. Follow up post #21 added on August 02, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    Even though I agree with you, I must stick to my own rules of not allowing comments to be personal attacks.

    I have been guilty of it myself but we are way off topic and there is no reason to make things personal.

    The Cuba debate brings out many people and many emotions, real or contrived. None the less, all are welcome here.

    So, let’s get back on topic regarding how some (many?) Cuban Americans profit by having Fidel Castro in office.

    Cuba consulting services

  22. Follow up post #22 added on August 04, 2008 by Pete Chavez

    Sorry Publisher,
    I do apoligize,  getting off topic is easy to do especially when these Marxist Muses are so adept at seducing us out of our wits and convictions.
    I will try to do my best to stay on topic from now on.  I must say though, Mr. Varsi Payadachee can’t entertain himself out in a civilized debate or have a simple exchange of ideas/beliefs whithout going for the jugular of one of his opponennt at the first inkling from his own opinions, he moves in for the character assasination.  If I have an opposing view, ‘I’m waxing venom,” “spewing bile”, you Publisher have “a pea size brain”, AND YOU ARE “no differenT than the thugs in Miami”, AND “you have a sewer mentality”,  oh and lastly, from these prior postings, “you spew rather than have enlightened debates” and last but not least, “You certainly are a hypocrite”, well at least according to Varsi.  I will try my best to stay on topic on topic, but just keep in mind that the there is a big “Off Topic Indian Elephant in the room” and he’s stubborn!

  23. Follow up post #23 added on August 04, 2008 by Pete Chavez

    And now back to the topic at hand, this goes on since the beginning of time.  there will always be people prophiting at the gates of war.  Where did all those millions go in Irag?  This Miami crowd that enjoys cashing in on the embargo are (like every where else in the world and in history) a group of predatory merchants that enjoy the action while it’s hot and when it’s over they have the flexibility and hutzpah to go find the next big thing that they can milk money out of like gangbusters.  They are not important,  it’s very underbelly of society kind of stuff, always existed and will always exit.  Maybe they’ll go back to Pyramid parties from the 70’s which by the way is what they were into before they found this fledgling cottage industry of the Embargo.  In other words when things really change in Cuba,  this business enterprize will desolve over night and even the purportrators won’t complain, they’ll just know it’s time for a new business model somewhere else.
    You know, think Meyer Lansky (goddbye Havanna, off to Las Vegas).  And I might add to all the other Trotsky sycophants, this group does not represent me or the very majority of Cubans on either side of the Florida Straits.

  24. Follow up post #24 added on August 04, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Interesting. You say they won’t complain.

    I beg to differ. They will complain. Even when both Castros are gone they will not want to accept anyone in office who has ever been in the government.

    They will say something like “just because Hitler is gone doesn’t mean the #2 guy is okay”.

    Even after free elections they will complain that the elections were rigged and that they need more money so they can push for better elections.

    Then they will need money to oversee the rebuilding of Havana. Then they will need more money for reparations etc etc.

    The old Cuban exiles will never stop until they are dead from old age. (I do make and have always made the distinction of “old” so I am not implying that all Cuban exiles are the same)

    That’s how I see it from here.

    Cuba consulting services

  25. Follow up post #25 added on August 05, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts


    I give all new visitors a long leash here to post their thoughts. You have posted dozens of times and most are all off topic and degrading.

    I won’t tolerate either for very long.

    Please stay on topic and avoid personal comments that do nothing to inform Havana Journal readers.

    Thank you.

    Cuba consulting services

  26. Follow up post #26 added on August 20, 2008 by White Monkey

    blah blah blah,  GM has 320,000 fairly well paid employees, CASTRO, INC has
    2 million unpaid slaves, - enough reason to keep the CEO in the family.

    Castro has lived off debt, un paid debt, first to Soviets, now to Jaanese, (see todays news) http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/20080820TDY08302.htm
    Castro has educated and then sold 10s of thousands of Cuban professionals to pay for his lobster dinner and made some of you,including Ollie Stone, believe HE HAD A GOOD IDEA, coño!

    What good is low infant mortality rate when your skinny kids grow up to go nowhere?

  27. Follow up post #27 added on August 20, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    White your last line can be used to point out the good, bad and ugly about Fidel:
    Yes, you can thank him for the low mortality rate - a good thing for Cuba
    The price for that low mortality rate was very high - Lots of people paid a high price including with their lives or losing their home country to get there.  I am sure the same low mortaility rate could have been achieved at a lower price.
    The skinny kids with nowhere to go - this is where the government may have to go, because Raol is on “put up or shut up” probation.  These folks who survived where before they died, are educated where before they often had no schooling, want a worthwhile future.  Under Fidel they had no voice; with Fidel’s charisma fading fast (or maybe even gone) their voices will be getting louder

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