By FRANCES ROBLES | Miami Herald
The electronic billboard that displays news and human-rights messages from the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana may be losing its audience: The Cuban government Wednesday began building a structure that will block it from view.
The Cuban government marched more than one million people past the U.S. Interests Section in a protest against the Bush administration Tuesday. Just as leader Fidel Castro began to speak, American diplomats turned on the ticker-tape machine.
Castro called the Americans “cockroaches.’‘
On Wednesday, Cuban authorities told U.S. diplomats they would no longer be allowed to use the parking lot in front of the building on Havana’s seafront Malecon avenue, according to a U.S. Interests Section statement. Construction work started on the adjoining property soon afterwards, the statement said.
‘The regime appears to be building a permanent structure that, we believe, seeks to obstruct Cubans’ view of the uncensored messages and information posted on our streaming billboard,’’ the statement read. “The regime’s reaction is not surprising: building walls to isolate Cubans from the rest of the world is what the regime knows best.’‘
News agencies reported bulldozers emblazoned with Cuban flags arrived early Wednesday at the area, officially known as the Jose Mart� Anti-Imperialist Plaza.