Radio Y Televisión Martí - History


Radio Martí was established in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, at the urging of Jorge Mas Canosa, with the mission of fighting communism. Today, it broadcasts a 24-hour radio program on short and medium wave.

In the early 1980s, the U.S. Government planned to create a radio station to be known as Radio Free Cuba, modeled on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, with the hopes of hastening the fall of Cuban president Fidel Castro. Existing North American broadcasters objected strenuously to these plans, fearing that they would lead Cuba to retaliate by jamming existing commercial medium-wave broadcasts from Florida. These fears proved true in 1985, when Cuba-based transmitters briefly broadcast powerful signals on the medium wave band, disrupting U.S. AM radio station broadcasts in several states. Cuba continues to broadcast interference with U.S. broadcasts specifically directed to Cuba, in attempts to prevent them from being received within Cuba.

On May 20, 1985, broadcasts to Cuba from the United States began. The first day of broadcasting was chosen to commemorate the anniversary of Cuba's independence from United States rule, May 20, 1902. The station came to be named Radio Martí after Cuban writer José Martí, who had fought for Cuba's independence from Spain and against U.S. influence in the Americas.

In 1990, TV Marti was created to broadcast television programming to Cuba. It began broadcasting on March 27, 1990. Currently TV Martí is an element of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) with its complement Radio Martí. The sister elements of TV Martí in the IBB are Voice of America (VoA), Radio Sawa, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and Radio Free Asia. The IBB and the Broadcasting Board of Governors are independent federal entities spun off from the now defunct U.S. Information Agency.

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