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Tuesday, 5 June, 2001, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
Cuban radio defiant 40 years on
Cuban leader President Fidel Castro
Still defiant after all this time
A thorn in the side of its powerful neighbour and adversary, Radio Havana Cuba recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

According to the head of the Cuban parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, the country's international radio station still maintains its "revolutionary desire to change the world".

Do they believe they will be able to hide it from the world?... No, Cuba already has a radio station which is broadcasting to all Latin America... being heard by innumerable brothers and sisters in Latin America and the world over

Fidel Castro

Mr Alarcon says it will continue to provide "a voice for all dispossessed and downtrodden peoples" throughout the world.

Bay of Pigs

The station was born shortly after the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961.

In an address at the funeral of victims of the failed, US-backed venture, President Fidel Castro announced: "Do they believe they will be able to hide it from the world?... No, Cuba already has a radio station which is broadcasting to all Latin America... being heard by innumerable brothers and sisters in Latin America and the world over."

Shortly afterwards, on 1 May 1961, Radio Havana Cuba began broadcasting in Spanish and English for two hours daily.

Now it broadcasts 30 hours daily, having added French, Arabic, Creole, Portuguese, the South American Indian languages of Quechua and Guarani, and Esperanto to its original two languages.
Cuban boat people fleeing to USA
Another source of US-Cuban tension

Radio Havana Cuba's output is a blend of national and foreign news, praising the country's achievements with little or no criticism of its shortcomings while taking an internationalist, often anti-US line in its reporting of world affairs.

It is quick to highlight the shortcomings in its giant neighbour and adversary to the north west. Much emphasis is placed on the economic and racial inequalities in the United States. Much of its venom is reserved for the current White House incumbent, George W. Bush.

Bush's incoherent and senseless anti-Cuba speech last week was merely an effort to thank those in Florida for his fraudulent electoral victory

A recent broadcast quoted Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque as saying that "Cuba has outlived 10 US administrations.

"Felipe Perez Roque said Bush's incoherent and senseless anti-Cuba speech last week was merely an effort to thank those in Florida for his fraudulent electoral victory and to try and guarantee the re-election of his brother, Jeb Bush, as governor of Florida," the radio said.

Hardly the type of language designed to win over the present White House incumbent.

Tit for tat

The United States in turn targets Cuba with Radio and TV Marti, a government-funded service which exhorts Cubans to rebel against the "repression and human rights abuses" in the country and fight for a US-style democracy - an unsubtle call for Cubans to overthrow the Castro government.

Station director Milagros Hernandez says her radio was founded "to let the world know what was going on in Cuba and especially to broadcast to the poor countries of the Third World", and there is as much need for that now as ever.

Ms Hernandez says it aims "to disseminate the best of Cuban and Latin American culture", particularly music and sports, and is planning to improve programming, with more in-depth coverage of Third World issues, especially on Africa.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages..

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24 May 01 | Americas
Cuba blasts Bush over dissidents
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