This article describes the television channel Telesur, which is produced in Venezuela and broadcast into Cuba and across Latin America. The channel is not new to Cuba, but since 20 Jan, it is broadcast 12 hours a day, more than ever before. The channel is significant because, while it is sympathetic to the socialist model, Telesur is not produced or controlled by the Cuban government. Typical Cuban television is fairly low-budget, and only carried the most sanitized, government-approved programs. Because Telesur is intended to appeal to audiences across Latin America and act as an instrument for regional unity, it will carry major news stories, investigative journalism, and even Major League Baseball. Even critics agree that the availability of the channel will be a major step toward progress in Cuba. In a country where fewer than 10% of the citizens have internet access, and all of the television programming must be approved by the Communist Party, Telesur can bring an openness and fresh perspective that have not been available to Cubans.
An especially interesting aspect of this story is US involvement in Cuban media. As we discussed in class, the US has a history of intervention in Cuba since the Spanish-American War/War for Cuban Independence. The US sponsors Radio Marti and and TV Marti to bring alternate programming to Cubans. Because the signals are scrambled by the government, few Cubans actuaTelly hear this programming. These media outlets, of course, are named for Jose Marti, a Cuban independence hero who, for a time, was exiled in the US. The Cuban independence movement is often ignored in discussions of what is known in the US as the Spanish American War.
This was an Associated Press article carried by the Miami Herald.