Commercial radio stations have not been spared the wrath of Castro, who regularly jams them with powerful transmissions from his own networks. In Marathon, in the Florida Keys, Radio Mambi wrestles with Radio Rebelde, the major Cuban network, for 710 on the AM dial. And the Cuban government currently jams Radio Marti's 50,000-watt AM transmission with Radio Taino, a tourist-information station believed to be broadcasting from a 300,000-watt transmitter. This is said to be a retaliation against the embattled TV Marti, which began beaming into Cuba earlier this year.
"The anti-Castro situation is not totally unlike selling automobiles," says John Santosuosso. "The little guys have tended to give way to the bigger guys, and the few that are left are big, well-financed outlets." These days, he adds, it's hard to tell the difference between clandestine and nonclandestine transmissions. "It's a real gray area, especially when the licensed guys are broadcasting pretty much the same stuff the clandestines were, just more professionally. All of it bothers Castro.