Overthrow on the Radio

With a vengeance born of extremists, the radical La Voz de la Resistencia show goes straight for Castro's jugular

One night each week, three Cuban exiles make their way through a tall gate and the cluttered, overgrown yard of a house in Westchester. They file past a long table stacked with pamphlets and papers in what used to be the living room, then down a hallway and into a bedroom that has been converted into a cramped radio studio. A man waits near an ancient reel-to-reel tape recorder and worn audio control board. Then for half an hour the exiles sit before banged-up microphones and instruct the people of Cuba in the dark arts of sabotage, arson, and assassination.

Here's the opening of one such taping session, recorded this past December: "Since the sugar harvest is about to begin, and it's almost the new year, we want to start this new period with review and explanation, with an understanding of what those on the island are suffering. Now, this year's sugar harvest, it must be destroyed. In the past Castro promised ten million tons. Now it must be ten million acts of sabotage. Cubans, we urge each of you to destroy the grinders of the sugar mills by tossing pieces of lead pipe or screws into the cane that is being processed. Loosen or damage parts of the mechanisms. Also burn the cane fields. This can be done by pouring a little gasoline or combustible liquid on an empty cloth sack. Set the sack on fire and let it burn a few minutes, then put out the fire. At night throw the sack into a field. The next day the heat of the sun by itself will cause the sack to reignite."

The speaker is 47-year-old Enrique Encinosa, youngest of the three exiles, a writer of fiction and books about Cuban history. Encinosa and his colleagues then go on to detail methods of burning down warehouses and disabling government vehicles. They'll save for other taping sessions instructions for destroying computers, derailing trains, short-circuiting electrical systems and power grids, driving tourists out of ritzy hotels, even selectively assassinating high-ranking communist officials.

These and other recipes for mayhem are being broadcast to Cuba on a shortwave radio program called La Voz de la Resistencia (The Voice of the Resistance). The half-hour program is taped in this house that serves as headquarters for Radio CID (Independent and Democratic Cuba), the shortwave station founded by exile leader Haber Matos, a former Cuban Rebel Army major who resisted Castro's move toward communism and served twenty years in prison as a result.

La Voz de la Resistencia and other Radio CID programs are broadcast from a transmitter whose exact location in Central America is a closely guarded secret. According to station personnel, the program airs Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. and also on various other days -- depending on the station's programming commitments. (Anyone with a shortwave radio can tune in to Radio CID at 9940 kHz from 6:00 p.m. to midnight, and at 6305 kHz from midnight to 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.)

Encinosa, along with 69-year-old Coral Gables cardiologist Armando Zaldivar and 63-year-old building contractor Ramon Ramos, has been producing La Voz de la Resistencia for about fifteen months, but until recently they were reluctant to discuss the program in the English-language media, concerned that such exposure would attract scrutiny from federal authorities owing to La Voz de la Resistencia's seditious content. (Encinosa says he did speak about the program on Spanish-language radio this past summer.) But they have since learned that because the broadcasts originate outside the U.S., federal telecommunications regulators have no jurisdiction. In addition, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami says the program almost certainly is protected by free speech provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

The shortwave saboteurs also say they were encouraged to go public by none other than Fidel Castro himself. According to Encinosa, Castro decried subversive radio broadcasts such as La Voz de la Resistencia in a January 1 speech in Havana. (New Times was unable to confirm Encinosa's claim.) "Now even Castro himself talks about [the show]," Encinosa beams. "He mentioned in a pissed-off tone that there were some exiles on the radio trying to get the Cuban people to commit acts of sabotage. After the speech there were a lot of comments about that on the radio here."

Along with the supercharged rhetoric and inflammatory calls to action commonly heard on Miami's Spanish-language AM airwaves, myriad other anti-Castro broadcasts reach Cuba on shortwave bands -- the U.S. government's Radio Marti and the Cuban American National Foundation's station La Voz de La Fundacion being the most prominent. But La Voz de la Resistencia pushes the format to its extreme. "Are we advocating the overthrow of the Cuban government? Yes, we are," declares the bearded Encinosa, taking a quick drag from a Kool. Despite his relatively young age, he has been involved for decades in both peaceful and paramilitary anti-Castro activities. He is the author of three books about armed struggle within Cuba, and hosts a half-hour talk show on WQBA-AM (1140). "We don't claim we have a resistance army inside the island, or commando units. What we have is a direct line by radio to explain ways of resisting, and encouraging acts of resistance."

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