Radio Martí Goes Online (But Does It Matter?)

The U.S. government spends millions of dollars every year transmitting news (or something like it) to Cuba through Radio y Televisión Martí's studios in Miami with the aim of balancing the government-controlled Cuban press. But there's little indication that the program is effective or that many Cubans receive the broadcasts. Now the Office of Cuba Broadcasting is trying to expand its message through new media, but it's doubtful that move will expand the programming's reach.

The Cuban government regularly blocks the signals of both Radio and TV Martí, and even when they do get through, they're often of low quality.

A congressional investigation released in 2009 estimated that only about 2 percent of the Cuban population had tuned in to Radio and TV Martí in the past two years. As America's fiscal health continues to halter the stations, many have been eyed for possible cuts or elimination.

According to the Associated Press, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting has now set up several "ghost" websites that allow Cubans to listen to Martí broadcasts.

So far the sites have received a whopping 400 hits, and those aren't even all coming from Cuba. Listeners from America and (ominously) Iran also account for a few of those listens.

That's probably because most Cubans don't have access to the Internet, and even when they do, the connection is usually slow and not optimized for media streaming.

The Office of Cuba Broadcasting is also texting messages through Skype.

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