The United States has turned off a “news” ticker at its diplomatic mission in Havana that had long infuriated the Cuban government.


Installed by former President Bush’s administration in 2006, the crimson addition to the diplomatic post was billed as a way to circumvent censorship and “offer hope and freedom to Cubans oppressed by a brutal regime”. Five-foot-high red letters that ran across 25 windows on the outside of the fifth floor streamed news, political statements and messages blaming Cuba’s problems on the country’s communist system and socialist economy.

After the United States launched the ticker, Cuba erected obstructions so it could not be seen, inciting increasingly negative “dueling billboards”.

Fidel Castro accused the U.S. mission of becoming “headquarters of the counterrevolution,” which he said violated diplomatic protocol. He led a million Cubans to protest in front of the mission in 2006, and erected 138 black flags (later traded for Cuban flags) to block the view of the ticker from those passing.


U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters in Washington that the news ticker was turned off in June.

The Obama administration believes the ticker was “really not effective as a means of delivering information to the Cuban people”, and was “not serving the interests of promoting a more productive relationship.”

Pause. 200602080001_54629


I need a moment here to pause and be grateful. I live a wonderful life, and these are the things I am thankful for today:

1. Oatmeal cookies when I come from work.
2. Air in my bicycle tires.
3. A President that doesn’t humiliate me, or make me sulk in American despair.

Whether or not you’ve ever been a fan of President Obama or his politics, maybe some can agree on this point. Let’s not broadcast hate speech on our diplomatic posts.
Let’s not.

Spokesman Kelly noted that the Cubans had dismantled “a few very negative billboards and graffiti” around the facility and the United States viewed their removal as “a positive gesture.”


~ by Vy on July 27, 2009.

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