U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum "Channels" the KGB

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) has introduced legislation entitled, "Stop Wasting Taxpayer Money on Cuba Broadcasting Act," which (obviously) seeks to eliminate Radio and TV Marti.

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) has introduced the Senate version.

Thus, she's circulated a Congressional "Dear Colleague" looking for co-sponsors that reads:

"Over the past twenty-five years, more than $660 million dollars have been wasted beaming propaganda into Cuba. Most of these radio and TV broadcasts—called Radio and Television Marti—are jammed by the Castro Regime before they even reach Cuban shores. The ones that make it through are ignored by the Cuban people."

Here's a question for Congresswoman McCollum:

If the Cuban people ignore Radio and TV Marti, then why does the Castro regime spend so much time, effort and resources trying to jam them?

After all, Castro beams his radio stations to the U.S. (in English)
-- including Radio Rebelde, Radio Reloj and Radio Habana Cuba -- but the U.S. government doesn't spend any resources scrambling them.

One -- because we believe in free speech.

Two -- because there's no need to.

Americans don't want to live in a totalitarian state.

However, Cubans do want to live in freedom -- so the Castro regime goes to great lengths in order to prevent them from listening to radio broadcasts from the U.S. or any other free country.

Ironically, a new website dedicated to smuggled KGB documents features one in which the Castro regime frantically begs them for help with Radio and TV Marti:

"During your visit to Cuba on May 3 to 9 as Head of Delegation of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the Cuban side requested for assistance in arranging suppression of American television broadcasts to Cuba."

Castro is obviously afraid of something.

Swap the Soviets for the Chinese and the KGB for -- well, the KGB -- and Castro is still afraid, perhaps more than ever.

But who needs scrambling equipment, when there's Congresswoman McCollum.

Bottom line:  This is not about policy, it's about politics.  Congresswoman McCollum doesn't care about Cuba policy and never has.  This is her way of trying to show the dichotomy of Republicans supporting Radio and TV Marti, while opposing NPR. We're non-partisan, but it's an absurd comparison. In the U.S., there are hundreds, if not thousands, of radio stations, which cover the entire political spectrum.  Thus, public broadcasting may (arguably) play a limited role in a free market.  However, in Cuba, Radio and TV Marti serve as the only instrument that help Cubans break through the Castro regime's censorship and media monopoly.