Tag Archives: Cuba

Over and Out: The Conclusion of Radio Martí After a Long History of Controversy Under Contradictory Legal Standards [Part II]

Taylor Hartstein

This post is the second in a two-part series on the legal debate over Radio and TV Martí, the U.S. broadcasting programs aimed at Cuba. Part I explores the history of the Martís in the context of U.S.-Cuba relations and the Castro regime’s arguments against the Martís under domestic and international law. Part II discusses the possibility of dispute resolution under the International Telecommunications Union as well as a First Amendment-based defense of the Martís.

The International Telecommunications Union

The International Telecommunications Union (“ITU”) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that regulates international telecommunications. The organization seeks, among other things, “to maintain international cooperation and national use of telecommunications,” “to harmonize actions of all countries planning to use D[irect] B[roadcasting ] S[ystems],” and “to allocate and improve the use of the radio frequency spectrum.”[1] The main institutional mechanism for addressing specific problems is the ITU’s World Administrative Radio Conferences (“WARCs”).[2] The 1971 WARC adopted a specific Radio Regulation 428A, which requires states to reduce “spillover broadcasts” into other countries “to the maximum extent practicable” unless a previous agreement is established between the countries.[3] While this regulation could arguably require the United States to take steps to minimize the effects of its domestic radio on Cuba, the U.S. has construed the regulation merely as a technical guideline, arguing that any broader construction would violate the “free flow” principle of Article 19 of the UDHR.[4] Continue reading Over and Out: The Conclusion of Radio Martí After a Long History of Controversy Under Contradictory Legal Standards [Part II]

Over and Out: The Conclusion of Radio Martí After a Long History of Controversy Under Contradictory Legal Standards [Part I]

Taylor Hartstein

In January 2015, Raúl Castro called for the end of the “anti-Castro” broadcasting services known as Radio and TV Martí (“the Martís”) as a precondition to normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba.[1] Finding their genesis in the U.S. “Voice of America” program during the Cold War, these broadcasting programs have continued to cause tension both between the U.S. and Cuba and in the domestic U.S. political sphere throughout their existence.[2] According to their Congressional purview, the objective of the Martís is to “provide news, commentary, and other information about events in Cuba and elsewhere to promote the cause of freedom in Cuba.”[3] However, some argue that the Martís’ efforts contribute to “the perception, pervasive in Cuba, that the United States and the Cuban diaspora are plotting regime change,” which “further strengthens the hard-liners who argue that only a closed political model with minimal market openings can insulate the island from domination by a foreign power allied with old-money elites.”[4]

Image courtesy of the author.

Continue reading Over and Out: The Conclusion of Radio Martí After a Long History of Controversy Under Contradictory Legal Standards [Part I]