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Feingold wants to end radio broadcast targeting Cuba

U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold says it's time to de-fund Radio and TV Marti. The news and cultural broadcast service targeting Cuba began after Fidel Castro rose to power in the late 1950's. Feingold says the propaganda broadcasts are having little effect on Cuban citizens.

Feingold has tried before to eliminate funds for Radio and TV Marti. This time the effort is part of a larger bill aimed at trimming federal spending. Feingold says a recent government report found that less than two percent of Cubans tune into the programs that are broadcast from Florida. He says cancelling the project would save tax payers about $300 million, and he also cites a 2006 GAO report shows operational problems like cronyism, patronage and biased coverage.

Ricardo Gonzalez, director of Madison's sister city project in Camaguey, Cuba, says Feingold is on the right track in trying to chop funding for the broadcasts. He says in his annual visits to Camaguey he's heard one major complaint from Cubans about America's policy towards their country. He says Cuban people don't want any more interference from the United States and want to end the policy of isolationism. He says TV and Radio Marti is a form of aggression against Cuba.

Gonzalez says he's hopeful that defunding the broadcasts, combined with the easing of travel restrictions for Cuban Americans enacted by the Obama Administration may lead to normal relations between Cuba and the U.S. for the first time in decades.