Radio Havana Cuba [RHC] is the principal international broadcaster out of Cuba, although not the only Cuban media organisation to reach the world outside: a variety of Cuban newspapers, radio and television stations have an online presence, and the multi-lingual editions of some of these sites indicate an intention to communicate internationally (in particular Granma, the "Official Organ of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party", has an online edition in six languages). In terms of broadcasting as traditionally defined, though, only RHC is widely available via the airwaves outside Cuban territory.
1. The goal of RHC
RHC began broadcasting in May 1961, two years after the revolution. It was specifically conceived for the purpose of broadcasting political messages to the outside world: to be "the voice of a people in revolution", which would "communicate the truth about the Cuban Revolution to countries around the world"*1*.
2. Achieving the goal
RHC is broadcast in nine languages: Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Quechua [a native American language spoken by about 25% of Peruvians], Guarani [another indigenous South American language that is one of the two official languages of Paraguay], Creole and Esperanto. This is indicative that "countries around the world" is not as all-encompassing as it might sound, for example, Asian audiences are not specifically targeted.
Currently, RHC broadcasts 30 hours per day, with "a varied programming that includes news, music and features". Broadcasts via AM extend worldwide, with the Frequencies page of the Spanish language website indicating European, North American, South American, and Caribbean coverage*2*.
In editorial/content terms, RHC has evolved with the ideological/propaganda requirements of changing political times. Frederick's history of RHC up to the early 1980s (1986) explains how different emphases included revolutionary incitement and solidarity aimed at South and Central American countries during the early 1960s, to targeted relaying of The Voice of Vietnam to US anti-war activists during the late 1960s. Current priorities continue to reflect changing political realities. The English language website features recent articles on the US Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay*3* and Chavez' administration in Venezuela*4*, as well as a "Short discussion of the Cuban electoral system"*5*.
- 1*Source of these quotations and other information: RHC English language website 'About us' page at http://www.radiohc.cu/ingles/quienes.htm, pages accessed September 2004
- 2*See: http://www.radiohc.cu/espanol/frecuencia.htm, page accessed September 2004
- 3*See: http://www.radiohc.cu/ingles/especiales/guantanamoportadaguant.htm, page accessed September 2004
- 4* Page accessed September 2004, now dead link.
- 5*See: http://www.radiohc.cu/ingles/especiales/elections.htm, page accessed September 2004
Frederick, H. (1986) Cuban-American Radio Wars. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.