A Spanish-language Grantee was appointed by the U.S. government to operate in the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, a decision that came without any warning.
This implies possible changes for Radio Marti, which is under the wing of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting at the moment. Particular aspects of this arrangement haven’t been disclosed but it is conjectured that this might be the first step in the ladder towards the innovation of both Radio and TV Marti which has been in business since its establishment in 1980’s under the presidency of Ronald Reagan.
Succeeding the order of restoration of diplomatic relation with Cuba by president Barrack Obama, this decision was publicized just over a year later. Though there are now embassies in Havana and Washington, Cuba has perpetually demanded the termination of Radio and TV Martí.
The announcement was made by the Officials of the Broadcasting Board of Governors on Tuesday on a telephone news conference from Washington.
A Broadcasting Board document headlined, “Spanish Language Grantee for Cuba: BBG requests authority to establish a new Spanish language, non-federal media organization that would receive a BBG grant and perform the functions of the current Office of Cuba Broadcasting.”
“We’re going to keep doing our mission, which is to provide Cubans on the island information that they don’t have access to,” said María González, the newly appointed director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.
The proposal has received objection from Tim Shamble, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1812, which represents Radio and TV Martí employees.
He said, “We completely oppose it. It would take away civil service rights of the employees and federal union rights as well.”
This decision caused panic among the employees of Marti Radio and TV consequentially. They are skeptical about the privatization of operations, specifically.
In the telephone news conference, BBG executive director John F. Lansing said the proposed change was mainly aimed at cost savings and providing the organization with greater flexibility.
BBG Executive Director, John F. Lansing served confutation to this by saying that, “Number one, the mission of OCB would be completely unaffected. It would be the exact same mission, at the same funding levels and nothing would alter that.”
He added, “Secondly, any change, any de-federalization of OCB would still be subject to a legislative process, which may or may not, indeed, happen and third the effect that it would have would depend on whether a) that it happens and b) if it did happen how it was designed at some point in the future.”
Previously, an initial draft of the 2015 budget proposal for the State Department and foreign operations maintained the level of financing for OCB but foresaw the possibility that it could be merged with the Voice of America’s Latin America division.
This positions the future of Radio and TV Marti on the fence when it comes to a complete close-down.
Source : miamiherald.com