Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
Here's the RSS feed or subscribe to our FFF Email Update to receive Hornberger’s Blog daily.

Abolish Radio Martí


While we are on the subject of Russia supposedly meddling in the U.S. presidential election, wouldn’t this be a good time to abolish Radio Martí, a U.S. government radio station whose purpose is to meddle in the internal affairs of Cuba?

Yes, I know that Cuba is not a democratic country. Yes, I know that it is ruled by a brutal communist regime. But why does that authorize the U.S. government to meddle in Cuban affairs?

And after all, let’s be honest: The aim of the U.S. government and its socialist radio station is not to bring democracy to Cuba but rather to install a pro-U.S. dictator into power. If that can be done democratically, that’s great. If not, then so be it. What matters above all else is that a pro-U.S. dictator rule over Cuba, democratically elected or not, one who will do the bidding of U.S. officials.

A good modern-day example of this phenomenon is Egypt. When Egyptian voters elected the “wrong” candidate in a democratic election, the Egyptian national-security establishment went into action, ousted him from power, and resumed direct control over Egyptian society, with the full support of the U.S. government, which today furnishes the unelected military goons with millions of dollars in high-powered weapons that are used to maintain their brutal and tyrannical anti-democratic hold on power.

Of course, it’s not the only time that U.S. officials have destroyed democratic regimes to put their dictators into power. Iran, Guatemala, and Chile come to mind.

Think back to the dictator who ruled Cuba before Fidel Castro, Fulgencio Batista. Like Castro, he wasn’t elected, and he was also corrupt and brutal. U.S. officials loved him. That’s because he would do whatever U.S. officials ordered him to do in the international arena. If they needed a vote in the UN, they knew that they could count on Batista to deliver. If they needed some sort of coalition of the willing, Batista was there to serve.

In return, they gave free reign to Batista to do whatever was necessary to maintain his corrupt and tyrannical hold on power inside Cuba (just like they do with Egypt and just like they did with Iran, Guatemala, and Chile after their regime-change operations in those countries). Batista had a lucrative partnership with the Mafia, for example, that enabled it to own and operate gambling casinos in Havana and to use Cuba as a way-station for smuggling heroin in the United States. As part of the partnership, Batista would have his forces kidnap young girls in outlying areas and forcibly bring them to Havana to have sex with high rollers in the casinos.

We probably should also remind ourselves of the assassination partnership that the CIA entered into with the Mafia, knowing full well that this criminal organization was engaged in murder, racketeering, heroin dealing, and rapes of young Cuban girls.

If anyone objected to the tyranny, corruption, and brutality, Batista wouldn’t hesitate to have his forces haul them in, torture them, and even kill them.

That’s why the Cuban populace finally revolted against Cuba’s pro-U.S. dictator. Batista’s tyranny became too oppressive for them. In fact, the rapes of the young girls were what inspired Celia Sanchez, who many Cubans recognize as the real leader of the Cuban revolution, to take up arms against one of the U.S. government’s favorite dictators (just like the Iranian people did in 1979 against the dictator that the CIA officials gave them in 1953).

U.S. officials brought Radio Martí into existence to broadcast propaganda to the Cuban people in the hopes of inspiring them to revolt against the Castro regime and replace it with another pro-U.S. dictator like Batista.

It hasn’t worked. After more than 30 years of broadcasting propaganda into Cuba, the Cuban communist regime is still standing. And despite the manifest economic failure of socialism in Cuba, there is little indication that the Cuban people are interested in replacing their communist regime with another brutal and corrupt dictator who would only make Cuba a vassal of the U.S. government again.

It is supremely ironic that the U.S. government named its socialist (i.e., government-owned and government-funded) radio station after Jose Martí, who Cubans recognize as their nation’s founding hero and who was killed in the Spanish American War. The irony is that Martí opposed not only Spanish control over Cuba but also U.S. control over Cuba. And yet, here is a U.S. government-owned radio station that bears his name whose aim is to restore U.S. control over Cuba through the installation of a dictator who will take his marching orders from Washington.

Isn’t it also ironic that the U.S. government is using socialism to combat communism? That’s what a government-owned radio station is — socialism. Moreover, guess how Radio Martí is funded. It receives its money from the federal government, thanks to the coercive apparatus of the federal progressive income tax, a government program which, also ironically, is one of the ten planks of the Communist Manifesto.

Perhaps it’s worth mentioning that hardly anyone in Cuba listens to Radio Martí. One reason for that is that the Cuban government blocks the station’s transmissions into Cuba. But even if it didn’t, it is doubtful that Cubans would listen to it anyway because it so boring. I periodically tune in to Radio Martí on Sirius-XM radio and I have to be especially careful when I’m driving because the programming tends to put me to sleep.

Here’s another irony about Radio Martí: I have never heard the commentators railing against Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schooling, public housing, and other core socialist programs in Cuba. I wonder why that is.

What business does a government that rails against foreign meddling in its affairs have meddling with affairs in Cuba, especially when its aim is simply to replace an independent dictator with one that is subservient to the U.S. government? What business does a government that purports to be anti-communist and pro-free enterprise owning and operating a radio station that, by its own admission, publishes official government propaganda?

Abolishing Radio Martí would save American taxpayers around $27 million a year. Supporters of this socialist program would say that that amount is just a drop in the bucket. That’s true, but there are lots of drops in the bucket that finally fill the bucket up, which ultimately means out of control spending and debt that threatens our nation with bankruptcy, just like in many communist countries.

After more than century of U.S. interventionism against Cuba, it is time for the U.S. government to just leave Cuba alone. An easy place to start would be the abolition of America’s socialist radio station, Radio Martí.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.