TV Martí

TV Martí

TV Martí was created by the US government to provide news and current affairs programming to Cuba. It is named after Cuban independence leader José Martí, and is the television equivalent to Radio Marti.


It began broadcasting on March 27, 1990. Currently TV Martí is an element of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) with its complement Radio Martí. The sister elements of TV Martí in the IBB are Voice of America (VoA), Radio Sawa, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and Radio Free Asia. The IBB and the Broadcasting Board of Governors are independent federal entities spun off from the now defunct U.S. Information Agency.


The studios are currently located in Miami.

Transmission network

TV Martí broadcasts daily programs in Spanish via a transmitter affixed to an aerostat balloon located 10,000 feet (3.048 km) above Cudjoe Key, Florida. [] As a result of Hurricane Dennis, the broadcasting aerostat (which the locals named "Fat Albert") was destroyed by wind.Fact|date=September 2008


The Cuban government has insisted the penetration of their airwaves violates international law. This claim has not been elucidated; however, Cuba responds to these broadcasts by jamming the signals.

National Public Radio's On the Media has pointed out that while "the U.S. has spent close to a half billion dollars on TV and Radio Marti, the Cuban government has managed to effectively block the transmission signal, at least on the TV side. Viewership on the island is estimated to be a third of one percent. One study several years ago found that nine out of ten Cubans had never even heard of the channel." []

According to a January 10, 2007 episode of the news and commentary program Democracy Now!, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CRE) called for a congressional investigation into the legality of broadcasting Radio and TV Marti over commercial airwaves from southern Florida. The group states that the Bush administration has reached an agreement with two south Florida commercial Spanish language TV and radio stations to broadcast the TV Marti program, which the CRE accuses the US government of illegally paying the station $200,000 to air the Radio Marti program daily for six months, citing that U.S law prohibits broadcasting of propaganda inside the country.

Democracy Now! went on to state that a senior TV Marti executive was indicted by federal prosecutors for providing kickbacks in trade for certain contracts and the Inspector General's office has launched a review into the operations of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting which oversees Marti. In addition, the program indicates that Massachusetts Congressman William Delahunt has also promised to hold hearings on TV Marti.

TV Marti airs half-hour early and late evening newscasts, but the channel is also carried on DirecTV, which is pirated by many Cuban civilians. A low-power Miami TV channel, WPMF-LP, Channel 38, carries TV Marti's half-hour early and late evening newscasts [] .

Fabio Leite, director of the Radiocommunications Office of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), has condemned radio and television transmissions to Cuba from the United States as illegal and inadmissible and more so when they are designed to foment internal subversion on the island. The director commented that the broadcast is in violation of ITU regulations, which stipulate that radio transmissions within commercial broadcasting on medium wave, modulated frequency or television must be conceived of as a good quality national service within the limits of the country concerned. []

On November 15, 2007, delegates to the World Radiocommunication Conference 2007 declared illegal the U.S. government's use of airplanes to beam the signals of Washington-funded Radio and Television Marti into Cuba, stating "A radio broadcasting station that functions on board an aircraft and transmits only to the territory of another administration without its agreement cannot be considered in conformity with the radio communications regulations." [] []


*Martí Noticias, website of TV and Radio Martí,
*International Broadcasting Bureau,
*Broadcasting Board of Governors,
*Radio and TV Marti Guns After Castro - Council on Hemispheric Affairs,
*Democracy Now!,

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