Obama pulls plug on Havana ticker
American President Barack Obama has pulled the plug on a scrolling electronic ticker at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, three years after it was installed to flash pro-democracy messages at passersby — and annoy the hell out of former Cuban President Fidel Castro. Just one in a series of tit-for-tat exchanges the two governments ...
American President Barack Obama has pulled the plug on a scrolling electronic ticker at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, three years after it was installed to flash pro-democracy messages at passersby — and annoy the hell out of former Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Just one in a series of tit-for-tat exchanges the two governments engaged in during the Bush and Castro presidencies, the propaganda ticker streamed five-foot tall crimson words in Spanish and English, criticizing the local government and extolling the virtues of American-style freedom. It ran adages by Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln — and then some lesser known sayings:
Some go around in Mercedes, some in Ladas, but the system forces almost everyone to hitch rides.
In 2006 Castro retaliated by erecting hundreds of 100-foot-high flag poles in the “Anti-Imperialist Plaza” opposite the Interests Section, meant to symbolize the Cuban people’s struggle — and conveniently obstructing view of the ticker.
For a few weeks now the messages have stopped flashing high above the streets of Havana, and although U.S. diplomats initially cited “technical difficulties” as the cause, they say they have no plans to turn it back on. It is a small, but symbolic, gesture as the Obama administration continues to ease hard-line policies against Cuba, and promises a normalization of relations between the two countries in the seemingly not-so-distant future.
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