MIAMI — On the one-year anniversary of the historic July 11 protests in Cuba, in which Cubans took to the streets in unprecedented numbers to protest decades of oppression and demand basic freedoms, Radio and Televisión Martí are providing audiences on the island with uncensored and reliable information on the demonstrations and the subsequent — and ongoing — government crackdown.
“Cubans deserve to know the truth about how their government has responded to last year’s protests,” said Director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting Sylvia Rosabal. “As the network of record, we are helping audiences on the island understand the severity of the government’s suppression — thousands of years of detention have been sentenced, just for speaking out.”
Puestos y Conectados, a new three-part web series, provides audiences with vivid and unfiltered information on what led to the nationwide demonstrations: increasing economic distress, the government’s tepid COVID-19 response, and the harsh crackdown on artists deemed critical of the government.
Using never-before-seen footage, almost 90 percent of which comes from cell phones, the series also provides a complete and detailed look at the developments of that day.
“Cubans on the island have limited options for information on the protests, what led up to them, and how the government has responded,” said Rosabal. “The government denies it, while international broadcasters cater to their audiences overseas. This leaves Cubans with unverified reports and rumors. Our journalists have sorted through thousands of hours of footage, and verified reports to provide our audiences with contextualized, reliable, and truthful information they can’t find anywhere else.”
Another video series, Madres del #11J, provides a unique and compelling look at the impact of the crackdown by speaking with families of some of the more than 550 people —20 of whom are minors—sentenced to jail time for their participation in the demonstration.
In addition to the special programming and several new podcast episodes, Radio and Televisión Martí has developed an interactive map geolocating reports, photos, and footage from demonstrations in more than 50 cities across the country.
The Martís’ coverage on the July 11 anniversary will include reports from independent journalists on the island, expert analysis, responses from multiple U.S. government representatives, and reaction from the Cuban diaspora — including planned demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and various locations in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, and elsewhere.
Last year, despite disruptions to social media platforms in Cuba, the network saw a more than 320 percent increase in Facebook content consumption, and the network is bracing for additional government censorship attempts. In addition to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram content, Radio Martí will broadcast continuing coverage of the anniversary via short and medium wave radio to the island. This multi-platform approach will help audiences access the information in spite of any internet blockages imposed by the government.
The Office of Cuba Broadcasting oversees Radio and Television Martí at its headquarters in Miami, Florida. The Martís are a multimedia hub of news, information and analysis that provide the people of Cuba with interactive programs seven days a week through satellite television and shortwave and AM radio, as well as through flash drives, emails, DVDs, and SMS text. Combined with the online platform, martinoticias.com, the Martís are a one-of-a-kind service that brings unbiased, objective information to all Cubans.
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