Across the waves
The following thesis studies the history of U.S. radio propaganda directed towards Cuba throughout three decades of the Cold War by using primary source material from two archival collections, a plethora of government documents, and newspaper articles from The New York Times and The Miami Herald. This thesis bridges three decades of the Cold War and offers analysis on the changing circumstances, ideology, and opinions about the U.S. Cold War radio propaganda to Cuba. Readers will gain further clarification and understanding about the intersection of foreign policy, media, democracy, and how Cold War policies have affected contemporary foreign policy. Chapter One details the creation of the Voice of America, a U.S. government-sponsored radio station, and examines how the U.S. government utilized a private corporation, America's Productions, Incorporated, to broadcast ideologically charged radio programming to Cuba and the rest of Latin America. Chapter Two investigates the changing cultural Cold War landscape of the 1970s and the tug-of-war between so-called hawks and doves. The chapter illustrates how the futures of Voice of America and U.S.-Cuba relations acted as a litmus test for policymakers, journalists, and government employees to signal where they stood within the new Cold War paradigm. Chapter Three explores the Reagan presidency, changing U.S.-Cuba relations, and the creation of Radio Martí. More specifically, this chapter argues that though Radio Martí was marketed as a free and fair journalistic source, Radio Martí programming was carefully curated to foment dissent and an uprising within the Cuban population. This thesis probes the larger trilemma of democracy, free media, and government-sponsored radio broadcasting and offers historical context into contemporary U.S.-Cuban relations.