CUBA

Fire at Radio Martí headquarters did not interrupt transmissions

 

jtamayo@ElNuevoHerald.com

A garbage can fire outside Radio and TV Martí’s headquarters in Miami caused some programming and staff scheduling changes but the U.S. government broadcaster did not interrupt its transmissions, officials said.

Carlos A, Garcia-Perez, director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which oversees the two stations, said the broadcasters were at 50 to 75 percent of normal operations Monday and should be back to total normalcy on Tuesday.

The fire started Sunday in a garbage can in a smoking area outside the building, Garcia-Perez said. But the heat broke a window, which allowed smoke to pour into the offices and set off emergency sprinklers.

There was no indication the fire was anything but an accident, the director added.

Control of the stations’ operations was quickly switched to Washington, where the government’s Voice of America radio broadcaster has its headquarters, and there was no interruption of the Martí signals, he added.

Some staffers were asked to stay home Monday because there was no cleared space for them to work in, Garcia-Perez told El Nuevo Herald in a brief phone interview.

Radio Martí was created in 1983 to broadcast information to Cuba and break the communist government’s monopoly on the news media, and now broadcasts 24 hours a day. TV Marti followed in 1991.

The Cuban government jams both the TV and radio signals. The TV signal is almost impossible to see in Cuba, but the radio signal can be heard, especially outside Havana.

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