May 20, 1985: Ronald Reagan was president. Madonna was topping the charts. And Radio Martí went on the air.
The Miami-based, federally-funded station began beaming Spanish-language news and entertainment into communist Cuba 30 years ago today. It was a sort of tropical version of Radio Free Europe — a Cold War effort to transmit information beyond the control of the island's totalitarian Castro regime.
But three decades later —– and especially as the U.S. and Cuba now normalize relations — do enough of the 11 million people on that island tune in to Radio Martí and TV Martí to justify their current, combined $27 million budget?
It's a question few people in Washington or Miami were asking when the pro-democracy project was launched.
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