February 25, 2014

A little propaganda from Cuba

By W5CWT - It's not every day that you find revolutionary propaganda from a communist country in your mailbox. But hey, last Friday must have been a special day.

Anyone who works 20-meter PSK knows Cuban station are a common site on the waterfall. I've worked several of them. Last Friday I received my first QSL card from one of those Cuban stations, CO2WL. It was sent direct in what appears to be a special self-folded envelope designed specifically for QSL card.

The outside of the envelope contains the phrase, "Federation of Radio Amateurs of Cuba" in Spanish. Also according to the envelope, the Cuban government has passed a resolution approving a special postage rate for QSL cards: 5-cents (actually, not a bad idea).

It's on the card itself, that things become more interesting. One side is a normal QSL card with the contact data and station information. However, the reserve is clearly a propaganda billboard for Cuban authorities.

The back side contains the faces of five men and and explanation translated (poorly) into English -- in fact, the only English on the entire card. "Cuba claims the liberation of the hero (sic) who are prisioners (sic) unjustly in the American empire jails." It also includes a website where more information about the men (from a strictly Cuban perspective) is posted.

A little more researched turned up that the men are the "Cuban 5". A group of spies that the Cuban government admits it sent to Miami in the early 1990s. Cubs says they were sent to spy on anti-Cuban groups in Miami. The U.S. says they were spying on the government and convicted them of that in a federal trial. (Full Wikipedia Article) Apparently, the controversy didn't stop with the trail and that may be one reason why ham radio has been hijacked with a propaganda campaign.