Cuban Exile Raises $12,000 to Replace Billboard in Miami

The billboard advertised phone recharges to Cuba, but it was removed after pressure from government opponents in Miami. Collage: 14ymedio

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES – The new billboard will state: “Cuban exiles must be respected!” It had briefly housed an advertising message from the Cuban state telecommunications monopoly Etecsa announcing its telephone recharges. “We don’t want more communist propaganda,” concludes the new text that its promoters want to put on the edge of the Palmetto highway when they get the funds to pay for the space.

The above advertising poster was removed on July 14, after a campaign on social networks in which the advertising content placed on one of the busiest highways in Hialeah, where a population mostly of Cuban origin lives, was described as an “insult.”

After the rejection of the community, activist José Alberto García called for fundraising in Miami-Dade County to place the new ad for one month at a cost of more than $11,000. “The initiative is for Cuban exiles to unite and in this way give an answer to the front men of the Cuban dictatorship and let them know that we are here, and we are going to put up our anti-communist billboard,” García told Telemundo 51.

On the billboard that was removed, one could see the actress Tahimi Alvariño, the advertising face of the Katapulk company, which sells food and toiletries for emigrants to buy for their relatives on the island, in addition to telephone recharges from Etecsa, the Cuban State telecommunications monopoly.

“For me it was a mockery of exiles and so many people who have sacrificed themselves and fled that dictatorship. Don’t let them come and put a sign in our face and stand idly by. That’s not going to be allowed,” García said.

Proposal to replace the advertising space that advertised telephone recharges with the Etecsa logo in Miami. (Screenshot Telemundo 51/Capture)

Other phrases that will be put on the new billboard, for which more than $12,000 has already been raised, will be: “Down with the dictatorship. Homeland and Freedom” along with the hashtags #CubaPaLaCalle [Cuba[ns] into the Street] and #LibertadParaLosPresosPolíticos [Freedom for the Political Prisoners].

Cuban-American businessman Hugo Cancio, owner of Katapulk and one of the island’s emigrants who maintains closer commercial ties with the Havana regime, then responded to the controversy in a written statement sent to Telemundo, in which he stressed that Etecsa is not sanctioned by the U.S. Government: “This is an activity authorized by the regulations of OFAC (the U.S. Treasury office in charge of applying the embargo).”

“Etecsa is the telecommunications company in Cuba where all Cubans inside and outside the island process their recharges and buy their data packages for the use of the Internet and other services,” he said, adding that his company did not want to “cause attention or controversy… We decided to offer this much-needed service to our customers and, being new, we wanted to give legitimacy to this management.”

Katapulk belongs to Fuego Enterprises Inc., a company founded by Cancio on December 30, 2004 in Miami. Last year it was one of the entities authorized by the Cuban Government for registration in the registry of foreign companies that do business with the island.

Translated by Regina Anavy for 

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times

5 thoughts on “Cuban Exile Raises $12,000 to Replace Billboard in Miami

  • I wonder what compromises the Cuban-American businessman Hugo Cancio had to make with the Castro dictatorship in order to do business in Cuba?

  • Nick, Yes I agree with you the religious fundamentalist Christian are out of control trying to control the majorities and trying though the courts and other tricks. Just like the fundamentalist from the Islam. Those who sent homosexuals to death and oppress women this muslins fundamentalist who make death threats to stores who sell alcohol in some neighborhoods in London and throw acid in Europeans cities to woman that dress provocative and transgender women. Nick, at least that poor 10 years old victim had the freedom to go to a neighboring state and have an abortion fundamentalist sucks.
    Curt the extremist exile like you referred to me and everyone that is opposing the crimes of the Cuban dictatorship we won’t stop neither the dictatorship oppression 1,600 Cubans in jail with sentences of 10,15,20 years for asking for freedom is what won’t let us to stop it’s simply a reaction of the actions of the mist bloody and longer dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere.

  • Olga manages to mention ‘land of the free’ in a non ironic way.
    This month the Ohio authorities tried to force a 10 year old rape victim to carry the pregnancy to full term and give birth to the rapist’s child.
    The 10 year old had to flee to the State of Indiana to have the pregnancy terminated.
    The doctor who carried out the termination is now being abused and receiving threats. This comes from the religious fundamentalists who are restricting basic freedoms with the pretext that they are doing so on behalf of a supernatural supreme ruler.
    In the USA a minority of extremist ‘religious’ zealots are restricting the basic freedoms of the majority.
    In Cuba, if a 10 year old girl falls pregnant after being the victim of rape, she has a termination. No question about it. There are no religious extremists in Cuba forcing 10 year old rape victims to a further 9 months of suffering and then giving birth to the rapist’s child.
    I’m not suggesting that Cuba is freer than the USA in a general sense.
    But it is freer when it comes to 10 year old rape victims.
    The word ‘free’ can refer to many different things.

  • These hardline extremist Miami Cubans will stop at nothing.

  • Good for the exile. No more communist Cuba dictatorship propaganda in the land of the free.
    It’s already a shame that the Cubans in exile how to pay for their’s kidnapped families back home bills because nobody in Cuba with a decent job can survive needless to say pay for a phone bill

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