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Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Office of Transmissions to Cuba has a new director

Por Kvothe

The former mayor of Miami, Tomás Regalado, was named on Tuesday as the new director of the Office of Transmissions to Cuba (OCB), which oversees the Radio and TV Martí stations. "My first day of work was yesterday and today (Wednesday) a public oath will be held", Regalado told El Nuevo Herald.

The former mayor said he has very clear ideas about what he wants to do in front of the stations, created to bring information to Cubans. On that regard, Regalado declared that he wanted TV Martí to be the main source of communication for the people of Cuba. The new director of the OCB said that among its objectives are to increase the penetration of stations on the island, improve the coverage of breaking news and modernize radio programming.

Regalado is a veteran journalist who was mayor of the city of Miami between 2009 and 2017. Before accepting the address of the OCB, he led the program At noon with Tomás Regalado, on radio Caracol. "I applaud the administration of President Trump for choosing Tomás Regalado as director of the OCB", said the Cuban-American senator from Florida, Marco Rubio. "I have known Tomás for many years and I have no doubt that the role of TV / Radio Martí, in guaranteeing that the Cuban people have access to information without censorship, will grow under his leadership. I hope to work with him to directly empower the people in Cuba", he said in a statement.

The senator had recommended Regalado for the position. His appointment could put an end to the instability in the direction of the OCB in recent years. Regalado will take the reins of the Martí stations after the controversial departure of interim director André Mendes, who despite having received the support of Cuban employees and exiles, resigned involved in internal conflicts in the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) (the federal agency which belongs to the OCB and other stations such as the Voice of America), and allegations of alleged plots to push the BBG to report favorably on the Donald Trump government.

Previously, the director Malule González had also resigned in June 2017 due to health problems and in the midst of a campaign of Cuban exiles and dissidents, who accused her of continuing to represent the policy of greater closeness to Cuba of the previous administration of Barack Obama.

Employees of the stations who requested anonymity said they were worried about possible conflicts of interest that could arise because Tomás Regaldo, son of the former mayor of the same name, works at the stations. "I have been in the government and I understand what the laws of nepotism are, the ethical conflicts", said the former mayor.

Regalado said that in Martí stations, "there are marriages, there are parents and children" and the comments about a possible conflict of interest are "an excuse for people who may not want me to be there."

The BBG did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.