The Times Square-style giant ticker that scrolled news and messages to the Cuban people along the side of the U.S. Interests Section building in Havana died not with a bang but with a whimper, and Fidel Castro won the round. Or so it might seem at first glance.
Launched in January 2006, what become known to some as the "freedom ticker" reminded the Cuban people in five-foot high letters that another world existed outside the country. The ticker brought the latest news from the rest of the world, and the messages included quotes from Martin Luther King Jr., the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Eastern European anti-Communist heroes like Lech Walesa.
What was most remarkable about the ticker was just how much it upset Cuba's then dictator, Fidel Castro.