Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Open Letter to Rosaio Marchese of Canada on Calling Cuba

norman richmond

April 17, 2012

Honorable Rosaio Marchese
Trinity-Spadina, NDP
Room 116, Main Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A5

An Open Letter to Rosaio Marchese

I am journalist who for over three decades has served the GTA by working in community radio. My efforts have earned me the Toronto Arts Award. One of the most vital aspects of work is exposing my listeners to "alternative" reporting and commentary.

Dr. Gerald Horne, a world renowned scholar, has been a regular on my show Saturday Morning Live. Ten years ago, he began with us on CKLN-FM 88.1 and stayed with SML after we moved to in January of this year. Dr. Horne has spoken to us from Zanzibar, India, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Guyana, St.Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica and beyond. Saturday April 7th was the first time that we had a problem. He was in Cuba.

I had spoke to Professor Rupert Lewis, an expert on Marcus Garvey and the author of Walter Rodney’s Intellectual and Political Thought only the week before for a whole hour – no problem. I even had enough left on the card to make other international calls.

I purchased several calling cards. They ranged from $2.50 to a $10. In the past, I'd used these cards to call Africa, Europe or the Caribbean for at least the hour I needed. Yet with Cuba, the best deal I could get was $10 for 10 minutes. For 14 minutes I would have to cough up $20. I was not able conduct my interview with Dr. Horne. My listeners have expressed their disappointment; and it is on their behalf that I write to you.

The communication cost is exceptional and seemingly punitive. As Canada is one of Cuba's most important trade partners I do not understand why such barriers would exist. As a long-time NDP supporter, I would like further clarification on this matter and am interesting in finding out what the party might do to assist in ensuring that international communication is accessible.

Sincerely Yours,

Norman (Otis) Richmond aka Jalali

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