HAVANA (Reuters) – The United States has turned off a news ticker at its diplomatic mission in Havana that long had irritated the Cuban government, the U.S. State Department said on Monday, in another sign of efforts to improve relations with Cuba.
The five-foot-high (1.5-meter) news ticker ran across 25 windows on the outside of the fifth floor of the U.S. diplomatic mission’s building on Havana’s busy seaside Malecon drive. It streamed news, political statements and messages blaming Cuba’s problems on the country’s communist system and socialist economy.
The ticker infuriated Cuban President Fidel Castro when it was turned on by former U.S. President George W. Bush’s administration in 2006. President Raul Castro took over from ailing elder brother Fidel last year.
After the United States launched the ticker, Cuba erected obstructions so it could not be seen and put up anti-U.S. billboards. Cuba took down those billboards earlier this year.
State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters in Washington that the news ticker was turned off in June.