A VOA Snapshot - Part of VOA's 60th Anniversary Year Coverage
When the Voice of America began broadcasting 60 years ago, many totalitarian regimes felt threatened. Over the years, they have applied various means of suppressing our broadcasts from jamming our radio waves, to intimidating our reporters and listeners. Some countries have even made it illegal to listen to VOA.
Klara Cvitanovic grew up in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik in the 1950s when it was part of communist ruled Yugoslavia. She said, "They would close the windows, they would close the door and listen to Voice of America. We used to have a big radio in my house and we would have quite a few of my dad's friends come over and listen to Voice of America. And they didn't want anybody to know that they were listening to Voice of America."
Klara says that as a young girl, she wasn't interested in politics, but VOA gave her a window to the world. "It was a link to everything that in that youngster's eye was great and nice," she said.
Klara Cvitanovic managed to get a visa to come to the United States in 1958.
Her family continued to listen to VOA back home, and a decade later, her father was arrested for listening to VOA's reports about the six-day war in the Middle East. "He was very worried," she said, "because he was arrested for four days, kept under surveillance, he couldn't go anywhere freely."
Her father's brush with the police ended without further trouble. Today, Klara Cvitanovic lives in New Orleans and runs a successful travel business. But she says she might never have come to this country if not for those secret listening sessions back home.
Snapshots will contine throughout our 60th anniversary year, here at VOANews.com.
To write to us about our anniversary, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, send regular mail to Anniversary, VOA News Now, Washington, D.C. 20237, USA.