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Miami Radio Listeners Find the Joke is on Castro - 2003-06-18

For the second time this year, a Miami radio station has made a crank call to a head of state, in this case, claiming it reached Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

It was meant as a joke, but Fidel Castro was in no laughing mood when informed he had been duped. The Cuban leader launched into an expletive-laden tirade that was broadcast live on a Miami Spanish-language radio station to the delight of anti-Castro Cuban exiles.

The call lasted about 20 minutes. First, a presenter posing as an aide to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a self-proclaimed admirer of Mr. Castro, was passed from switchboard to switchboard until the Cuban leader came on the line. Then, using a collection of recorded phrases actually spoken by the Venezuelan president, the radio station led Mr. Castro to believe he was actually speaking with his Venezuelan counterpart.

At first, Mr. Castro complains that he is having difficulty hearing the supposed Hugo Chavez. Then, Fidel Castro is asked if he will help find a suitcase full of sensitive documents that supposedly disappeared during a recent trip both leaders made to Argentina. Mr. Castro agrees to the request.

What follows next is a furious exchange. Using highly vulgar terms, the presenter asks if the Cuban leader also agrees with everything that is occurring on the island, and tells him that he fell for a prank. Mr. Castro asks "what prank?", and is informed that he is on the air in Miami.

Fidel Castro calls the presenter vulgar names and insults his mother.

This is the second time the presenter, nicknamed the "Morning Joker," has successfully impersonated one head of state to reach another. Earlier this year, the presenter posed as Fidel Castro in order to reach Hugo Chavez, prompting a similarly angry response.