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Scrambled Signals

May 18, 1986|Donna Rosenthal

Ted Turner reportedly planned to surprise Cuban leader Fidel Castro with a special gift--a decoder box--so that his amigo in Havana could continue watching CNN after it starts scrambling its signals July 1.

But Turner's just been informed by a government agency that it's illegal to send a consumer decoder out of the country, according to Arthur Sando, Turner Broadcasting veep. So no more 24-hour news or U.S. baseball scores for Castro via his private satellite dish.

Sando said the the mogul and the dictator became friends when Castro invited Turner for a personal visit in 1982. Turner even got Castro to appear in a CNN promo (speaking in Spanish, translated by an interpreter) telling viewers how much he enjoys watching CNN. But CNN executives convinced their boss it would only hurt ratings. So it was canned.

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