In 2004 a popular Miami radio station pranked called the Cuban president Fidel Castro. You would have thought there would have been no way they were able to get him on the line, but with some clever talking they made it through. In the end, the radio station was fined over $4,000 for the broadcast, as contacting Cuba is against US communication regulations.
It was the hosts of The Morning High Jinks which was a show on WXDJ-FM who played the prank, and they actually did it by editing tapes of ex-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. By pretending to be Chavez they actually got through to Mr. Castro himself. After a small and brief conversation, the hosts who speak fluent Spanish broke the conversation and revealed the prank. At this point, they called Mr. Castro a killer, and this prompted a whole tirade of abuse from Castro.
The actual fine that came down from the US Communication Regulators had to do with not notifying Chavez 30 days in advance before his recorded voice would be used. However, this first fine was thrown out of court by the Federal Communications Commission who advised that notification had nothing to do with this prank, they felt the radio station’s actions to fool the recipient of the call was the issue at hand. And that the residence or political status of the target caller was irrelevant.
It was DJs Joe Ferrero and Enrique Santos who managed to get through to Castro, but the incredible thing is, this is a regular occurrence for these DJs. Just six months earlier, that had been able to get in touch with Chavez by pretending to be Castro. Simply because the friendship between Chavez and Castro is well know, though, you have to wonder how these Miami DJs are getting the official phone numbers. Apparently, their sources for the prank and how they retrieve government phone numbers are of course remaining confidential.
Miami is a well-placed city to act out these sorts of pranks on air, as they have a huge expatriate Cuban population. And many of these communities are viciously anti-Castro due to them fleeing the country after being oppressed or tortured.