Former Director of Radio Martí Dies

Castro ally-turned foe Ernesto Betancourt was 83
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Ernesto Betancourt, a former director of Radio Martí, died at age 83. The Washington Post reported his death in Bethesda, Md. this week.

Betancourt was born in Cuba and held a position in Fidel Castro’s government in 1959 after dictator Fulgencio Batista fled the country; but he “became disenchanted” with Castro and led a decades-long campaign against him, according to the account.

Betancourt joined the U. S. government-backed Radio Martí as director shortly after it went on the air in 1985. The service is named for Cuban independence seeker José Martí. Betancourt remained director until 1990. He later hosted a biweekly program on the service and then became an independent public administration consultant who worked on projects with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank. He retired in 2006.

Prior to the Radio Martí job Betancourt worked at the Organization of American States, the economic development grouping made up of predominantly of Latin American countries, as director of budget and finance and director of organizational development.

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