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Calling Fidel

Two Miami talk show hosts managed to call Fidel Castro and chew him out on the air, before he hung up on them. They've been fined $4,000 by the FCC and plan to protest this by paying in pennies, so they're asking all their listeners to send in one cent.

Jane Sutton writes in worldtribune.com that Enrique Santos and Joe Ferrero, hosts of "The Morning Joker" show on Spanish-language radio station WXDJ-FM, plan to deliver 400,000 pennies in person to the Federal Communications Commission. Santos says, "We prank-called a head of state in a country that is considered hostile to the United States. He's a violator of human rights and they're fining us $4,000. We just find it absurd."

They phoned Cuba's foreign relations ministry and pretended to be aides to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is friendly with Castro. They said Chavez needed to speak to him urgently because he'd lost a suitcase full of sensitive documents. The call was transferred through several government officials and when Castro came on the line, the pranksters used recorded parts of a Chavez speech such as "Fidel" and "How are you?" to make it sound like Chavez was really on the line. Then they called Castro a killer and told him he was on a Miami radio show. Castro cursed them and hung up.

The FCC ruled last week that the station violated a regulation requiring that participants in phone conversations be told in advance if the call is being broadcast. Ferrero says, "The listeners are just outraged. We're asking people to just go through their drawers and cars for any old pennies and drop them off."

The CIA thinks Castro may have something to do with West Nile disease. But what are WE doing with a germ lab in the middle of long island?

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