By SALVADOR CAPOTE*
“In those 194 days, El Nuevo Herald published 806 articles, and The Miami Herald 305 – a total of 1,111 items, which could adversely impact the judicial process, an average of more than five per day, without a single objective article included.”
IN DADE COUNTY in Miami it pours, but I’m not referring to the rain but the endless deluge of corruption scandals that follow one after the other and intertwine seamlessly. One glaring transcendent budding and begin political involvement occurs when on the 26th of October, bound by a court order from the Federal Court of the District of Columbia, the U.S. State Department must begin to publish all documents relating to the illegal payment agencies federal 44 journalists in Miami during a period ranging from the arrest of the Five in 1998 until their conviction in 2001 (1).
The mercenary nature of many journalists from South Florida has been known for a long time, but the first evidence was published in September 2006 by Oscar Corral the columnist for the Miami Herald (2).
The federal documents obtained by this newspaper revealed that at least ten local journalists had accepted money from the U.S. government as payment for programs in official stations Radio and TV Marti: Wilfredo Cancio Isla, Pablo Alfonso, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Juan Manuel Cao and Ninoska Pérez Castellón, among others.
The illicit payments to the local journalists made by the U.S. Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which is responsible for Radio and TV Marti, and by other federal agencies violated the congressional ban using federal funds to fund covert propaganda within the territory of the United States. They were not only illegal but immoral when the same government that was prosecuting the Five was at the same time paying journalists to create a media atmosphere suitable to their conviction.
In September 2009, the U.S. Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (American Association for Social Justice), on behalf of the U.S. National Committee to Free the Cuban Five) filed a lawsuit in District Court Columbia against the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Directors (Board of Directors of the transmissions) due to its suspicious and unlawful refusal to publicly reveal government funding to the journalists.
The demand was another step in the difficult road to obtaining documentary evidence of the dual role played by the government as prosecutor and as a media manipulator, in a trial in which the jury was not isolated and therefore was under the influence and pressure of a hostile environment saturated with false information about Cuba and about the Five.
On December 2, 2009 I published a study (3) that I had made about the behaviour of two Miami press organs in the period between 27 November 2000 and June 8, 2001, which corresponds to the time elapsed since the start of the trial of the Five, until they were found guilty by the jury .
In those 194 days, El Nuevo Herald published 806 articles, and The Miami Herald 305 – a total of 1,111 items, which could adversely impact the judicial process, an average of more than five per day, without a single article for it.
If the results obtained with these two newspapers can be extrapolated to other organs of the press, radio and television, equally and with the same fury, they contributed to the atmosphere of hate in Miami that is dominated politically and economically by a right-wing viscerally the enemy of the Cuban Revolution, we can imagine the incredible negative media saturation that accompanied the Five in a trial that should never be held in that city.
Wilfredo Cancio Isla, one of the journalists initially exposed by Corral, had published in El Nuevo Herald in the aforementioned period 123 inflammatory articles. In their mercenary enthusiasm, three were even published on the same day (January 19, 2001). Some of the items deserve Cancio an entry into anthology of infamy, like the one published on June 4, 2001, four days before the jury announced its verdict, with the obvious intent to influence it, and titled “Cuba used hallucinogens to train spies.”
Cancio tried to explain the courage and ideological firmness of Gerardo, Ramón, Fernando, Antonio and René, with delusional accusation that the Cuban government used hypnosis and hallucinogenic techniques to modify the behaviour of the Five and control their minds a long distance.
Patiently, year after year, the U.S. National Committee to Free the Five Cubans, with the support of legal civil rights organization Partnership for Civil Justice Fund and the newspaper Liberation, unfolded a legal battle through requests based on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA by its acronym in English) – a federal law that allows one to solicit information from the about their actions – for federal agencies to release documents showing the secret collusion between the government and the Miami media.
The law requires these agencies to release the documents provided they are not classified. Gradually they have been obtaining vital evidence for appeals currently taking place. More than 2,200 pages of contracts between the government and journalists acting as mercenaries are now evident in the archives of the newspaper Liberation (4).
However, it is suspected the bulk of illegal contracts between the government and journalists in Miami and also committed to the media and institutions to which they belong has not yet been exposed to the light of day. This is the extraordinarily important failure of the District of Columbia Court.
The State Department must submit all documents in his possession relating to the payment for federal agencies to 44 journalists from Miami, and will have to do it between October 26, 2013 and March 31, 2014, starting at the first of these dates. The information obtained can be critical for getting the courts to declare a mistrial of Five and therefore of their sentences.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has been in force since 1967 but underwent substantial changes since 1982. Several amendments and executive orders have turned and mired applications into slow process, which is difficult and costly. To maintain a face of justice, to release such documents, the government still, at least theoretically, allows some maneuverability.
The U.S. state can even, according to a 2009 Executive Order of President Barack Obama, retroactively reclassify documents. It is not likely to do so as it would have no justification for turning simple employment contracts with journalists into state secrets. Who much is because much hides ranks, so that in this case, a reclassification of documents would be a proof of the government’s misconduct and have a political cost that I do not think the Obama administration is willing to pay.
The defence of the Cuban Five has won a huge victory, but there is certainly much that we have yet to achieve. But there is also much we can do, as explained by the comrade Ricardo Alarcon (5). Every fragment of truth which will get increasingly evident injustice committed against the Five, but this truth continues to plow ahead only if accompanied by a strong and growing global movement of solidarity.
(1) Andres Gomez: “Decisive federal court ruling in the case of the Five,” Review of the Day, Radio Miami, October 4, 2013.
(2) Oscar Corral: “10 Miami Journalists Take U.S. Pay”, The Miami Herald, Sept.. 8, 2006.
(3) Salvador Capote: “The Five and covert propaganda” CubaDebate, December 2. 2009.
(4) Gloria La Riva and Benjamin Becker: “Putting bare the propaganda operation funded by the Government in Miami,” National Committee to Free the Cuban Five.
(5) Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada, “What else can we do?, Words act Day Five Five days in thePolytechnic Institute” Jose Antonio Echeverria”, Havana, June 4, 2013.
Edited by Tony Seed from a Google translation from the original Spanish and reposted from Raúl Antonio Capote’s blog, visit http://eladversariocubano.wordpress.com/
Related articles on this website
“U.S. ordered to disclose payments to reporters covering the Cuban Five case,” September 22, 2013, tonyseed.wordpress.com
“Subversion: U.S. government aims to form team of ‘journalists’ inside Cuba,” December 4, 2012, tonyseed.wordpress.com
“Case of the Cuban Five: A challenge to journalism,” September 23, 2012, https://tonyseed.wordpress.com
“U.S. government-funded disinformation operation in Miami exposed – Part 1,” Gloria La Riva and Benjamin Becker, May 11, 2011, tonyseed.wordpress.com
U.S. government-funded disinformation operation in Miami exposed – Part 2,” May 11, 2011, tonyseed.wordpress.com
See also the website http://www.reportersforhire.org