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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 22:55 GMT 23:55 UK
US 'paid anti-Cuba journalists'
A reader of Miami's El Nuevo Herald
El Nuevo Herald said trust had been violated
At least 10 Florida-based journalists were paid by the US government to contribute to anti-Cuba propaganda broadcasts, the Miami Herald says.

Three writers have been sacked by the Miami Herald newspaper group for an alleged conflict of interest.

One was paid $175,000 (98,000) for hosting shows on the US-funded channels TV and Radio Marti, the paper says.

The channels are broadcast to Cuba but their programmes cannot be transmitted in the US under anti-propaganda laws.

Pablo Alfonso, who writes an opinion column for El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language sister paper of the Miami Herald, was paid almost $175,000 to present TV and radio programmes.

There is nothing suspect in this. I would do it for free
Juan Manuel Cao,
Journalist

The paper's reporter Wilfredo Cancio Isla was paid $15,000 and freelancer Olga Connor $71,000.

All were sacked by the Herald.

None made any comment.

Jesus Diaz Jr, president of Miami Herald Media, said the payments violated a ''sacred trust'' between journalists and the public.

''Even the appearance that your objectivity or integrity might have been impaired is something we can't condone, not in our business,'' he said.

Castro row

The Cuban government has long alleged that journalists writing on US-Cuban politics were in the pay of the US government.

In July a row erupted in Argentina between Cuban President Fidel Castro and Juan Manuel Cao, a reporter for Miami's Spanish-language Channel 41.

Mr Cao put Mr Castro on the spot and the president replied by asking if anyone was paying him to ask that question.

Mr Cao has now admitted being paid by the US government, the Herald reports.

''There is nothing suspect in this,'' he said. "I would do it for free. But the regulations don't allow it. I charge symbolically, below market prices.''


SEE ALSO
US renews offer on Cuba embargo
24 Aug 06 |  Americas
US court upholds Cuban spy trial
10 Aug 06 |  Americas
Bush calls for democracy in Cuba
04 Aug 06 |  Americas
Fidel: The world icon
07 Aug 06 |  Americas
Cuba 'blocking' American messages
26 Jan 06 |  Americas

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