DeFede

Radio Marti: Ethics in Exile

The highly educated and experienced Juffer said she found herself in the uncomfortable position of working with Antonio Rivera, Radio Marti's Miami-based director of field services. "Rivera only has a high school diploma from Cuba and one year's community college in Miami, and has no training or education to conduct research or surveys," she stated.

Additionally, she told investigators, "...Rivera is generally regarded by many at Radio Marti as Jorge Mas Canosa's 'right hand man.' Rivera frequently accompanies Mas Canosa, has an open telephone line to him, and although he is employed by Radio Marti to gather information and intelligence on happenings in Cuba and on Cuban emigres, he also regularly funnels such information and intelligence to Mas Canosa."

Although Rivera was not formally part of Juffer's audience-research department, she discovered in early 1990 that he had been conducting a survey on the effectiveness of TV Marti. Juffer stated in her affidavit: "In his April 2, 1990 survey report to Bonachea, Rivera reported that 'The survey show (sic) that the TV Marti signal has reached a very significant segment of Cuba (sic) population. It has been reported in twelve of Cuba fourteen provinces. Our potential audience could be close to 2,800,000 without interference at the present moment. Those living in areas suffering interference (about 2,153,154) are even able to watch during certain period (sic) of time.' Rivera provided 'statistics' in his report that led the reader to conclude that TV Marti could reach 55% of the National Cuban population without interference.

"Although USIA did not approve the survey results in that meeting, Mas Canosa and Rivera went to Capitol Hill and met with a number of Congressmen, called a press conference and released the results to the public," Juffer stated. "Mas Canosa's actions and Rivera's questionable data inspired Congressman John Dingell to call for a GAO investigation into the TV Marti survey results."

As a result of the controversy caused by Dingell's demand for an investigation, Juffer was finally asked by her superiors to review Rivera's findings. Her conclusion: "I found the survey data to be so flawed as to render the data to be meaningless."

When word leaked to the press and to Congress that Rivera's survey data was useless, Radio and TV Marti once again came under attack from critics. "As a result of the negative publicity surrounding Rivera's study, Bonachea came to me and asked me to organize a scientific and defendable survey on TV Marti viewership," Juffer recalled. "I did so, however, the political atmosphere on the Hill and in the country toward accepting any results regarding TV Marti had already been tainted by complete distrust due to Mas Canosa's premature move to distribute Rivera's faulty and grossly inflated data to the Hill and the public."

The results of Juffer's TV Marti survey were dramatically different from Rivera's, and they were not received well at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. "I believe that retaliation has been and continues to be taken against me as the Director of the Office of Audience Research for the Office of Cuba Broadcasting for having done my job," she stated. "Specifically, in December 1991 and April 1992, my office produced two Cuban audience surveys (conducted September-December 1991, and February-April 1992) which indicated that TV Marti had virtually no viewership and Radio Marti's listenership was declining."

Juffer recalled that for the first time in her career the quality of her work was questioned by her superiors: "To my surprise, Bonachea then instructed that the information from the surveys not be reported, printed or distributed to anyone inside or outside of USIA." She stated that two earlier reports she had issued, also showing a slide in Radio Marti's audience, were withheld from the public and from Congress. Taken together, these reports showed that from late 1989 to early 1992 Radio Marti's estimated audience in Cuba dropped from 95 percent of survey respondents to 71 percent. They also showed that TV Marti's audience was never more than two percent. "These surveys have, to my knowledge, been withheld for the past two and a half years," she stated, "and OCB management, I believe, has taken steps to conceal the results of the surveys."

Eventually Juffer's concerns were transformed to justifiable paranoia. "On or about January 21, 1994, when I went to use my 486 computer in USIA Research, I discovered that all the files pertaining to the 1993 Cuban audience survey project were gone," she stated in her affidavit. "On February 17, 1994, I discovered that an unknown individual had entered my office and sabotaged a second computer. More than one hundred files and directories related to the previous Cuba surveys were removed. Also removed were meeting notes and daily chronologies concerning the management of the Cuban surveys and contracting projects. USIA security investigated and determined that the deletion was 'no accident' and the files could only have been deleted 'purposefully.' I believe the reasons that the files were destroyed and my computers sabotaged was an attempt to ensure that the research data no longer existed and therefore would not raise questions concerning the effectiveness of TV/Radio Marti."

Soon after losing her files, Juffer lost her job as well, ostensibly as part of a "streamlining" effort to save money. But she claimed the cutback was a deliberate act to get rid of her and other members of her staff who refused to manipulate survey results. "I believe I was removed from my position," she declared in her affidavit, "so that Rivera could once again control and 'cook' the Cuban audience data, and once again mislead Congress."

Antonio Rivera remains chief of the Miami field research office for Radio and TV Marti.

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