Jose Marti Would be Ashamed

Not long ago, El Nuevo Herald, the nation's self-proclaimed "best Spanish language newspaper," took a whack from the national press when it was reported that El Nuevo employees were moonlighting for government-sponsored Radio Marti.

Embarrassment followed. Miami Herald publisher Jesus Diaz fired the moonlighters, then resigned in protest after they were reinstated.

So you'd think the paper would be particularly smart in its coverage of Radio and TV Marti.

Not so.

The English language Herald's front page this morning was dominated by two shocking stories about the Martis. One, by business writer Christina Hoag, reported that programming from the station — created as international propaganda — would be shown locally under a loophole in federal law. A second, by the brilliant Oscar Corral, probed cronyism at the Martis — hiring of two senior execs with no media experience for six-figure jobs; one of them director Pedro Roig's wife's nephew.

Corral also reported the Martis' hiring of convicted felon and pollster Jorge de Cardenas. And he noted that the station's overseers haven't met for six years despite repeated scandals there.

You'd never have known it by reading El Nuevo Herald. The paper published a front page, above-the-fold story headlined "TV Marti usa una nueva via para llegar a Cuba." Staff writer Rui Ferreira included some of the same information used in Hoag's story — toward the bottom it noted the local transmission — but ignored the implications — that propaganda meant for a foreign market would be aired locally.

Worse, the newspaper reported none of Corral's findings — even though the two newspapers regularly share each others' stories. Nor did it note that some of its employees and freelancers are paid by the Martis.

"This is outrageous, the worst," says Cuban activist Bernardo Benes. "Instead of being a little more responsive to the community, they continue to play the same game of pandering to the right."

Neither editor Humberto Castell� nor his deputy, Gloria Leal, were available for comment. -Chuck Strouse

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse