And now…Cao

Juan Manuel Cao is a reporter for Miami Channel 41. He was one of the journalists named in the now infamous Oscar Corral smear piece about journalists that moonlight at Radio and TV Martí. He wrote a letter that was published in today’s El Nuevo Herald, but (no surprise) not in the Miami Herald. It’s obvious that The Miami Herald is determined to minimize as much as possible the rebuttals to their shoddy reporting. It’s equally obvious that there’s something going on between the two papers.

So for the benefit those that don’t hablar el Español, here is Cao’s letter in English.

A matter of freedom

The article signed by Mr. Oscar Corral in this newspaper, “Conflict of interests revealed in payments to local journalists” [El Nuevo Herald, September 8th], suggests that I asked Fidel Castro about Hilda Molina, not because I was interested in the answer but because they paid me to do it. In my opinion the article tries to show that Castro was right when he accused to me of being a mercenary in Argentina. That is false.

When I lived in Cuba and was 20 years old they jailed me because I wrote a critique of Castrism. Who paid to me then? Nobody. Quite the opposite: I gambled and lost, my career, my work and my future on the island. I chose to be free and I paid for it with three horrendous years in jail.

In exile also I chose to be free. About 14 years ago I was offered a correspondent position at a national television network. They offered me an $80,000 annual wage, plus trips and benefits. But there was a small condition: I had to refer to the dictator of my country as ”the Cuban president”. I rejected the generous offer. Again I chose to be free and to defend my moral obligation.

During the thirteen years that I worked as local reporter, I was subjected to all types of pressures to leave the subject of Cuba alone. I survived thanks to the valiant support of Jose Cancela and Luis Fernandez Rocha, my first two managers at the station for which I worked. Roberto Vizcón, the best director I dealt with during that time, always said to me: ”Cao, if we forget Cuba a little, we would earn triple in other markets”. He was right.

Hardly eight months ago I lost a job that paid $110,000 and substantial benefits, primarily due to my differences of opinion with the new station management about the coverage of Cuba. They looked for a good excuse and goodbye. The people of Miami did not believe them and protested in front of their facilities. The details were published in this very same Herald.

As you see, my motivation in the life is not money. My motivation is Cuba and its freedom. Cuba and my freedom of expression. I am proud to collaborate with TV Martí in trying to break Castro’s censorship. I could earn much more than the miserable $11,000 that you now throw in my face, but I’d help my people for less. The cause of Cuba does not earn me money, it costs me money. I sincerely request that you publish this explanation because many of the readers of this newspaper may also be my viewers.

And one last detail. All of Fidel Castro’s accusations against my dignity are a weak justification to not respond the simple question that I asked to him in Argentina.

Why doesn’t he release doctor Hilda Molina?

I continue waiting for the answer.

Juan Manuel Cao

11 thoughts on “And now…Cao”

  1. And hell will freeze over before he gets an answer. Superb response. Isn’t it delicious that the fired reporters have more class and dignity and principles in one of their little fingers than the entire Herald organization combined. I am so proud of them.

  2. The more I read about this Heraldgate, the more pissed off I get. The arrogance exhibited by the “holier than thou” Fiedler, Diaz, etc makes me want to puke. I hope they notice a significant drop in their business which is what all their ethics bullshit is really about.

  3. As Mami and Abuela always said, that was a bofetada sin mano if I ever saw one. For the non-Spanish speakers, it translates to a “slap across the face without using your hand”.

    What a fucking GREAT answer to the idiots of HeraldGate.

  4. The people that protest against CAO and the other persecuted journalists, are nothing but the lowest WORMS, SNAKES, and RATS – who I would, at the snap of my fingers, instantly flash them into the dungeon of Cuba.

  5. Why is Carlos Alberto Montaner still on the Herald’s Board of Contributors after the Herald dragged him into this incident?
    Ernesto Betancourt publicly stated that he would not write for the Herald again. Montaner should immediately cancel selling his weekly column to the Herald in solidarity with those who are outraged at the Herald’s yellow journalism.
    Along with Montaner on the Board of Contributors is FIU Professor Marifeli Perez-Stable, who has been accused by Captain Jesus Perez Mendez, a DGI defector, of being “controlled by the DGI.” See the allegations here:
    For Montaner this will be a decision that many people will not forgive or forget.

  6. Clue stick to the Miami Herald:

    The price of a bureau in an unfree nation, which is doubtlessly desired in order to be able to report more news, is taking orders from dictators who like to do nothing more than suppress the news that comes from their nation.

    Havana doesn’t want more news. They want another propaganda outlet. Speaking of journalistic ethics, what do they say about willingly being used as a propaganda outlet?

  7. De La Cova,

    I don’t see how depriving the Herald’s readers of Montaner’s opinion helps anything. The fact is the Herald already limits its Cuba coverage (the kind that we would consider useful) and removing an intelligent advocate from the mix would only serve to give an even more one-sided view to the Herald’s readers.

  8. I agree with the Conductor. If Carlos Alberto and others leave El Nuevo Herald Miami would have El Nuevo Granma instead. De La Cova, I agree with your report FIU is full of Castros spies. I know, I took some classes there and was in fact disgusted by a lot of the politics that was espoused in the classrooms. I am surprised the community has never taken a stand against Madique and his minions. So now I know for a fact that FIU is DGI approved. I for one am glad I do not go to school there any more.

  9. To Conductor and El Guardia Rural,
    The Miami Herald has drawn the line of definition on the sand. Cuban exiles will either cross it or stand with the Herald. Montaner has chosen to remain with the enemy. Although he wrote a “woe is me” letter in Spanish to the editor of El Nuevo Herald, after they dragged him thru the mud on this issue, he has failed to denounce the situation in the English-language Herald or come to the defense of the reporters who were fired.
    This issue is about personal character and ethics. United we stand, divided we fall.

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