Radio & TV Marti reporter resigns in protest

A Radio & TV Marti reporter, Manuel Vazquez Portal, has resigned from the U.S. government run radio and television station that broadcasts programs to the island of Cuba. One of the original Group of 75 opposition members in Cuba arrested and imprisoned during the Black Spring of 2003 crackdown, Vazquez Portal stated in a letter addressed to President Obama, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and the Cuban American members of congress that his resignation was due to the fact that Radio/TV Marti was no longer fulfilling its original mission of providing unfiltered news to the Cuban people.

Here is an excerpt from his letter published at Baracutey Cubano (my translation):

I hereby notify you that I, Manuel Vazquez Portal, former political prisoner from the Group of 75, sentenced during Cuba’s Black Spring of 2003 to 18 years of prison for working as an independent journalist for almost a decade inside Cuba, am resigning from my contract as a journalist (one that I have worked under for almost six years at the Cuba Broadcasting Office and for 35 years with other news agencies) at the internet department ( because I feel the current trajectory of Radio Marti is absolutely inconsistent with the mission established by the Congress of the United States.

My resignation is non-negotiable because as an active member of the internal dissidence, upon my arrival to the United States, I saw in Radio Marti a channel where I could continue having contact with my people and help them in their struggle for liberty. However, it has been the opposite. I feel I have been used, harassed, and discriminated against by the new management at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. Such instances have occurred with other contract employees and federal employees of the institution, all of them having exceptional professional reputations and recognized work in the struggle for democracy, freedom of expression, and respect for human rights . . .

Vazquez Portal goes on in his letter to describe how Radio/TV Marti has, in violation of its purpose as commanded by congress, shifted its focus to presenting entertainment programs instead of news. He also states that several well respected journalists and individuals at Radio/TV Marti have been summarily fired with no justification given.

Since the Obama administration took office, I have been hearing from various extremely reliable sources that Radio/TV Marti was changing drastically, and those changes were not for the better. A definite and intentional move away from direct confrontation with the dictatorial regime in Cuba was beginning to take place at the station, and new people were being brought into the organization that agreed with that softer policy.

Perhaps there is no better person to corroborate the disturbing changes taking place at Radio/TV Marti described by Vazquez Portal and others than one of its current supporters, Ted Henken. A City University of New York professor and so-called “Cuba Expert,” Henken is a frequent visitor to Cuba and believes the U.S. should abandon its strong stance against the murderous dictatorial regime of the Castro brothers and embrace them instead. In an article in Global Voices, Henken’s thoughts about the “new” Radio/TV Marti were described as thus:

According to Henken, under the Obama administration, Radio Martí producers are making greater efforts to diversify political viewpoints in their programming. As part of this effort, they have solicited interviews with bloggers who have been classified as supporters of the Cuban revolution, including Global Voices contributor and La Polémica Digital [es] author Elaine Díaz, who declined the opportunity [es].

So there you have it, perhaps from the proverbial horse’s mouth.

Here is a video of Manuel Vazquez Portal’s remarks regarding his resignation from Radio/TV Marti:

H/T Diana A.

6 thoughts on “Radio & TV Marti reporter resigns in protest”

  1. That is because they want to make more money off of exporting to Cuba and they want to do it regardless of who is running Cuba or how they treat their people. I know that “fact finding” trips to Cuba, and cocktail parites with the Castro brothers make them seem like alright fellows, but the fact of the matter is, they are not and never have been. They stole the properties from Americans and Cubans in 1962 and have enslaved their people for over 52 years. Cuba was prosperious before they came along. They tricked everyone back then and they are still masterful at deceit. Now they have infiltrated Radio/TV Marti? My father would be rolling over in his grave! Geez!

  2. It’s not a surprise, but it is still scandalous, even if nobody in charge gives a shit. This is obviously in keeping with Obama’s general Cuba policy, so don’t expect anything to change with him in office. No doubt neutralizing or subverting Radio Martí has been a longstanding goal of Castro Inc., for obvious reasons, and it appears they’ve succeeded. The fact they’ve had and are getting indispensable help from Cubans here is beyond despicable, but so it goes. As has been the case from Day 1, the worst offenders in the tragic crime that is Cuba have been Cubans. Truly, deeply disgusting.

  3. At this Wash. D.C. gig in June,

    the Radio Marti folks were on hand. During a break they sent an emisarry to contact me on the panel and ask for an interview.

    Fine, I replied. Delighted. We went outside the room where it was quiet, etc. The cameras rolled for a good while and I answered their every question while holding up my books. It was obvious they were APPALLED by my books, by my intransigence, by my every utterance, by my demeanor, by EVERYTHING! …bottom line: NOTHING ever aired.

  4. The writing on the wall was soaring in the sky in letters 10 feet tall for years. This was inevitable. For a long time, “Cuban experts,” “think tanks,” congressional committees and the mainstream media were harping on how biased and wasteful [in tax dollars] Radio Marti was. Every once in a while, I would read a study that outlined how absolutely misinformative Radio Marti was. Obviously, like everything else, this campaign was insidiously directed from inside Cuba.

    It goes to show you how successful the regime remains. They’ve managed to neutralize the exile community by infiltrating our institutions and our community and by planting influential people in key positions. Whether it be a “Cuba expert” associated with some major university or think tank who is always interviewed by the mainstream media, or a congressman who lobbies on behalf of some industry that wants the embargo lifted so it can benefit from trade with the tyranny, or some news agency that is afraid of being critical for fear of being expelled from Cuba, or the vile, New York Times that has no reason other than being a fifth column newspaper in the American body politics from back in the days of Stalin.

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