Journalists paid thousands of dollars to undermine Fidel Castro

Ten South Florida journalists were reportedly paid thousands of dollars by the federal government for broadcasts aimed at undermining Cuban President Fidel Castro.

Pablo Alfonso, who reported on Cuba and wrote an opinion column for El Nuevo Herald -- the Miami Herald's Spanish-language sister paper -- was paid almost $175,000 since 2001 by the U.S. Office of Cuba Broadcasting to host shows on Radio and TV Marti, according to government documents obtained by The Miami Herald, which reported the story Friday.

Olga Connor, a freelance reporter who wrote about Cuban culture for El Nuevo Herald, received about $71,000, and staff reporter Wilfredo Cancio Isla, who covered the Cuban exile community and politics, was paid almost $15,000 in the last five years, The Miami Herald reported.

Also listed as receiving more than $11,400 this year was WJAN-TV reporter Manuel Cao, who got into a videotaped confrontation with Cuban President Fidel Castro in July during the Mercosur Summit in Argentina.

During the fiery exchange, Cao questioned why Castro won't allow a prominent doctor and dissident to leave Cuba.

"Who pays you?" demanded Castro.
"No one pays me to ask questions, that is my job," Cao yelled back.

The payments were identified in documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
Journalists paid to blast Castro (CNN, 8 September 2006)