Reporters for Hire: Exposing a Government Propaganda Operation in Miami

  • Background

    Actor Danny Glover speaks at a forum on the Cuban Five with PCJF Executive Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard

    A multi-year effort by the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund and Liberation newspaper has uncovered thousands of pages of previously unreleased materials that reveal that the U.S. government was paying Miami-based journalists who saturated the Miami media with reports that were highly inflammatory and prejudicial to the Cuban Five at the same time as the government conducted its prosecution of the men.

    The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 prohibits the U.S. government from funding activities to influence and propagandize domestic public opinion (see 22 U.S.C. § 1461).

    More than 2,200 pages of contracts between Miami journalists and Radio and TV Martí have been released thus far to Liberation newspaper through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) petition. The Broadcasting Board of Governors—an official U.S. government agency—and its Office of Cuba Broadcasting have operated Radio Martí since 1985 and TV Martí since 1990.

    These contracts evidence the U.S. government’s payments to journalists in Miami whose reports constituted a sustained effort to create an atmosphere of hysteria and bias against Cuba and the Cuban Five. Three of the Cuban Five—Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino—have filed habeas corpus appeals arguing that their constitutional rights to due process were grossly undermined by the government’s media operation in Miami and payments to the Miami reporters.

  • Legal Information

  • Press Coverage

    Now It Can Be Told: U.S. Appellate Judges Sought Clemency for the Cuban Five

    Montana attorney Brian Kahn gave 20 judges legal documents from the case, including the 2005 three-judge unanimous decision overturning the Five’s conviction and the facts of the Miami journalists who received U.S. government pay during the trial.

    Prensa Latina: Court Orders US Gov't to Reveal Secret Payments

    A U.S. federal court ordered the State Department to hand over files about secret payments that the U.S. government made to Miami-based journalists to prejudice the case of the Cuban Five in 2001.

    UDC Law School News: Cuban Five Justice or Injustice' forum draws 200 at UDC Law School

    PCJF Executive Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and actor Danny Glover speak at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law Moot Court Room on a panel on the case of the Cuban Five.

    "Reporters for Hire" website publishes complete list of U.S. government contracts

    The Cuban newspaper Granma covers the work of PCJF and others in uncovering the contracts between the U.S. government and Miami-based journalists who reported on the case of the Cuban Five
  • Multimedia

    Mara Verheyden-Hillard discusses the Cuban Five on 'Law and Disorder'

    Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund interviewed by Law and Disorder Radio (mp3)