Same Story, Same Journalist, Two Editors

Thursday, June 28, 2012
Both The Miami Herald and its Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald ran stories last weekend on U.S. Interests Section cables (revealed by Wikileaks) that "analyzed" potential money laundering in Cuba.

See the English version here and the Spanish version here.

It's the same story, written by the same journalist, yet while the Spanish-version in El Nuevo Herald is balanced and thorough, the English-version editors at The Miami Herald morphed it into a whole different story.

Let's start with the titles.

In El Nuevo Herald, the title is:

"Diplomáticos destacan secretismo de bancos en Cuba" ("Diplomats Highlight Secretive Nature of Banks in Cuba")

In The Miami Herald, it is:

"WikiLeaks cables: In the past U.S. diplomats didn’t find evidence of money laundering in Cuba"

Then, The Miami Herald version conveniently leaves out one of the most important quotes -- that of a defector who actually worked in the Cuban banking system.

"All money that goes through Cuban banks is investigated, specially foreign money," said defector Marzo Fernandez (but only in El Nuevo Herald).

Thus, no money from illicit activity can enter Cuba's tightly controlled banking system without the Castro regime's knowledge.

But frankly, the whole basis of the story -- the cables themselves -- are oxymoronic, for they conclude:

"The U.S. government does not have any direct evidence of money laundering or terrorist financing activities in Cuba in 2009."

And then admit, Cuba has "one of the most secretive and non-transparent national banking systems in the world."

What a brilliant deduction.

Finally, none of the stories mention the latest report by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), which has concluded:

"Cuba has not committed to the AML/CFT international standards, nor has it constructively directly engaged with the FATF. At the same time, Cuba attended a GAFISUD plenary as a guest and prepared an informal document on its AML/CFT regime. The FATF has identified Cuba as having strategic AML/CFT deficiencies that pose a risk to the international financial system."