Full Disclosure on Columbia's Cuba Conference

Monday, October 20, 2014
There's a story today in El Nuevo Herald about this weekend's conference at Columbia University's School of Journalism entitled, "Covering Cuba in the Era of Change."

The event was (supposedly) "designed to deepen journalists' reporting on a wide range of issues involving Cuba and Cuban-American relations at a critical moment of transition."

It featured a "who's who" of the most vocal opponents of U.S. policy towards Cuba.

However, not one U.S.-based proponent of Cuba policy was invited.

Moreover, not a single foreign journalist who has been honest -- and even written books -- about their "self-censorship" in Cuba was invited.

So much for "objectivity" in journalism.

To the organizer's dismay, the only participants (out of dozens) who were not adverse to U.S. policy were three Cuban dissidents. In other words, those closest to Cuba's reality.

One of these, Cuban blogger and democracy activist Miriam Celaya, wrote her take on the event in 14ymedio -- click here (in Spanish).

It's a must-read.

Celaya notes -- in clear dismay -- how this event could have easily been produced by Cuba's "officialdom."

Sadly, she's not too far off.

Unfortunately, El Nuevo Herald failed to disclose in its story who funded Columbia University's conference.

According to its organizers, it was financed "by a generous grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies, with supplemental funding from the Ford Foundation."

For those unaware, The Atlantic Philanthropies has been one of the main financial arms for propagating Castro's "medical propaganda" abroad.

Since 2002, it has contributed nearly $17 million to the Oakland-based, Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC), headed by Castro apologist (and former "Venceremos Brigade" member) Gail Reed.

Reed has been married to renowned Cuban intelligence official, Julian Torres Rizo, who had been Castro's Ambassador to Grenada in the early 80s. (See the image below).

"I feel a very strong identification with the Cuban revolution," Reed has said.

Meanwhile, the Ford Foundation has infamously become Mariela Castro's (daughter of Cuban dictator Raul Castro) booking agent in recent years, financing her travels and presentations throughout the world.

That's quite a conference they produced.