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Reporters without borders do have owners

Periodistas arrestadosDamián Trujillo, cameraman for the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina in Chile, was arrested April 26 by carabineers, in the country’s capital, as he was practicing his profession: covering a peaceful protest in La Dignidad Square.

In images of the arbitrary arrest, anyone can see how the police dragged him into a van, despite the protests of colleagues.

Is this not a clear violation of the free exercise of journalism and why does Reporters Without Borders (RSF) remain silent about this violation of free press rights?

A fallacious report by this organization recently ranked Cuba no.171 in terms of the existence of conditions for the exercise of press freedom, placing the island in last place in Latin America and the Caribbean.

RSF is a Paris-based organization and an unconditional supporter of the U.S. government, which has for years been characterized by its obsessive opposition to the Cuban Revolution, Bolivarian Venezuela, and Sandinista Nicaragua.

In 2005, the group participated in the campaign promoted by the George W. Bush administration to prevent tourists from traveling to Cuba. It should not be forgotten that the Bush Plan included a budget of five million dollars for NGOs to “carry out activities to dissuade tourists from travelling to Cuba.” Part of this ” booty” went into the coffers of the RSF.

For years, these “reporters” have devoted themselves to financing pseudo-journalists who work in the service of U.S. interests.

Their manifest bias in favor of Washington’s interests in Iraq, Libya, Haiti, Iran, Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile is more than clear: year after year, in their fallacious reports, they condemn countries considered “enemies” of the U.S. or simply those who do not follow the dictates of the White House to the letter.

Where do these gentlemen, supposed defenders of freedom of the press and freedom of expression, acquire the substantial funding the organization has at its disposal?

Mr. Robert Ménard, one of the organization’s founders, a few years ago openly admitted having funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Ménard was very clear: “We do indeed receive money from the NED. And that poses no a problem for us.” [1]

RSF has never hidden its relationship to the world’s powerful. “One day we had a financial issue. I called the industrialist Francois Pinault to help us…. He immediately responded to my request. And that’s all that matters,” because “The law of gravity exists, dear friends. And also the law of money,” Menard stated callously. [2]

Reporters Without Borders is funded by the Dassault Group, by Hewlett Packard and the Overbrook Foundation, founded by Frank Altschul, which promotes Radio Free Europe; by Lagardère Publishing, the Hachette Foundation, the Open Society Institute and by the French daily Libération, and pockets substantial resources from the world’s largest media conglomerates.

RSF benefits from the money the U.S. government allocates every year to subvert the internal order in Cuba, through NED, USAID, Freedom House, the Center for a Free Cuba, the Cuban-American National Foundation, the Czech NGO People in Need, and other organizations that among the collection of institutions that serve to screen U.S. government and CIA attacks on the Cuban Revolution.

In a report dated January 15, 2004, the group exonerated the U.S. military from any responsibility for the murder of Spanish journalist José Couso and his Ukrainian colleague Taras Protsyuk at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad. These “reporters” offered apologies for the invasion of Iraq on August 16, 2007 during the radio program “Contre-expertise,” and Robert Ménard, then the organization’s secretary general, legitimized the use of torture.

During the attempted coup against Hugo Chavez in April of 2002, they openly supported the plotters, as well as the coups against Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Zelaya in Honduras, and Evo Morales in Bolivia.

The French daily Libération itself, the organization’s sponsor, noted that Reporters Without Borders does not say a word about the abuses of the Western media: “From now on, press freedom will either be exotic or won’t exist. Many reproach the group for its ferocity against Cuba and Venezuela, and indulgence toward the United States, which is not false.” [3]

Reporters Without Borders has an owner and has no borders when it comes to receiving money from the transnationals, the oligopolies, the rich of this world.

How can anyone be independent, as they proclaim, who subordinates their work and auctions off its morals and ethics to the dictates of the powerful? RSF is an organic part of the empire’s global apparatus, providing pretexts to justify aggression and demonize the enemies of capitalist hegemonic power.

In Context

-Between 1998 and 1999, the USAID Cuba Program devoted more than six million dollars to internal subversion in our country.

-In 2001 alone, there were more than 200 personal deliveries of funds to “activists” and “independent journalists,” estimated to be more than 100,000 dollars.

-Between fiscal years 2001 and 2006, the USAID allocated 61 million dollars to Cuba for some 142 projects.

-The Cuba Program was allocated more than 120 million USD between 2007 and 2013.

-The programs with the “Freedom of Information” label sponsored, between 2014 and 2017, some 39 projects, with an amount of more than six million dollars. NED contributed another two million.

-In 2018, NED gave Cubanet News Inc. $220,000 to promote “Freedom of Information,” $60,000 to Hypermedia Publishing Inc, $72,000 to the Institute of Communication and Development, and $65,000 to “integrate” Cuba with regional media networks (targeting young journalists).

-USAID and NED subversive programs against Cuba in the last fiscal year 2018-2019, include an estimated 70-plus projects promoted inside and outside the country, with an allocation of more than 14 million USD.

(Sources: Razones de Cuba, Cubainformación, writings by Salim Lamrani & Jean-Guy Allard)

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