Cuba asks Spain to help `counter lies' in media
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
The Cuban government, in a bold if not brazen move, has reportedly urged
the Spanish government to give $155,000 to a program designed to
``counter the daily lies'' against Havana in the European media.
The funds would go to Euskadi-Cuba, a Basque nongovernmental
organization that acknowledges its Cuba programs are ``at the request of
Cuban authorities,'' the ABC newspaper in Madrid reported.
ABC's report, which appeared on the newspaper's website on Monday,
details the case without any commentary on the Cuban request. It does
not identify the sources for the information. The Cuban government has
not commented on the report.
``It would be an outrage if the Spanish government provides money for
the Cuban propaganda machine,'' said Frank Calzón, head of the Center
for a Free Cuba based in suburban Washington.
The ABC report said the Cuban Foreign Ministry, ``officially and in
writing,'' urged the Spanish Embassy in Havana last month to ask the
Spanish Foreign Ministry to fund the program, titled Cubainformación.
The 112,000 euros for the program -- about $155,000 -- would be provided
by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development
(AECID), part of the Foreign Ministry.
Euskadi-Cuba's website describes itself as a 21-year-old ``association
for friendship and political solidarity with Cuba'' and says it offers
``unconditional support for the Cuban revolution.''
ABC reported that the organization described the program's goal in its
application for the funds as the ``creation of a network for the
information-increased awareness-mobilization and solidarity with Cuba.''
Its website says the program's goal is to ``counter the daily lies and
slanderous rumors against the [Cuban] revolution, and to bring closer
the island's realities,'' ABC added.