Miami, November 18, 2011.
Honorable President Barack Obama.
Honorable Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Honorable Senator Bob Menéndez.
Honorable Senator Marco Rubio.
Honorable Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Honorable Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart.
Honorable Congressman David Rivera.
Honorable Congressman Albio Sires.
Coordinator of programs for the Americas for the Committee to Protect Journalists Carlos Lauría.
Director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch José Miguel Vivanco.
President of the Broadcasting Board of Governors Walter Isaacson
Director of IBB Richard Lobo
Director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Radio y Televisión Martí, Carlos García.
Media, cuban independent press and political and human rights organizations both inside and outside of Cuba.
I would like to inform you that I, Manuel Vázquez Portal, former political prisoner from the Group of the 75, sentenced to 18 years imprisonment during Cuba’s Black Spring of 2003 for practicing independent journalism for almost a decade inside the Island, have resigned from my contract as a journalist (which I have exercised for almost six years within the institution, and for more than 35 years in different news media) in the internet department (martinoticias.com) because I feel used, harassed and discriminated by the new administration of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. This treatment has also been repeated with other contractors and federal employees of the institution, all highly reputable professionals with recognized service to the struggle for democracy, freedom of expression, and respect for human rights. I have rejected these actions publicly and will proceed to detail below.
1-: In a marked violation of what has been established by the United States Congress in reference to the creation and functioning of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí), the current administration has transformed the institution into an instrument of entertainment and frivolity and has forgotten the mission for which it was created (to transmit truthful news, confirmed by at least two accredited sources, and informative programs illustrative of the realities in Cuba and internationally). It has created programming with very low content concerning democracy, freedom of the press and expression, and respect for human rights that ranges from popular music and obsolete and futile soap operas divorced from the Cuban reality and packaged more than two decades ago, to spaces that irresponsibly praise the traffic and commerce of objects that are a product of the national poverty in which the Cuban government has plunged the nation.
2-: Also in flagrant violation of the employment policy established by the institution (a contractor cannot work without the supervision of a federal employee) and placing at risk the security of the mission, contractors have exercised and exercise the hosting of programs and supervision of other contractors, and even of federal employees.
3-: In an ostensible example of lack of moderation in the exercise of power of the current administration, it has closed its contracts, without meritorious reasons, to prestigious professional figures with a solid and recognized history in the struggle for freedom, democracy, freedom of expression and press and human rights (former commander Huber Matos, Raul Rivero, Alberto Muller, Silvia Font, Orlando Fondevila, among others), while it contracts and protects unqualified personnel without professional experience or recognition among the internal Cuban opposition. It has also censured, for nebulous reasons, expressions such as “political police” “dictatorship” or “tyranny”. It has cancelled programs of high listenership, respectability on the Island, and elevated professionalism such as Sin censores ni censura. It has also impeded the diffusion of rigorously prepared documentaries of great professional, aesthetic, political and human value such as The Children of the Spring (Los hijos de la primavera) by producer Joe Cardona, amongst other inadmissible irregularities.
For these, and other matters which I am willing to debate in any forum of respect and transparency, and for which I provide a preview in appended documents, I cannot allow myself to continue at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, while the dissidence on the Island complains of inattention and the executive officers of the current administration continue in their positions.
Manuel Vázquez Portal.