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The Fallout That Followed The Fallout

(AP Photo/ Jorge Rey)
So, remember those reporters at El Nuevo Herald (The Miami Herald's Spanish-language sister paper) who were fired because they accepted payments for appearances on Radio and TV Marti while they worked at the paper? Well, they're not fired anymore. And the guy who fired them, Jesús Díaz Jr., president of The Miami Herald Media Co. and publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, has resigned.

An internal probe at the paper also revealed that six other El Nuevo Herald employees had received payments from Radio Martí and TV Martí during the past five years, but that no disciplinary action would be taken against them. The Miami Herald reports today that Diaz detemined that "the circumstances surrounding the journalists' actions were less definitive than he and other managers originally believed. That, he said, required a reversal in the company's response." From his letter to readers published in El Nuevo Herald:

''While I still believe that the acceptance of such payments by the nine journalists was a breach of widely accepted principles of journalistic ethics that violated the trust of our readers, our policies prohibiting such behavior may have been ambiguously communicated, inconsistently applied and widely misunderstood over many years in the El Nuevo Herald newsroom,'' Díaz wrote.

''It has been determined that in fairness we should extend an amnesty to all involved and enforce our policies more forcefully and consistently in the future,'' he wrote.

The internal probe revealed that several of the employees who had received money from Radio and TV Marti said their arrangements had been approved by the former executive editor of El Nuevo Herald, Carlos Castaneda, who died in 2002. You can check out our past posting on this whole controversy here.

Still, the most interesting element in all of this is that apparently, no one in Cuba is actually able to watch TV Marti because the signal is routinely blocked. And The New York Times reported last week that despite a recent multimillion dollar investment by the U.S. government to combat that problem, most of the Cubans they interviewed still aren't able to see the channel. Wrote the Times: "...in interviews in the past two weeks, many Cubans said they still saw just snowy interference where the TV Martí broadcasts should be. About a dozen people in Havana said they still had never glimpsed the station even after the expanded airborne broadcasts began, raising questions about the usefulness of the $10 million expenditure."

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