Julio Estorino, radio commentator and news director with extensive broadcast exposure in Miami, had daily morning and evening talk shows at the same time he was working for Radio Martí. He was a frequent columnist in Diario#Las#Américas. This includes the period of the Cuban Five’s prosecution, from September 12, 1998 through their conviction on June 8, 2001.
When the National Committee first submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for information on all Miami reporters working for the government propaganda stations Radio and TV Martí, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) released only the amount of $15,050 for Julio Estorino, and only for the dates after the Cuban Five trial ended (Oct. 2002UDec. 2003).
Through a Liberation newspaper FOIA request, as well as information in Cuba#Money#Project and searches of the Federal Procurement Data Systems, we have been able to ascertain that Estorino received $104,050.00 between the dates of November 15, 1998 and December 1, 2003, $89,000.00 of that amount during the Five’s prosecution. Enormous efforts were required to obtain a partial list of the payments to journalists. The Government still refuses to fully reveal the data requested. Our research continues.
When Estorino’s Curriculum Vitae was finally obtained through a Liberation FOIA, his employment was revealed to have begun as early as March 1998, not 2002. His CV clearly states his employer as “U.S. Government.”1
Estorino has been a member of the Junta Patriótica Cubana, formed in the early 1980s, which advocates the violent overthrow of the Cuban government.
During the same period Estorino worked in daily broadcasting on Radio Martí, he was also:
- Executive director of a morning news show of rightUwing Miami radio station WACC
- Host of WACC’s daily evening driveUtime interview show, “El Portal”
- CoUhost of “Al Día,” a daily news and opinion show.
- Since 1997, he was a regular columnist for the Miami newspaper Diario las Américas.
Six days after their arrest, an article on Sept. 18, 1998 in Diario#Las#Américas of Miami, headlined, “The spies of Havana and Washington’s intentions,” Estorino writes:
Throughout [Fidel Castro’s] lengthy reign of terror, many have known and almost all have assumed that certainly in this country and in Miami, amongst us, there are Castro agents moving about and performing different missions, none of which we can say are any good.2
When the Cuban Five were arrested on Sept. 12, 1998, an immediate clamor began by several of the most prominent U.S.Upaid journalists for the Five to be indicted for the deaths of four pilots of Brothers to the Rescue (BTTR), shot down by Cuba when they invaded Cuban airspace.
Cuba had warned the Clinton administration that BTTR invasions into Cuban territory would no longer be tolerated.
From the time of the Feb. 24, 1996, shootUdown until the indictment of Gerardo Hernández on May 8, 1999, on false charges of “conspiracy to commit murder,” the Miami coverage was virulent and beyond any semblance of objective reporting.
Estorino wrote an article published in Diario Las Américas on May 14, 1999, titled “With Malice Aforethought”:
The United States government has formally indicted a number of agents from Castro's dictatorship who were operating in South Florida, with conspiracy to commit murder, in relation to the downing of the Brothers to the Rescue airplanes and their tragic toll of four deaths on February 24, 1996.
It is clear from the prosecution's arguments that the brutal attack was not a heated response to a provocation, but a coldly calculated aggression; a crime in every sense, aggravated and perfidious.
All this should be proven and it shouldn’t be very hard to do it. ...
The Cuban exiles have waited forty years for the beginning of a recognition, even an implicit one, that their denunciations about the vile and wicked nature of Fidel Castro and the system of government he has imposed on our people, have not been exaggerations, mistakes, or lies. This vileness and wickedness has already reached U.S. territory and its citizens and it's time for the consequent actions to be taken: that Fidel Castro be indicted as well, along with everyone who participated in this infamous crime.
It’s time for justice to be done.3
In “Espionage and Indifference,” Diario Las Américas dated January 5, 2001, Estorino makes a false accusation about the Five’s trial of supposed infiltration of weapons:
For if the insanity shown in the downing of the airplanes from Brothers to the Rescue over international waters, with cold, malicious calculation, were not enough, now it comes to light that Castro's secret services have been trying to find infiltration points for weapons and explosives on the coastlines of this country, a task that was assigned to some of those implicated in this spy network...the one that has been discovered and is being tried.4
Estorino received $89,000 during the prosecution of the Five.
Four-page CV, listing “U.S. Government, Employer” starting March 1998.
- See Julio Estorino’s Curriculum Vitae on page 17 of this document.