George Soros

Taxpayer-Funded Propaganda Station Aired Anti-Soros Hit Piece in Cuba

Why are we paying for a Spanish-language propaganda station in the first place?


YouTube Screenshot via Joe Konig

Attacks on billionaire George Soros, the Jewish philanthropist and liberal megadonor, haven't just come from prominent conservatives and like-minded media outlets. Earlier this year, the U.S. government broadcast a Spanish-language hit piece on Soros.

The segment ran in May on Radio y Televisión Martí, a U.S.-based station that broadcasts propaganda to Cuba. The liberal outlet Mother Jones reports on some of the segment's contents:

The taxpayer-subsidized video portrays Soros as a threat to Latin American democracy. Featuring ominous music and images of street violence, the 15-minute video begins with the narration: "George Soros has his eye on Latin America. But Judicial Watch, an American investigative legal group, also has its eye on Soros and what it sees as his lethal influence to destroy democracies. It describes him as a millionaire investor and stock market speculator who exploits capitalism and Wall Street to finance anti-system movements that fill his pockets."

The report also calls Soros "a non-believing Jew of flexible morals" and "the architect of the financial collapse of 2008."

Radio y Televisión Martí is part of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), which claims to "promote freedom and democracy by providing the people of Cuba with objective news and information programming." The OCB, in turn, is part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which used to be known as the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The OCB received about $23.7 million in appropriated funds from Congress for the 2017 fiscal year, though it requested less than $14 million for 2019.

In a statement to Mother Jones, OCB Director Tomás P. Regalado acknowledged the Soros segment should not have aired. Regalado, who says he assumed his post after the segment was broadcast, noted that it relied far too heavily on Judicial Watch, a conservative nonprofit with a clear bias against Soros.

The segment, parts of which can be found on YouTube, was found last Friday by the Cuban Triangle blog. On Saturday the segment drew the ire of Sen. Jeff Flake (R–Ariz.):

Yesterday Flake followed up by calling for an investigation into "how such programming was produced and and [sic] why it aired."

The worst aspect of this segment is that it was paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Americans probably shouldn't be funding a Spanish-language propaganda station in the first place. If the propaganda is partisan and bigoted, that just makes things worse.