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AP: Fidel Castro handout photos digitally altered

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Associated Press is eliminating from its archive seven Cuban government handout photos of Fidel Castro after determining some were digitally altered to remove what appears to be a hearing aid from the retired leader's ear.

The images in question were released through the government-run Estudios Revolucion, an entity that distributes photos of Cuba's top leadership, during a recent Latin America and Caribbean summit in Havana. They were retransmitted by the AP and other international news organizations to clients around the world.

"We have concluded that a number of official photographs of Fidel Castro were manipulated. Removing elements from a photograph is entirely unacceptable and is in clear violation of AP's standards," said AP vice president and director of photography Santiago Lyon.

The AP informed Cuban officials of its decision regarding the photos, but there was no public reaction or comment.

Under AP standards, photos must depict reality and cannot be manipulated to add or subtract elements that alter that reality. The news agency's policy is to use handout photographs only when there is no other option, and to scrutinize them carefully for possible manipulation.

It was during such screening that photo editors noted an anomaly in a picture that showed Castro meeting with Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa in Havana on Jan. 29.

The AP acquired the original, high-resolution image files from the photographer, Alex Castro, the former leader's son. The original clearly showed a thin wire snaking into Fidel Castro's ear that was missing from the altered photo released through Estudios Revolucion.

The AP did not transmit the Correa photograph or any official photos of Castro handed out subsequent to it to customers. But a review of other handout images, including a photograph of Castro meeting with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, showed similar signs of manipulation. The photo was transmitted by the AP, as well as by other news organizations.

Photographs published as recently as a month earlier showed a thin, transparent device in Castro's ear, believed to be a hearing aid.

Alex Castro has taken most of the pictures of his 87-year-old father that have been released since a near-fatal illness forced him from office in 2006. The younger Castro immediately provided the original unaltered image files when the AP requested them and told the AP he was unaware they had been manipulated prior to their distribution.

His pictures were first submitted to Estudios Revolucion, then redistributed through other official Cuban news outlets.

In addition to eliminating the seven images, the AP is conducting a review of all Cuban handout pictures of Castro from recent years, about 150 images in all.

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Hollywood February 10 2014 at 9:08 PM

How come we can change Kim Kardashian's boobs, but to take a hearing aid out of political is a major foul?
THIS on a day when "news" that Kim AND Brittney Spears changed their hair color, was front page news. I saw no mention that Fidel went grey. Poor coverage.

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1 reply
fredka27 Hollywood February 10 2014 at 10:28 PM

The hate keeps coming from our Zonist corporate press....keep attention off from our "huge" problems at home. When are we going to get off the Cuban's back.... in the mean time China is burying us, Russia too, just check out their latest planes and subs. while we can't even fix our milllions pot holes on our streets.

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CPA11973 February 10 2014 at 10:30 PM

does anyone really care that they edited out his hearing aid? now, if they had moved his nose to his forehead, that might just be barely worth reporting.

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Stanton O. Berg February 10 2014 at 10:34 PM

They both look the same to me...the one is simply not focused as sharp...what would be the big deal about a hearing aid in any event...

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2 replies
scsays Stanton O. Berg February 10 2014 at 11:05 PM

What, I did'nt hear you.

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newbury57 Stanton O. Berg February 10 2014 at 11:12 PM

so what he should suffer and be in pain and go blind and have a stroke that leaves him like a vegetable and knowing what he is doing and not being able to move at all that is what he deserves. That Communist big bastard lump of slime murdering slime ball.

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ski4hi February 11 2014 at 12:04 PM

Its still there . . . Very blurry . . . But its there. Are you guys blind?

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beddy5 February 10 2014 at 10:45 PM

SO WHAT! The old guy needs a hearing aid. So what does that mean? Does it warrant BIG BREAKING NEWS? NO.

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tippy301 February 10 2014 at 11:01 PM

Even as I write, Geraldo Rivera is undergoing plastic surgery, so he may take over for Fidel, at the time of he's death; a perfect doppelganger.

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mc84414 February 11 2014 at 12:00 PM


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havingfun8910 February 10 2014 at 11:29 PM

Maybe he can tell us who shot Kennedy before he dies since we cant seem to find out!

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Bobby February 10 2014 at 11:31 PM

JFK called me to ask Nikita to turn the missile ship around. I did. That proved that JFK did not want to start trouble for Fidel.

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joe4uall February 10 2014 at 11:32 PM

wow this guy is still alive! eh well his time is over as we see. I wonder who the next Cuban terrorist will be! how is there politics in countries with no economy or proper voting, same problems like many others countries, but have weapons of destruction, armies, weapons, etc and the whole world now is politics??!!

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