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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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drstephenatbash February 11 2014 at 9:24 AM

That doesn't look like a hearing aid. It looks like a long, gray hair.

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1 reply
itooso drstephenatbash February 11 2014 at 4:01 PM

Yea, and it's growing out his ear too.

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itooso February 11 2014 at 8:49 AM

That was probably just a worm coming out of his ear.

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hotspringspark February 11 2014 at 8:37 AM

He would throw people in a cage and weld the door shut just for looking at him wrong. When are you going to die you murderer.

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hotspringspark February 11 2014 at 8:32 AM

I tell you a good photo of that murdering fool...him hanging by the neck in the public square..now that would be a great photo!

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sullalc February 11 2014 at 8:32 AM

Cuba keeps pushing out this crap as if they think we all believe that this is a kindly old man. He has ruined the lives of five or more generations of Cubans having to live under his rule on an island that should have been a paradise. Did you know that Cubans were recently allowed to purchase new cars.....after 40 years...and were recently allowed to use air conditioning again. Yeah..Communism works...

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1 reply
itooso sullalc February 11 2014 at 8:45 AM

Only works for the well to do.

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rodolfofra February 11 2014 at 8:14 AM

So the SOB is still alive?!?!? what will it take for the devil to come and finally collect him. Oh yes I forgot probably he is afraid of Castro taking over in hell!!!

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irventu February 10 2014 at 9:32 PM

WOOOOOOOOOW NO SOY CUBANA PERO QUE ALEGRIA ME DA VER QUE QUIEN A HECHO SUFRIR A TANTOS SERES HUMANO SE VE TAN MAL. QUE PASA FIDEL TE LLEGO TU HORA?. HA,HA,HAAAAAAAAAAA. QUE FELIZ ME SIENTO.

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1 reply
whdlsn irventu February 10 2014 at 9:53 PM

Fidel es no bueno para nada!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
flobamaguynow February 10 2014 at 9:34 PM

I MEAN COME ON CASTRO HAS BEEN DEAD FOR YEARS N YEARS AND THEY , MEANING HIS BROTHER MADE ONE OF HIS OWN,, PLASTRIC SURGERY DOES WONDERS

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pamei7 February 10 2014 at 9:35 PM

rest in peace you pile of crap

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1 reply
bwess8 pamei7 February 10 2014 at 9:40 PM

REST IN A PILE PEACE OF CRAP. Will this turd not flush.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
fishhead80 February 11 2014 at 8:52 AM

Obama has done the same thing for him and his wife.

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