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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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mikeseless February 12 2014 at 2:25 AM

fidel castro! It is time! Hell calls your name! It is time for you to pay for all the evil you have done.

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DOUG February 12 2014 at 12:08 AM

I'm curious why we still "Boycott" this little island. All that happend between the US and Cuba happened 50 years ago?? Talk about holding a grudge. I for one would love to visit this tropical island and talk with is residents. Chance of a lifetime. Since our country was formed, we have been at war at one time or another with England, France, Spain, Korea, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and so on. You get the idea. Anyway, I can go to any of the places listed. Why not Cuba??????

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pb11731 February 11 2014 at 7:56 PM

Americans can't crucify this man enough. He outlived ten of our presidents, many of whom tried to kill him, and Florida's Cubans (Batista's crime syndicate refugees) can't wait for his demise.

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mrforsale February 11 2014 at 10:04 PM

What a stupid thing to say...
You got any proof that american presidents tried to kill him...

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mhhcortes February 11 2014 at 5:03 PM

Fidel is death and he is been death for a while!

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The Darb February 11 2014 at 4:59 PM

I would like to see open trade and visitation with Cuba. But then I would also like to see a Democratic country in Cuba. Perhaps Fidel's brother will be more accomadating on both issues.

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cybre February 11 2014 at 4:54 PM

If we allow Japanese to build TOYOTAS HERE IN THE USA and Americans buy these cars after what happened in WWII. Then whats the Problem!!!!!!!

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mountainmania09 February 11 2014 at 10:03 PM

Cuba is a communist country 40 miles from our coastline.

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dondemaria February 11 2014 at 4:27 PM

La Revolucion is over and Fidel has one foot on a banana peal and the other in the grave. It is well past time to lift the embargo and allow free travel and trade between our countries.

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gookies71628 February 11 2014 at 7:47 PM

I'd say he has both feet.....in the grave....and LOOKS it....

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joab appliance February 11 2014 at 3:00 PM

Hey castro hell is waiting...dont forget the cuban cigars.

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tmb1025 February 11 2014 at 1:28 PM

big deal. so what? he is who he is. he did what he did. KUDOS!

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itooso February 11 2014 at 4:23 PM

Took Cuba back to the dark ages is what he did.

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gookies71628 February 11 2014 at 7:48 PM


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IDEALRENTALS February 11 2014 at 1:10 PM

MONSTER with or without the friggin hearing aid

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simon102006 February 12 2014 at 4:46 AM

so what makes him a monster? I don't think he killed as many people as we did at Hiroshima.

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