Fidel Castro photo handouts from Cuban government 'manipulated to remove hearing aid'

The Associated Press said photos of the former leader had been manipulated

Heather Saul
Tuesday 11 February 2014 12:57
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This photo combination of four handout pictures show, top left, an unaltered image provided by photographer Alex Castro of Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez, left, with Cuban leader Fidel Castro, right, and Fidel's wife Dalia Soto del Valle during a private meeting, Jan. 26, 2014, in Havana, Cuba. On the top right is the same image released through Estudios Revolucion, digitally altered to remove what appears to be a hearing aid from the retired leader's ear. The bottom left image is a blown up view of the unaltered image and the bottom right image is a blown up view of the altered image. The Associated Press is eliminating from its archive this image and six more of the Cuban government handout photos of Fidel Castro meeting with leaders participating in a recent Latin America and Caribbean summit, after determining some were digitally altered.
This photo combination of four handout pictures show, top left, an unaltered image provided by photographer Alex Castro of Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez, left, with Cuban leader Fidel Castro, right, and Fidel's wife Dalia Soto del Valle during a private meeting, Jan. 26, 2014, in Havana, Cuba. On the top right is the same image released through Estudios Revolucion, digitally altered to remove what appears to be a hearing aid from the retired leader's ear. The bottom left image is a blown up view of the unaltered image and the bottom right image is a blown up view of the altered image. The Associated Press is eliminating from its archive this image and six more of the Cuban government handout photos of Fidel Castro meeting with leaders participating in a recent Latin America and Caribbean summit, after determining some were digitally altered.

Seven photos of Fidel Castro handed out by the Cuban government have apparently been doctored to remove what appears to be a hearing aid from his ear, The Associated Press has reported.

The news agency has removed the images from their archive, it said, after determining they were digitally altered. The pictures were submitted to AP through the government-run Estudios Revolucion, which distributes photos of Cuba’s leaders.

Upon closer inspection, AP said it noticed the images of Castro meeting with Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa and Cristina Fernandez, the Argentinian president showed the former leader without a hearing aid.

AP acquired the original, images from the photographer, Alex Castro, the former leader's son. It said the images clearly showed a thin wire snaking into Fidel Castro's ear that was missing from the altered photo released through Estudios Revolucion.

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

The redistributed pictures showed Castro without a hearing aid.

“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,” Santiago Lyon, AP vice president and director of photography said.

The Cuban government has not yet commented on AP's claims.

In December North Korea digitally removed Jang Song Thaek’s image from official photographs and videos, after the uncle of Kim Jong-un was executed as part of a bloody purge.

In another Photoshop mishap, the local government in Anhui province, China, were left red-faced by a picture featuring a legless vice-mayor hovering ominously over a shrunken pensioner.

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