WaPo Photo Caption Bias in Cuba Embargo Story

AP photo by Javier GaleanoOpting to include a photo to supplement the reporting by Michael Shear and Cecilia Kang in their April 14 front-pager "Obama Lifts Broad Set of Sanctions Against Cuba", Washington Post editors made a caption choice that served to skew the story presentation in a way favorable to those who argue for lifting the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba.

"The president's new policies lift limits on Americans sending money to their relatives in struggling Cuba," reads the Post caption below a photograph by AP's Javier Galeano (shown above at right). In the photo, a man and woman are shown pushing a beat-up old car down the street.

Here's the AP's caption for the photo:

A couple pushes an old car through a street in Havana, Monday, April 13, 2009. President Barack Obama is allowing Americans to make unlimited trips and money transfers to family members in Cuba to usher in a new era of U.S openness toward the island nation.(AP Photo/Javier Galeano)

But wait a minute, doesn't Fidel Castro's buddy Hugo Chavez practically give free oil to Cuba? That's right, he does:

Petroleumworld.com,  Apr. 13, 2009

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez arrived in Cuba on Friday ahead of a regional trade summit set for later this month, the Cuban state-owned newspaper Granma reported.

The goal of the visit is to plan an April 16 summit of the Chavez-driven trade group Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or ALBA, which is scheduled to be held in Caracas, Granma said.

Alfredo Carquez, a spokesman for Venezuelan state-owned PDVSA, declined to give details to Platts on the purpose of Chavez's trip, but said officials plan to discuss existing agreements between the countries, "among other things."

PDVSA in December said the capacity of two refineries in Cuba will be expanded and a new one will be built, boosting the country's refining capacity to a projected 350,000 b/d from its current 87,000 b/d.

The expansions and the new refinery will be handled by a joint venture called Cuvenpetrol SA between PDVSA and Cuba's state-owned Cupet. PDVSA has not given a timeframe for the expansions and the size of each party's stake in Cuvenpetrol was also not revealed.

Venezuela provides crude oil to Cuba, PDVSA has said, though it has not disclosed the volume. Chavez's visit follows one by members of the US Congressional Black Caucus earlier this week with Cuban President Raul Castro and his brother and former long-reigning president Fidel Castro. Members of the delegation called for an "open dialogue" with Cuba and an end to the US embargo against the island-nation.

Foreign Policy Cuba Wire Services/Media Companies Associated Press Obama Watch Javier Galeano