But it contains a lot more, and it’s interesting to read as an inside-the-bureaucracy snapshot of many aspects of the
- The mission is staffed by 51 Americans including both diplomats and the U.S. Marine Corps guards, 22 local hires (family members of U.S. diplomats or members of other countries’ diplomatic missions), and 257 Cuban nationals (p. 33).
- The introduction (pp. 3-4) says that
’s economy “produces little of value for the international marketplace,” the country is a “tropical Cuba Soviet Union,” and a “fixture on the pariah nation short list.” With that out of the way, the report counters the longstanding Bush assumption that the Cuban government’s days were numbered, asserting that repression and economic hardship “will not necessarily translate into political unrest.” The absence of Fidel Castro led the authors to say that “change is again in the air,” and “USINT should move quickly out of its hostile, defensive position as we come to terms with what the post-Fidel transition means and how we manage it…” is a place where the Cuba is “actively seeking positive change through transformational diplomacy” (a phrase of Secretary Rice) and urges, among other things, “prepositioning nearby of logistical materials” – what would that be? – to support a surge in United States presence or programs (pp.13-14). U.S.
- USINT has a two-track approach of inviting dissidents to some functions and cultural elites to others, and the report notes that the State Department’s Western Hemisphere bureau “has stymied most requests for U.S. visa issuance to artists and other cultural elites” (p.16).
- USINT has 23 Internet terminals available for public use, and 25 “close embassy contacts” have permanent passes to use them (p. 16).
government democracy programs fund private organizations to send publications and other materials to U.S. , and apparently much of this material is sent to USINT by diplomatic pouch for our diplomats to distribute. These materials accounted for up to 75 percent of the bulk of diplomatic pouch shipments in some months. USINT doesn’t know in advance what is being shipped and could not distribute about 10 percent of these materials because, the report says, they were “outdated or of questionable utility,” such as brochures promoting travel to Spain (p. 17, p. 47). Cuba
- USINT has people at 15 sites throughout
to monitor Radio and TV Marti. Their reports’ assessment of TV Marti is “bleak” – it “can rarely if ever be received” (p.18). Cuba
- “On two occasions within the past two years, the Cuban government and the U.S. Department of Justice have compared notes on a case of mutual interest” (p. 23).
- The report recommends that the State Department negotiate its way out of the restrictions, initiated by
in 2003, that limit Washington diplomats to U.S. and Cuban diplomats to inside the Washington Beltway (pp. 24-25). Havana
- The authors say that USINT’s electronic billboard “lowered post morale” and resulted in “background hum and increased heat” in USINT’s two executive offices. On two evenings, they “witnessed only a handful of passersby in the small areas where the billboard remains visible.” They refrain from saying it should be removed, but say that initiatives of that type “should undergo a careful cost versus benefit analysis” in advance (pp. 25-26).