The U.S. Agency for International Development is looking to make grants to promote grass-roots economic development in
The idea is contained in a request for grant applications for USAID’s “non-presence assistance program for
In the second component, the “marginalized” Cubans would pool their savings in a lending pool and the USAID grantee would be permitted to match those savings.
This is part of USAID’s larger effort, the document explains, to provide “material support to targeted beneficiaries throughout the island to support the [
Also: USAID “will be in frequent communication with the U.S. Interests Section, in
And USAID issues a warning: “Given the nature of the Cuban regime and the political sensitivity of the USAID Program, USAID cannot be held responsible for any injury or inconvenience suffered by individuals traveling to the island under USAID grant funding.”
Here we go again.
Starting with the positive, I like the idea that the Administration is interested in promoting economic development through credits to Cubans to support entrepreneurial activity.
But the warning to grantees would seem to indicate that the plan is to carry out the project covertly. Regardless of what one thinks about the Cuban government, the U.S. program, or its intentions, such a scheme has severe practical problems (discussed here and here regarding the Alan Gross case) and poses risks both to USAID’s operatives and those they contact in Cuba.