USAID is asking for basic information about the operations it is funding in Cuba and one of its grantees, Freedom House, says the questions are more than onerous. Freedom House is returning a $1.7 million grant, the Herald reports, and will stick with $1.3 million it received from the State Department for other Cuba programs.
Where to begin?
First, this would seem to close the book on the debate over whether our foreign aid agency is running covert operations in Cuba. Its own grantee is saying that it can’t run its programs in secret if it doesn’t keep them secret from the government that funds them.
Second, it’s good that USAID is trying to get on top of its own operations in Cuba. The questions might not be necessary in other countries, but this is a place where one USAID operative landed in jail, and where the principal contacts in other operations have turned out to be Cuban intelligence agents. (See here and here.) Whether you like the programs or not, that amounts to a complete waste of money. Does anyone doubt that all the equipment that Alan Gross delivered was confiscated, and that his entire operation provided zero value for the U.S. tax dollars invested in it?