Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Democracy program changes

The U.S. government’s Cuba democracy grants will be shifted away from Miami-based groups and toward Washington organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy and the International Republican Institute, according to a story in the current issue of CubaNews.

With CubaNews’ kind permission, here’s a pdf of the article by reporter Ana Radelat.

The point of the shift, a State Department spokeswoman says, is to “give the money to organizations that can best address the needs on the ground.” A prominent Miami grantee, the Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia, is debating whether to re-apply for additional funds.

A shift to the NED and IRI would not necessarily cut Miami organizations out of the picture, because NED and IRI are grantmakers themselves, and have worked with groups in Miami such as the Directorio. It seems that the decision will ensure that the grantmaking is done from the perspective of people who work all around the world, not just in Cuba.

The article also includes debate about the form of aid given to dissidents. Direct cash aid to dissidents is not barred by law, but it has not been allowed because of a decision by USAID that was taken during the Clinton Administration. That decision has stood all through the Bush Administration, in spite of complaints that cash is the most effective aid.

My thanks to CubaNews for permission to link to this article. For more about this fine monthly, check out the website where back issues are posted, along with subscription information.


Anonymous said...

The further away from Miami the better. That place is inbred.

Anonymous said...

Check out this article from the International Communist League...

They defend Cuba militarily from the "counter-revolution" but not politically...interesting though idealistic...

Anonymous said...

I think history has shown that tens of millions given to Miami groups have not been spent wisely and at best have had a very negligible effect. These groups have become miny bureaucracies that continue to find ways to spend millions of tax payers money - sometimes with good intentions, but certainly not always.

The US should also realize that you can not simply give cash to dissidents. This is primary reason 70 dissidents were put in jail. From the US point of view it seemed perfectly acceptable to give them money and other support and unjust for them to be jailed, but you have to look at it rationally. What would the US do if a foreign country sent money and equipment to a group of Americans with the sole intention of trying to bring down the government. I believe that's called treason and its not completely unreasonable to see why they would be put in jail.

In the end, this funding is just like the entire US Cuban policy and is not based in reason but in the desire for Florida votes.

Anonymous said...

Interviewing that slob Larry Birns on aid to Cuban dissidents? What, the spokesman from the Interest Section wasn't available???