Monday, December 14, 2009

USAID contractor's statement on American detained in Cuba

This statement was cited in news reports over the weekend:

Statement from Dr. Jim Boomgard, President and CEO of Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI)

The New York Times and other media outlets have reported the detention of a U.S. citizen in Cuba linked to DAI.

DAI is a professional economic development organization that has for 40 years been working to bring development benefits to millions of disadvantaged people in more than 100 countries worldwide ( ).

Our prime concern is for the safety, well-being, and quick return to the United States of the detained individual. We have been working closely with the State Department to ensure that the detainee's safety and well-being is given top priority. Given the delicacy of this situation, we ask for media discretion. All inquires should be directed to the State Department.

In 2008, DAI competed for and was awarded a contract, the Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program, to help the U.S. Government implement activities in support of the rule of law and human rights, political competition, and consensus building, and to strengthen civil society in support of just and democratic governance in Cuba

The new program was also designed to help the U.S. Government address challenges raised about some aspects of its program in the past (November 2006 GAO report on US Democracy Assistance for Cuba -- ). DAI was engaged on the basis of its positive track record in development, and its capacity to provide sound management and administration of key aspects of U.S. Government programs such as this one, which involves support for the peaceful activities of a broad range of nonviolent organizations through competitively awarded grants and subcontracts.

The detained individual was an employee of a program subcontractor, which was implementing a competitively issued subcontract to assist Cuban civil society organizations.

[December 12, 2009]


Anonymous said...

Perhaps this will result in two outcomes?

(1) Will they quietly let him go?

(2) Or will they treat him as we treated the cuban 5 spies.

Could they not use him as bargaining tool to get back one of the C. five?

What was UASID thinking? On the surface the actions are benign enough, but this is very dangerous stuff given that such actions could be construed as a foreigner fomenting regime change. This is not a good charge in any country, particularly in Cuba, particularly if you are funded by USA.

I've seen a lot of comments on other blogs comparing this action to what 'pastors of peace' do. BUT there is big difference, it was funded by US gov. In other words, kinda of like contras, but instead of weaponns its cell phones and computers to locals who are calling for change in system??

Do any other governments in the world promote such actions in cuba?

The fact that USA gov. money was involved is the key point. It changes the entire equation in all of this. As it would in any country.

leftside said...

First off, I am sure the State Dept and DAI owe gratitude to this blog for printing their press release verbatim, without comment. Cheers.

Second, we don't know much else about this case excpet what US authorities and DAI have told us.

But we do know that the individual arrived in Cuba on false pretenses (tourist visa). He obviously failed to register as an agent of a foreign power, which in the US carries a maximum sentance of 10 years, which can be added to significantly if the intent was shown to be against US interests.

We know the distribution of communications equipment was involved (including satellite phones). We know this was part of a US Government conceived and promoted program of subversion in Cuba (something tells me the equipment were not going to CDRs or social organizations there - they were going to our political allies who want to dissolve the Revolution).

With this information we know that the Obama Adminstration has not ended its funding of direct subversion in Cuba. In fact, it appears the work has "progressed" in a way that responds to the criticisims of ineffectiveness contained in the CAO report. And we now know the real reason Obama allowed the entry of communications equipment into Cuba - so he coulod hire people to bring them directly to the Cuban opposition - so they will be better coordinated and be able to be in quicker communication with their masters in DC, Miami (and a few interlocuters in Havana, who tell us who is trustworthy or not).

And the comparision to the Cuban Five case has to be made. The Five were certainly unregistered Foriegn Agents, but they were on a mission that has been fully investigated and found to pose to risk to US security or US interests. These were men defending Cuba from groups that have shown a propensity for violent action. The DAI employee was working to undermine Cuba at the service of a nation that maintains a policy of regime change. This case was an extension of this illegal, internationally condemnded policy.

And I am sure there is more to know. The fact that Havana has not commented does lead one to beleive they are still investigating and/or trying to handle this behind closed doors with the US. But Cuba can not and will not tolerate the US funding and organizing a political opposition.

Anyone claiming to be a true patriotic opposition member or group should denounce this (and the larger US policy) from the rafters and make clear they want no part of US assistance (aws mnany have said before). Why the US does not listen and thinks we know better shows our own hubris and misguidedness.

Anonymous said...

typical american policy towards cuba, simply a physical expression of the commission for assistance to a free cuba
and the press release basically admits guilt in interfering in another countries internal matters. when this is done by a foreign agent, when the foreign agent is from a country that has such a long history of aggression against cuba, well what did anyone expect.

this in no way compares to the cuban five.

and don't even dare say all he was bringing was cell phones etc, course that's the only come back the gusanos will have.
50 years of hostility and still the americans haven't got frigging clue.

Anonymous said...

left side is on fire with his/her post. It speaks many truths.

right on dude.

John McAuliff said...

The contract in question antedates the Obama Administration and absent a director at USAID and an Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs probably proceeded based on bureaucratic inertia.

To have a chance of obtaining the freedom of its subcontractor employee, Development Alternatives Inc. or the State Department probably must apologize to Cuba for its attempted interference in domestic affairs and promise it will not fund other similar efforts.

If the Administration is serious about moving toward normal bilateral relations, DAI and USAID should suspend all further programs within Cuba unless they are appropriately vetted by host government authorities as is normal in international aid programs.

My own thoughts about the solution to this inherent contradiction in the policy of the Obama Administration can be seen here

John McAuliff
Fund for Reconciliation and Development

Anonymous said...

McAuliff: "the State Department probably must apologize to Cuba for its attempted interference in domestic affairs"

Exactly correct. Imperialist aggression against Cuba is to be condemned! To even THINK that the Cuban people are in any way deprived of "human rights" is an insult to the revolutionary Masses. Surely every peaceloving person knows how easy it is to hide explosives and poison gases in "computers" and "cell phones."

If these imperialistas had even an ounce of sense, they would release the Five Heroes to go home in triumph, where their first new task would be to take part in the firing squad to liquidate the Informational Terrrorist sent to the First Free Territory of the Americas to set off computer bombs.

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed, the regime water-carriers are in full parade mode! Only truly twisted minds would condemn what this gentleman may have been up to -- bringing some material relief to hopeless, impoverished Cubans. Drink up, you miscreants, enjoy your moment, because History won't absolve your favorite tyrant, it will condemn him like all others, and when the Cuban nightmare is finally over, the Cuban people this man helped will probably erect a statue in his honor for daring to care, and do something, about their plight.


Anonymous said...

These people interfering in Cuba's internal affairs claim to be acting under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the right to "seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Obviously the Obama administration has failed to notice the "Cuba exclusion clause" in Article 19. Eh, Johnny Boy?

Anonymous said...

Thank you to the US for caring about Human Rights in Cuba! This wouldn't be necessary if Cuban gov allows free flow of information instead of using every dime the get to repress their people.