U.S. budgets $20 million for anti-Cuba groups
Published Apr 24, 2010 6:35 AM
For 50 years the U.S. government has tried to develop a counter-revolutionary
movement in Cuba. While it has been defeated at every turn, it is once again
pouring money into this campaign.
Using deceptive language, the U.S. State Department and the Agency for
International Development (USAID) have announced that they intend to direct up
to $20 million in funds “for human rights and civil society initiatives
in support of the Cuban people.” Washington’s real goal is to
undermine the Cuban revolution and turn Cubans into U.S. agents.
The funds include $2.9 million allegedly to “support efforts to promote
greater freedom of expression on the island, especially among artists,
musicians, poets, writers, journalists and bloggers”; $2.6 million to
increase access to technology and new media to support “the strengthening
of independent civil society organizations and networks”; and $2.5
million to Creative Associates “to reach out to new sectors of Cuban
society to expand the network of independent actors working together toward
positive, democratic change on the island.”
While the U.S. government bars most of its citizens from traveling to Cuba and
spending money there, a select few have been allowed to go freely — in
order to deliver money and telecommunications equipment to its collaborators.
These trips were cancelled in December after the arrest of Alan Gross by Cuban
authorities as he was distributing equipment to such groups. Gross is a
contractor with USAID, which has long been used as a front by the CIA. The
Obama administration recently allowed these trips to resume.
The funding program also provides $1.5 million to so-called “political
prisoners,” those who have been tried and convicted of trying to sabotage
the Cuban revolution. A person convicted by Cuban courts of collaborating with
the USAID program can receive a sentence of up to 20 years.
This funding is particularly hypocritical considering that the U.S. has more
than 2 million people locked up in prisons and jails, many serving sentences
decades long. The U.S. also has jailed the Cuban Five for nearly 12 years. The
Five, who infiltrated CIA-backed, right-wing terrorist organizations operating
in the U.S. in order to monitor and stop their plans to attack Cuba, were given
sentences ranging from 15 years to two consecutive life terms.
The program also provides $500,000 to assist “independent” labor
unions — meaning anti-socialist organizations — and to publicize
any problems with Cuban labor conditions internationally. This is ludicrous.
Anti-union legislation exists in much of the U.S. and workers pay the price: 29
miners in West Virginia just died because of preventable hazards in a non-union
mine. While unions are on the defensive in the U.S. because of mass layoffs and
lack of legal protection, they play a central role in Cuban society, which in
turn provides free education and healthcare for everyone.
Women are trafficked and abused in the U.S. every day, yet the USAID program
sanctimoniously budgets $350,000 for “women’s rights and to combat
commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls.”
On April 15, President Barack Obama attended a Democratic Party fundraiser in
Miami Beach hosted by pop singer Gloria Estefan, a well-known opponent of the
Cuban government. Estefan’s father was one of the anti-communist Cubans
involved in the failed April 1961 U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
Estefan asked for Obama’s help to get counter-revolutionaries out of
prison in Cuba.
Luis Posada Carriles brags of masterminding the destruction of a civilian Cuban
airliner. The Venezuelan government is trying to get him extradited from the
U.S. to stand trial in Caracas. The Venezuelan lawyer in this case, Jose
Pertierra, reported that the U.S. budget for creating a social opposition
allied with the interests of Miami and the White House escalated under George
W. Bush, growing from $3.5 million in 2000 to $45 million in 2008.
Pertierra noted that the State Department froze the funding program last year
until an investigation of the project was completed. The investigation was
initiated after the General Accountability Office reported that groups in Miami
had misused millions of dollars. Sen. John Kerry, chair of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, put a temporary hold on the funding program pending an
investigation of its effectiveness.
The renewed funding program shows that the Obama administration continues U.S.
hostility toward Cuba. While Obama eased restrictions on travel to Cuba and on
money remittances for Cuban Americans, he has done nothing to lift the
blockade. And instead of freeing the Cuban Five, he has spoken out on behalf of
those jailed in Cuba for working with the U.S. to destroy the Cuban
Kerry may well be right, however, to question the program’s
“effectiveness.” Cubans for over 50 years have shown they are
determined to remain independent and socialist, whatever Washington does.
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