Cuba and US-AID Funds for Journalism

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES — The political wing of United States foreign policy is offering up to $3 million dollars each for two projects to break the through the state-controlled media monopoly in Cuba.

The US-AID funds are the latest in 53 years of overt and covert programs trying to topple the Cuban government and install a new one friendly to US corporate and government interests.

“Consistent with overall United States policy toward Cuba, the United States Government’s foreign assistance program seeks to support the application of innovative digital technologies to facilitate access to uncensored information. Foreign assistance is also being used to increase grassroots participation; expand civil society networks; provide humanitarian assistance to political prisoners; support human rights activists; and support Cubans in their pursuit of fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” states the US-AID program announcement.

Cubadebate, the leading Cuban government website, noted in response that should the new “contractors” suffer the same fate as Alan Gross, the US government ­– so concerned about its citizens – makes it clear that: “Given the nature of the regime of the country of operations and the political sensitivity of the US-AID program, US-AID cannot be held responsible for any injury or inconvenience suffered by individuals traveling to or operating in the country under US-AID funding.”  

Alan Gross is serving the third of a 15-year sentence for attempting to equip dissidents with sophisticated illegal communications equipment while working for Development Alternatives Inc. under a US-AID contract.

6 thoughts on “Cuba and US-AID Funds for Journalism

  • us-aid to get people to think in a certain way? you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. the opposition doesn’t want to be an economic colony again. they know their own history. the platt amendment. the mafia as advisors to batista. u.n. sanctions on iraq which were not really u.n. sanctions did not make the coalition forces welcome. this has been stated many times before. the iraqi people had been suffering for 12 years under u.n. sanctions and the secretary of defense expected a new liberation of paris with the girls in the street with flowers and then reconstruction would be paid for with tourism of the ancient monuments and museums. the national museum was looted while u.s. troops watched. cuban tourism is doing fairly well and reconstructing the economy has been going on for 21 years.

  • in the 1960s & 1970s there were revolutionary groups in america that thought that they had a perfect right to overthrow the u.s. government. within countries there is no legal right to do so and under international law there is no right to overthrow other governments by any means including subversion. the cuban government came to power by revolution and so did many others including the u.s. government and the dutch were the first to recognise the revolutionary government……. and run guns from st.eustace in the nederlandse antillies.

    i was in the philipines for the revolution against marcos. i said to an american…… that the rebels have the helicopters they should put a few rockets into the palace. he said………..they’ll work it out their own way. a canadian said to me…..all marcos has to do is drop a few artillery shells on epifanio de los santos avenue. i later said to the canadian……..the rebel station is telling the people not to loot the palace so they must be looting the palace. marcos is gone.

  • i was surprised when i went to cuba at the large numbers of american products sold there and the american brands of products manufactured elsewhere. i am certain that the cuban government or people would buy any american product if the quality and price was right. normalization of diplomatic and trade relations has been the consistently stated policy of the cuban government for decades. americans do not have to own the cuban government in order to do business in cuba. 2 recent time magazines had lead stories on how american companies are making money hand over fist in china and it’s a long time since americans have tried to tell china what to do because they are ignored. there is the occasional complaint about the value of renminbi. in fact, increasingly, american foreign policy wishes are ignored by big and small countries alike. everybody knows that those wishes can no longer be enforced.

  • Having read through the US AID Request for Proposals, this has to be one of the most irresponsible and hare-brained schemes I’ve run across in many years. Aren’t there better uses for the up to $6 million US tax dollars involved like paying down the bloated the US government debt?

    And this from a government that violates the rights of its own citizens to freely travel to Cuba and occasionally stops US companies from digital technologies available there. These are much more effective ways to break the stranglehold of Cuban state media and wouldn’t cost US taxpayers a cent.

    The only benefit I see to this misguided initiative is to placate the anti-Castro Cuba lobby in an election year while handing an undeserved propaganda victory to the Castro regime.

  • Here is how a similar statement by a hypothetical “Cuban Agency for International Development” might look:

    “ ‘Consistent with overall Cuba policy toward the United States, the Cuban Government’s foreign assistance program seeks to support the application of innovative digital technologies to facilitate access to uncensored information. Foreign assistance is also being used to increase grassroots participation; expand civil society networks; provide humanitarian assistance to political prisoners; support human rights activists; and support United States citizens in their pursuit of fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression and freedom of the press,’ states the CUBA-AID program announcement.”

    Such an “announcement”–which would never happen–would be an obvious violation of US sovereignty. “Why isn’t it obvious that the US-AID announcement is a violation of Cuba’s sovereignty?”

  • Circles, there will be no lack of bidders for these contracts. Granted, some of those who bid would have a snowballs chance in hell of even getting through Cuban immigration and into Cuba. But be assured that the winning bidders will not only enter Cuba but likely, because of the Alan Gross experience, be a lot smarter in how they conduct themselves. Americans fear Muslim terrorists, so the possibility that a Muslim neighbor or coworker may be a terrorists motivates ordinary Americans to report their suspicions. In Cuba, Cubans are more afraid of Cuban counterintelligence than they are of the next Alan Gross. As a result, an American contractors who does not raise the suspicions of Cuban security can visit Cuba, make friends, give gifts and leave with hardly a stir, especially if he or she is Cuban.

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