The Sticky Issue in Cuba of Government and Foreign Funding

Photo: Juan Suarez
Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — While the Cuban government and Communist Party finance, control and monitor all media and any legal organizations in the country, the US government funds several organizations, some based inside Cuba and some abroad, trying to effect policy or regime change on the island.

The Cuban government accuses Washington of meddling in its internal affairs.  Meanwhile, many Cuban citizens accuse the Cuban government of limiting the civil, economic and human rights of citizens on the island.

The strings tied to being on the Cuban government payroll or receiving US government funding and what that means is expressed in different ways. We invite our readers to comment on both sides of the coin. If you feel there are grey areas on this issue please include them.

One of the largest sources of funding for US government sponsored projects is the government-financed National Endowment for Democracy (NED).  Tracey Eaton of the alongthemalecon website has just listed the projects funded by NED in their 2015 annual report.

NED’s Cuba projects

NED_logoThe U.S. government-financed National Endowment for Democracy, or NED, supports the following projects in Cuba:

Advocating for a Human Rights Framework for Cuba
International Platform for Human Rights in Cuba
To advocate for human rights in the European Union negotiations with the Cuban government. IPHRC will work with Cuban activists to enhance their understanding of the EU – Cuba bilateral negotiation process and improve their capacity to advocate before the EU for the inclusion of human rights into the agenda.

Advocating for Freedom of Religion in Cuba
Evangelical Christian Humanitarian Outreach for Cuba
To foster greater freedom of religion in Cuba. EchoCuba will work with trusted partners in Cuba to hold events and produce materials that encourage discussion of freedom of religion, democratic values and freedoms.

Changing Cuba’s Media Landscape
Clovek v tisni, o.p.s. – People in Need
To promote greater freedom of information and freedom of expression. The organization will provide independent media professionals with training and technical assistance to produce uncensored content on social, political, economic and cultural developments in Cuba. The group will also build the technical capacity of independent organizations throughout Cuba to carry out initiatives aimed at increasing the free flow of information.

Cuba Archive: Promoting Historic Memory and Transitional Justice
Free Society Project, Incorporated
To strengthen the historic memory of human rights violations in Cuban history, and to contribute to the domestic and international dialogue regarding truth, transitional justice, and reconciliation within Cuban society. The organization will build upon its database and produce high quality reports analyzing victims’ cases. The group will also enhance international visibility of the issue and collaborate with Cuban human rights defenders to present the research.

Diario de Cuba
Asociacion Diario de Cuba
To strengthen the ability of Cuban civil society to articulate its concerns and to promote freedom of expression. Diario de Cuba will provide a platform for independent journalists, artists, intellectuals and academics in Cuba to promote analysis on social, political, economic and cultural developments in Cuba.

Educating Activists on Democracy, Technology and Social Media
Instituto Politico para la Libertad Peru
To offer Cuban pro-democracy activists training on democracy and the use of the Internet and social networking media. The program will provide youth and other pro-democracy activists with training on democratic rights, access to information tools and information on international standards of freedom of expression.

Increasing Access to Uncensored Information
Cuban Democratic Directorate
To promote greater freedom of information and civic activism in Cuba. Through its radio broadcasts, the grantee will provide programming that incorporates the views of democratic activists from Cuba and informs local communities about social, political, economic and cultural developments. The organization will also provide training and technical assistance to local grassroots activists to carry out civic and community-building initiatives throughout Cuba.

Independent Cuban Artist’s Freedom of Expression
Cuban Soul Foundation, Inc.
To empower Cuban independent artists to produce and perform their work in uncensored community venues and events. CSF will also collaborate with groups of musicians to set up studio space and organize a series of events to showcase the work of artists participating in their program.

Latin American Youth Network for Democracy in Cuba
Centro de Investigacion y Capacitacion de Emprendedores Sociales Asociacion Civil
To strengthen the leadership capacity of pro-democracy youth activists in Cuba. CICES will conduct a training program focusing on youth activism, social entrepreneurship, effective communication skills, and conflict resolution techniques. In addition, CICES will work with its partners to raise awareness in Latin America about the situation of youth in Cuba.

Legal Training to Cuban Civil Society
Rule of Law
To provide legal assistance to Cuban citizens and pro-democracy activists.

Monitoring Human Rights in Cuba
Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos
Supplement: $83,687
To engage international audiences and raise awareness regarding the human rights situation in Cuba. OCDH will facilitate meetings for key representatives of Cuban civil society to voice their views about the human rights situation in Cuba in the United States, Latin America and Europe.

Observing Human Rights
Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos
To monitor, document, and raise international awareness about human rights violations in Cuba. OCDH will work with human rights defenders in Cuba to enhance their capacity to use international human rights mechanisms to document and report human rights violations. OCDH will raise international awareness about human rights conditions in Cuba.

Promoting Citizen Participation
Civic Education
To promote greater interaction between pro-democracy activists and citizens as they seek solutions to community problems. Activists will work with community members in documenting issues of concern to them and bringing them to local authorities for resolution.

Promoting Community Reporting in Cuba
Instituto Cubano por la Libertad de Expresion y Prensa
To promote greater freedom of information in communities throughout Cuba. The project will support grassroots groups across the island and help them develop and publish community-based publications to be distributed to local residents.

Promoting Democracy in Cuba through Support to Civil Society
Center for a Free Cuba
To provide humanitarian assistance to political prisoners, their families, and human rights activists in Cuba. CFC will provide activists with resources that will permit them to carry out their work in a more effective manner.

Promoting Democratic Leadership and Values in Cuba
Civic Education
To promote democratic values and ideas and strengthen the leadership skills of pro-democracy activists in Cuba. The grantee will carry out a training program and an information campaign on peaceful activism, community organizing, human rights, and democracy.

Promoting Independent Thinking in Cuba
Asociacion Editorial Hypermedia
To promote greater freedom of expression and independent writing among members of Cuba’s intellectual circles.

Promoting Political Unity for a Democratic Cuba
Asociacion de Iberoamericanos por la Libertad
To promote dialogue and cooperation among civil society actors based on the island and in exile. AIL will also raise greater international awareness about the lack of democratic values in Cuba.

Promoting Racial Integration
Plataforma de Integracion Cubana
To promote greater discussion on racial issues in Cuba. The organization will work with academics and activists to publish an online journal on various issues affecting the Afro-descendent population in Cuba. In addition, it will conduct various public events to raise international awareness about the issue.

Promoting Youth Leadership and Participation
Democratic Ideas and Values
To promote democratic values and leadership skills of Cuban civil society activists.

Providing Legal Assistance in Cuba
Rule of Law
To provide legal assistance to Cuban citizens and civil society activists.

Strengthening the Capacity of Civil Society in Democratic Political Processes
Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos
To enhance the capacity of Cuban civil society activists to participate in and promote democratic and pluralistic elections on the island. The grantee will provide technical assistance to a local partner to draft proposals to change the Electoral Law according to internationally recognized democratic standards. Through a training program and election observation missions, the group will also seek to enhance the knowledge of Cuban activists about free and fair elections.

Strengthening the Capacity of Human Rights Defenders
International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights
To enhance the knowledge and advocacy skills of Cuban human rights defenders in the LGBT community.

Strengthening the Capacity of Human Rights Lawyers
American University
To strengthen the capacity of independent Cuban lawyers on international human rights mechanisms. AU will invite Cuban lawyers to participate in its annual human rights training courses. AU will also facilitate efforts to raise awareness about the human rights situation in Cuba.

Strengthening the Capacity of Independent Civic Centers
People in Need Slovakia (PIPA)
To enhance the capacity of pro-democracy activists to think critically about the prospects for a democratic transition in Cuba. PIPA will work with groups of independent lawyers, bloggers, teachers, and community organizers to strengthen their institutional capacity and ability to carry out their activities more effectively.

Support to Independent Investigative Journalists in Cuba
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad
To strengthen the investigative reporting skills of Cuban independent journalists and raise their profile in Cuba and Latin America.

Supporting Human Rights Activists
Human Rights
To provide humanitarian assistance and strengthen the capacity of human rights defenders in Cuba. Additionally, the organization will raise international awareness about human rights in Cuba.

Supporting Independent Journalists in Cuba
CubaNet News, Inc.
To increase access to uncensored information in Cuba. The grantee will work with independent journalists to produce media content on social, political, economic and cultural developments in Cuba. The organization will publish this information on its online media platform and use informal citizen networks to distribute uncensored information to Cuban citizens.

Supporting Independent Unions in Cuba
Grupo Internacional para la Responsabilidad Social Corporativa en Cuba
To promote labor rights and strengthen the capacity of Cuba’s independent labor movement. The grantee will provide independent labor activists with technical and financial assistance in order to forge a more coordinated labor movement on the island. The organization will also conduct a worldwide information dissemination campaign on the situation regarding labor rights in Cuba.

Supporting Independent Writers and Artists in Cuba
Vista Larga Foundation Corp
To strengthen the capacity of independent Cuban writers and artists to produce and exhibit their work in uncensored community events and to promote greater collaboration between Cuban and Cuban-American intellectuals. The organization will carry art and literature festivals for participants to present books and artwork and to connect with others in their field. The group will also provide mentorship for writers to improve their work and to learn how to present and publish to a larger audience.

From the 2015 NED Annual Report

3 thoughts on “The Sticky Issue in Cuba of Government and Foreign Funding

  • October 5, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    If Only?

  • September 30, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    I thought all the projects supported through NED, were supposed to be non political. Majority of the listed projects sure seem to have a political angle attached to their titles!!!!!

  • September 30, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    The US Gov is wasting it’s money. Getting out of way best approach to promote progress in Cuba.

Comments are closed.