USAID’s Cuba Programs Are Counterproductive

Controversy. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — Instead of contributing to the democratization process the United States claims to support, the programs impelled by USAID on the island afford the Cuban government more pretexts for its anti-democratic and repressive policies. Below is the opinion that those who champion a participative and democratic form of socialism have regarding those programs.

Declaration of the supporters of Participative and Democratic Socialism

US leaders, interested in showing their electorates and Congress that they are concerned about and actively involved in promoting “democracy” in Cuba, take misguided steps time and time again, deploying counterproductive programs aimed at impelling a “democratic transition” on the island.

Not long ago, it was the Twitter-like Zunzuneo program, and now we are hearing about the sending of young Latin Americans to Cuba, tasked with “identifying” potential young leaders for “transition or destabilization” plans, depending on one’s perspective.

Either US leaders do not care one bit about the struggle of the Cuban people to set a true process of peaceful democratization in motion and build a society better than the one they have now, or they are so stubbornly set on prolonging the situation the people of Cuba are in to demonstrate how unviable “socialism” is that they are simply incapable of doing something sensible.

The one thing these kinds of programs implemented by USAID are good for is giving the Cuban government more pretexts to continue with its repressive policies at home and to step up its “customs and immigration controls.”

If it is truly interested in helping the Cuban people develop a process of democratization, what the United States should do is unconditionally lift all of its absurd, discriminatory and criminal blockade-embargo laws, laws which, as we have mentioned in previous articles, do not affect the living standards of the leadership in the least and do serve to justify their anti-democratic and repressive policies.

If the United States wanted to encourage the establishment of broad and free Internet access in Cuba, for instance, it could well approach the Cuban government to negotiate and facilitate Wi-Fi systems and computers at subsidized prices, destine USAID money to universities and other educational institutions in Cuba, facilitate communications for tourism clients or create public areas with fast and free access to the World Wide Web.

US plans to develop a broad Wi-Fi network that could include Cuban space are known. Why don’t the United States try and secure the collaboration of the Cuban government in these plans in a constructive fashion? Don’t they realize that implementing such plans behind the Cuban government’s back only prompts understandable paranoia?

The US government is wrong, very wrong, to believe that, because the Cuban government is chiefly responsible for the economic, social and political disaster Cuba faces, the Cuban people will easily forget its aggression, interventionism, absurd policies and its indirect responsibility for the current situation we are in.

Luckily, more realistic minds in the United States are asking for the lifting of the blockade-embargo.

Let us hope USAID’s recent mess-ups will help the current administration and other US power structures mend their mistakes.

7 thoughts on “USAID’s Cuba Programs Are Counterproductive

  • Burma was geo-politically important because a free Burma, especially one partial the US, pisses China off. Making nice with Cuba helps the US to improve relations with no one. At least no one we care about.

  • Now for your statement:

    “Proof of Cuba’s minor significance in the US foreign policy agenda is further confirmed by the career path of the Head of Station diplomats assigned to Interests Section office in Havana.”
    You make a good observation about the Cuba issue’s position on the Obama administration’s foreign policy wishlist. It is best to put America’s Cuba policy in the same league as US policy towards military-run Burma b/c both these issues are not only non-priorities, but also revolve around the conditioning of lifting sanctions on democracy coming to those countries.

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