US increases funding to undermine Cuban government

News from Cuba | Friday, 13 July 2012

The US State Department has allocated another $20m to encourage subversion in Cuba in an effort to undermine the island’s sovereign government.

A letter sent by the State Department to Congress revealed that the funds will be managed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor (DRL) and the Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau (WHA).

The letter was released two days after various ALBA countries - including Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua - resolved to expel USAID from their territories. A joint statement explained the expulsion “on the grounds that their presence and activities are a factor of disturbance which threatens the sovereignty and political stability of our nations.”

According to Cuban newspaper Granma, USAID’s objective, “is not to benefit the Cuban people, but to reinforce individuals who back the policy of ‘regime change’ with access to technology, by facilitating internet services and devices only to collaborators identified with that goal.”

Increased US funding is aimed at “democracy promotion” in Cuba. According to the letter, funds will go towards training activists to use social media and providing “material support” for alleged human rights activists and independent journalists. Many independent journalists attend weekly teleconferences at the US Interest Section in Havana and are promoted through media campaigns and are granted prestigious international prizes.

Whilst USAID has been tasked with expanding the use of technology available on the island, it emerged that US blockade sanctions have forced Google Analytics to block access in Cuba. Rosa Miriam Elizalde, editor of CubaDebate, said that "it is yet another expression of how the US embargo is executed, not only ignoring global public opinion, but also using all these policies to show that Cuba is an enemy of the internet."

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