State Department spent $1,263,694,937 to fuel political transitions

The State Department’s Office of Transition Initiatives, or OTI, says it has carried out “over 60 engagements in conflict-prone countries by promoting reconciliation, jumpstarting local economies, supporting emerging independent media, and fostering peace and democracy through innovative programming.” Dig through OTI’s budget and you’ll see such intriguing items as “develop an internal and external communication … Read more

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USAID shells out $2.6 million for Cuba projects

In late September, the U.S. Agency for International Development awarded $2,677,639 to six nonprofit groups for democracy promotion in Cuba. The recipients and grant amounts are below: Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia: $750,000. International Republican Institute: $686,209. Outreach Aid to the Americas Inc.: $500,000. International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights: $325,000. Asociación … Read more

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The rise and fall of ZunZuneo

Trying to create a social network in Cuba is tricky business, especially if you want to hide from users the fact that the U.S. government is paying for it. But ZunZuneo grew rapidly, attracting 55,000 mobile phone users in Cuba by 2012. The U.S. Agency for International Development hired a private company, Creative Associates International, … Read more

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Those pesky middle initials

Earlier today I wrote a blog post about Robert C. O’Brien, the newly appointed National Security Adviser. I was eager share what I thought was an amazing story. Robert O’Brien and his wife had traveled to Cuba in 2002 and it had been an amazing experience, one that caused them to think about Cuba in … Read more

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Trump claims to be tougher on Cuba than hardline advisor

HAVANA – Adelaida Borges spent decades as a schoolteacher before finding fame as a fortune teller. Her flamboyant outfits and long, colorful fingernails have drawn hordes of American visitors, from Beyoncé and Katy Perry to Michelle Obama. But for all her powers, 77-year-old Borges says she never imagined U.S.-Cuba relations would fall apart so quickly. … Read more

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