The U.S. government spends millions of dollars trying to promote democracy in Cuba, but most of the money never reaches Cuban activists on the ground.
Take the case of the Directorio Democrático Cubano. The Miami group reported spending $842,851 in 2016, according to tax records filed in May 2017. That included $686,811 in government grants.
Records show that $65,816 – less than 8 percent of total expenses – went directly to Cuban activists. That included:
- $48,156 in support for “civic activities”
- $14,093 for equipment
- $3,567 in humanitarian aid
The civic aid was divided among 3,440 people. That means each activist got about $14, on average.
The humanitarian aid went to 71 people. They received an average of $50.24 each.
Tax records don’t show that any additional Directorio funds went directly to Cuban activists. It’s possible that additional payments are layered into other expense categories.
Some of the Directorio’s other expenses include $105,520 for radio broadcasts and unspecified office expenses in Mexico, Argentina and Santo Domingo.
The group’s director, Orlando Gutierrez, reported a modest salary of $60,230, not including other compensation and benefits.