The U.S. Agency for International Development has given $1 million to an anti-communist foundation that will promote human rights in Cuba.
I suspect the money is linked to USAID’s pledge to spend up to $3 million to “investigate, collect, and analyze information related to human rights violations – including forced labor – of Cuban medical personnel exported overseas.”
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Inc., is dedicated to educating “this generation and future generations about the ideology, history, and legacy of communism,” the group’s website says.
On Dec. 18, the group and the Organization of American States hosted a conference titled, “The Dark Reality behind the Cuban
Medical Missions.” See details.
The group’s executive director is Marion Smith, who contends that Cuba’s program to send doctors abroad is “dangerous, dehumanizing and downright evil.”
Cuban officials have denied such accusations.
“These lies reveal the low morality of the United States government and its politicians who devoted themselves to the business of aggression against Cuba,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Washington, D.C., foundation also claims, without providing evidence, that Cuban authorities murdered Oswaldo Payá, a human rights activist who died after his car slammed into a tree in eastern Cuba on July 22, 2012.
The foundation posthumously awarded Payá with the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom in 2018. Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas received the medal in 2015.
The foundation sees communism as a growing menace. In October, the group released the results of a survey showing that 36% of millennials in the United States view communism favorably, up 8 points from 2018.
The Washington, D.C., organization says “witnesses with a living memory of 20th century communism are passing away. And an entire generation of Americans is open to collectivist ideas because they don’t know the truth.”
The poll also showed that 27% Americans see Donald Trump as the “biggest threat to world peace” over Kim Jong-Un (22%) and Vladimir Putin (15%).
Smith, a native of South Carolina, has led the foundation since March 2014. He earned an annual salary of $180,000, not including $20,732 in other compensation, in 2017, tax records show.
The $1 million USAID grant is part of at least $5,065,439 that the agency awarded for Cuba projects in September. Other recipients include Outreach Aid to the Americas, Inc., which received two grants worth $1,887,800; Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia, $750,000; International Republican Institute, $686,209; International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, $325,000; Asociación Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos, $250,000; and Liberatus, $166,430. For additional information, see “USAID shells out $2.6 million for Cuba projects” and “USAID will highlight ‘failures of the Cuban revolution.’”