The State Department is offering up to $2 million to organizations that will promote human rights in Cuba.
An award announcement stated:
“Proposals should offer a specific vision for contributing to change while acknowledging and developing contingencies for challenges to program implementation.”
The announcement accuses Cuba of denying its citizens “many of the human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
U.S. officials blame Cuba’s medical diplomacy program, which has sent thousands of doctors around the world to treat people in underdeveloped nations.
The document states:
This repression is financed in large part by the labor exploitation of medical workers and other service providers, who receive only a fraction of the salaries paid by third countries for their services and often face threats from their Cuban government handlers to discourage them from absconding.
The State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, which goes by the initials DRL, expects to make three to five awards. The minimum amount awarded will be $500,000. The announcement stated:
“DRL prefers innovative approaches rather than projects that simply duplicate or add to ongoing efforts by other entities. This does not exclude projects that clearly build on existing successful projects in a new way.
“Proposals should also include concrete initiatives that address recent developments on the island and have the potential to generate short-term impacts while leading to long-term sustainable change.
“Programs should be demand-driven and locally led to the extent possible.”
Cuban agents often infiltrate U.S. government democracy programs, capturing resources intended for dissidents.
U.S. officials have said such losses are to be expected.
The State Department announcement stated:
“DRL does not fund programs for Cuba that support the Cuban government, including Cuban government institutions, individuals employed by those institutions, or organizations controlled by government institutions.”
The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on June 1.
Applicants may be “U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/nongovernment organizations and public international organizations; private, public, or state institutions of higher education; and for-profit organizations or businesses. DRL’s preference is to work with non-profit entities; however, there may be some occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited.
“Applicants may form consortia in order to bring together organizations with varied expertise to propose a comprehensive program in one proposal. However, one organization should be designated in the proposal as the lead applicant, with the other members designated as sub-award partners.”
The awards given will be either grants or cooperative agreements “depending on the needs and risk factors of the program.”
The final determination on award mechanism will be made by the Grants Officer. The distinction between grants and cooperative agreements revolves around the existence of “substantial involvement.” Cooperative agreements require greater Federal government participation in the project. If a cooperative agreement is awarded, DRL will undertake reasonable and programmatically necessary substantial involvement. Examples of substantial involvement can include, but are not limited to:
- Active participation or collaboration with the recipient in the implementation of the award.
- Review and approval of one stage of work before another can begin.
- Review and approval of substantive provisions of proposed subawards or contracts beyond existing Federal policy.
- Approval of the recipient’s budget or plan of work prior to the award.
“The total duration of any award, including potential non-competitive continuation amendments, shall not exceed 60 months, or five years.”