American Embassy in Havana wants better understanding of U.S. policy

The U.S. Embassy in Havana is offering grants for projects that “highlight democratic values” and increase the free flow of ideas and information in Cuba. Here’s the announcement: The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Havana is pleased to announce funding availability through its Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program. This program supports projects … Read more

Paper trail reveals foreign influence operations

Foreign powers spend millions of dollars every year trying to influence U.S. government policy. People who fail to register as foreign agents risk jail time. In one high-profile case, U.S. authorities accused Maria Butina of infiltrating the National Rifle Association and other groups to promote Russian interests during the 2016 presidential election. She pled guilty … Read more

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

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

“Dedicated patriot” stole from U.S. government

The former chief strategy officer for the U.S. Agency for Global Media is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 11 in U.S. District Court in Virginia for felony theft of government funds. Haroon K. Ullah, a former State Department employee, admitted to cheating his employer out of at least $37,082.49, prosecutors say. Ullah is a … Read more