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

Promoting democracy or shaping a slanted narrative?

Over the past two decades, the U.S. government has spent millions of dollars on projects aimed at boosting independent journalism and the free flow of information in Cuba. The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, pay contractors to do the work. One contractor, the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, … Read more

Covert operations now a multibillion-dollar enterprise

U.S. officials approved 305 covert actions against Cuba from January 1961 to February 1967, according to a State Department document on covert actions. Officers didn’t need approval from higher-ups unless the covert actions were expected to cost at least $25,000 – or $200,262.50 in today’s dollars. Today the U.S. government “black budget” for covert operations, … Read more

U.S. spends $1.5 million to train Cuban leaders

In June 2015, the State Department announced a program to send at least 15 Cubans to graduate school in the United States so they could “more effectively establish, lead, manage, and grow independent organizations in Cuba.” On Sept. 30, 2015, the International Research and Exchanges Board, or IREX, snagged the contract, worth $1,584,158. The Cuban … Read more

Secrets along the money trail

Government spending records are easier to decipher than they were a decade ago, but U.S. government projects in Cuba are still cloaked in secrecy. A Washington, D.C., friend said he wondered if finding out about such projects just might be “mission impossible now.” He said: The bureaucracy now hides it under multiple layers of operational … Read more