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

How much democracy aid reaches Cuba?

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. … Read more