U.S. official threatens to quit Internet task force

Tomás Regalado, director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, threatened to resign from the Cuba Internet Task Force if members did not agree to reject any deals with the Cuban government. Radio & TV Martí quoted Regalado as saying: My position was very clear. I said that as a member of this commission I asked, … Read more

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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

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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

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Back in the saddle again

As the U.S. government steps up the pressure on Cuba, the State Department is relying on a veteran diplomat with experience in hotspots throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Michael G. Kozak is a senior official at State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, or DRL. He was born in Pasadena, California, on … Read more

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Nearly four years after release, Alan Gross is grateful

My Nov. 29 post about the Alan Gross case led to some lively debate on Facebook. I had raised the possibility that U.S. officials were slow to negotiate for the release of the American development worker because hardline Florida lawmakers needed a victim. Janet Ballantyne, a former honcho at the Agency for International Development, had … Read more

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