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

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

USAID shells out $2.6 million for Cuba projects

In late September, the U.S. Agency for International Development awarded $2,677,639 to six nonprofit groups for democracy promotion in Cuba. The recipients and grant amounts are below: Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia: $750,000. International Republican Institute: $686,209. Outreach Aid to the Americas Inc.: $500,000. International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights: $325,000. Asociación … 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