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

Rocky transition in Colombia despite U.S. aid

U.S. government agencies have poured nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars into Colombia since 2017. The Agency for International Development led the way with $349,429,424 in grants and contracts followed by the State Department with $292,510,963 and the Department of Defense, $72,437,788. See details of U.S. grants and aid to Colombia, along with a list … Read more

Closing books on “Cuban Twitter” program

On Nov. 30, the Agency for International Development closed out its contract with Xavier Utset, described by the Associated Press as the mastermind behind a secret “Cuban Twitter” program. Utset ran the program for Creative Associates International, then a USAID contractor. He later became an agency employee. Spending records classified Utset as an “undisclosed domestic … Read more

Critics: Contractors part of “shadow government”

USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives spent $237,165,675 on personal service contracts from 2016 to 2018. (See full list of contractors). Some critics say such contracts are difficult to trace and form part of a “shadow government.” OTI has operated in Cuba as part of U.S. government efforts to weaken the socialist government and speed the transition … Read more