Cuba sticks with socialism $176 million later


The U.S. government shelled out at least $176,814,772 on democracy-promotion programs in Cuba from 2010 to 2018, spending records show.

The total is an estimate, an imperfect and incomplete number based on figures that the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department reported. But it provides a window into the scope of U.S. government operations in Cuba over the past eight years.

The top five recipients of grants and awards were:

  1. International Republican Institute
  2. Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia
  3. Pan American Development Foundation
  4. National Democratic Institute
  5. Development Alternatives Inc.

A detailed breakdown of the spending – see it here – shows a range of purposes – from “hastening the transition to democracy” to “grassroots civil society building.”

Dates of the awards span 2010 to 2018. Some of the money was for projects that were started before 2010.

I suspect that the $176,814,772 estimate is on the high side. The figure is based on the total amount expected to be awarded. Changes in priorities or unexpected problems can cause projects to end early.

The State Department redacted the name of one recipient who received more than $2.5 million.

The Trump administration and the House and Senate appropriations committees clash over how heavily to support democracy-promotion programs in Cuba.

On Oct. 31, the Congressional Research Service reported:

Congress has continued to provide funding for democracy and human rights assistance in Cuba and for U.S.-government sponsored broadcasting. For FY2017, Congress provided $20 million in democracy assistance and $28.1 million for Cuba broadcasting. For FY2018, it provided $20 million for democracy assistance and $28.9 million for Cuba broadcasting. For FY2019, the Trump Administration requested $10 million in democracy assistance and $13.7 million for Cuba broadcasting. The House Appropriations Committee’s State Department and Foreign Operations appropriations bill, H.R. 6385, would provide $30 million for democracy programs, whereas the Senate version, S. 3108, would provide $15 million; both bills would provide $29 million for broadcasting.

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