NGOs sink millions of dollars into Cuba fight


The grudge match over Cuba has got to be one of the most hotly contested fights ever.
Dozens of U.S.-based non-profit organizations have sunk millions of dollars into the Cuba cause. Groups that oppose the socialist government outnumber and outspend NGOs that seek improved relations between the two countries.
Some NGOs receive support from such U.S. government agencies as the State Department and the Agency for International Development. Others receive no U.S. government funds and rely on donations from friends strangers and wealthy benefactors.
Some groups give money to Cuban dissidents. Others stay out of Cuba’s internal affairs and have nothing to do with politics.
Below is a sampling of U.S.-based NGOs that have some connection to Cuba. Click on the group’s name to see the most recent tax record it has submitted to the Internal Revenue Service.

Fundación Para la Democracia Panamericana, Miami, Florida. Total revenue in 2017: $125,805. Purpose: Group “participates in international forums and hearings to inform on the current status of democracy and respect for human rights,” “promotes human rights and democracy at universities and similar educational settings and in collaboration with the Latin American Youth Network for Democracy. FDP develops materials to promote the Cuba Decide Initiative for holding a binding plebiscite in Cuba. FDP also supports the annual Oswald Payá ‘Libertad y Vida’ Award, which recognizes an individual or organization that has distinguished themselves in the advancement of human rights and democracy in the Pan-American region.” Website.

Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy, Wayland, Massachusetts. Gross receipts in 2017: $421,237. Purpose: “Charitable, educational and civic activities. Promote democracy, human rights and governance in Latin American and Caribbean countries and engagement with universal values.” Website.

Plantados until Freedom and Democracy in Cuba, Miami. Net assets in 2017: $1,853. Purpose: “Promotion of freedom and democracy thru aiding those who are suffering for being jailed because they have expressed their intend (sic) to democracy in countries where rights are ignored.”

International Platform for Human Rights in Cuba, Coral Gables, Florida. Gross receipts in 2016: $88,824.

Global Rule of Law & Liberty Legal Defense Fund, Alexandria, Virginia. Total revenue in 2018: $92,400. Purpose: Group is “a legal defense fund that empowers defenders, lawyers, and advances justice through various human rights, rule of law, and religious freedom GLA programs.” GLA also “implements several U.S. government grants, which have a beneficial effects in several Latin American and other countries.” Website.

Cuban Liberty Council, Miami. Gross receipts in 2011: $123,005. Purpose: “To promote democratic principles in Cuba, to promote respect for human rights and the dignity of all persons independent of race, religion, sex or ethnic origins or political beliefs, and to monitor and denounce human rights abuses; to assist the Cuban people toward the attainment of a free and democratic government.”  Website (URL now redirects to Japanese blogger Kyupachi Kyupa – at least that’s how Google Translate puts it).

Agora Cuba Inc., Miami, Florida. Total revenue in 2016: $61,100. Purpose: “To provide free and uncensored access to communication and unbiased news for all Cubans, with channels that are accessible and legal in both the U.S. and Cuba.” Facebook page.

Latin American Working Group, Washington, D.C. Total revenue in 2017: $113,666. Purpose: “To carry out education to encourage U.S.-Latin America policies that favor human rights.” Website.

Cuba Independiente y Democrática, Miami. Total revenue in 2017: $159,105. Purpose: Promote democracy and human rights. Received grants from National Endowment for Democracy, International Republican Institute and the State Department. The money was used to set up 25 “civic centers,” also known as hubs, complete with laptops, printers, digital phones, printing supplies and WiFi resources; deliver food and supplies to 45 families of current or former political prisoners; and trained a group of farmers in Cuba on how to organize and advocate for their rights, including the right to sell their products freely. Website.

Center for a Free Cuba, Washington, D.C. Total revenue in 2017: $210,290. Purpose: “Non-partisan institution dedicated to promoting human rights and a transition to democracy and the rule of law on the island.” The center reported sending $22,252 in humanitarian aid to Cuba. The money went to 300 people, with each getting an average of $77.17. “The center identifies individuals worthy of assistance in Cuba through its knowledge of the dissident community in the country. This knowledge is obtained over decades of work in this arena. Once an individual is identified, the center awaits the availability of a trusted traveler that will be able to provide the assistance. When such a trusted traveler is available, the assistance is provided directly to the intended party. The center then confirms the receipt of the assistance directly from the intended party. Assistance is provided in small dollar amounts to minimize the risk of loss or misdirection of funds. Activity reports are provided to the National Endowment for Democracy for assistance provided under their grant to the center. Website.

Raíces de Esperanza, Miami Beach, Florida. Total revenue in 2015: $210,604. Purpose: “To empower youth to become the authors of their own future.” Website.

Cuba Study Group, Washington, D.C. Total revenue in 2017: $276,020. Purpose: “To educate the public on the alternatives available in connection with the possible transition of the government of the Republic of Cuba.” Website.

Finca Vigia Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts. Total revenue in 2017: $310,870. Purpose: “To restore and preserve Ernest Hemingway’s home, Finca Vigia, its contents and boat.” Website.

Cuba Emprende Foundation, Darien, Connecticut. Total revenue in 2017: $259,146. Purpose: “To support the small business sector in Cuba by providing education and training to entrepreneurs, as well as to provide advisory services to existing and new businesses.” Website. Screenshot below shows that the U.S. Treasury Department authorized the group to transfer money to Cuba’s Roman Catholic Church for Proyecto Cuba Emprende, the church’s entrepreneurial education program.

The American Friends of Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, New York, NY. Total revenue in 2017: $1,891,847. Purpose: “Build cultural bridges between the U.S. and Cuba through programs in the arts.” Website.

Cuban Soul Foundation, Miami, Florida. Total revenue in 2017: $382,073. Purpose: “Support for individual independent artists and musicians as well as non-governmental groups and organizations engaged in the advancement of human rights, specially freedom of expression.” Facebook page.

Cubanet News, Coral Gables, Florida. Gross receipts in 2018: $423,188. Purpose: “Publish a Cuba-focused Internet daily news site. News and articles are submitted from Cuba by independent journalists.” Website.

Center for Cuban Studies, Brooklyn, N.Y. Gross receipts in 2017: $875,991. Purpose: “Dedicated to providing information about contemporary Cuba and contributing to a normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States.” Website.

Global Health Partners, New York, NY. Gross revenues in 2018: $553,219. Purpose: “Public education and humanitarian relief.” Has worked with medical graduates trained in Cuba. Website.

Cuban Studies Institute, Coral Gables, Florida. Gross receipts in 2018: $554,549. Purpose: “To preserve and disseminate the history and culture of Cuba, research, organize seminars and generate publications on Cuba, on U.S.-Cuba relations and Cuban policies’ impact on Florida and the U.S.” Website.

Grupo Internacional para la Responsabilidad Social Corporativa, Miami, Florida. Gross receipts in 2018: $605,249. Purpose: “The corporation provides for the education of Cuban workers, corporations and the community about labor and union rights.”

Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia, Coral Gables, Florida. Gross receipts in 2017: $800,376. Purpose: “To provide humanitarian aid to the families of political prisoners and civil societies.”

Directorio Democrático Cubano, Miami, Florida. Gross receipts in 2017: $813,298. Purpose: “Promote human rights, freedom and democracy in Cuba.” Website.

Friends of Caritas Cubana, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Gross receipts in 2017: $822,316. Purpose: “To support the social service and humanitarian programs of the Catholic Church in Cuba.” Website.

Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, Miami, Florida. Gross receipts in 2018: $905,426. Purpose: “To empower Cuban civil society to build a durable democracy in Cuba.” Website.

Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba, Oakland, California. Gross receipts in 2017: $1,020,847. Purpose: “Promotes cooperation among the U.S., Cuban and global health communities to improve health outcomes and equity, offering the Cuban experience to inform global debate, policies and practice.” Website.

Center for Democracy in the Americas, Washington, D.C. Gross receipts in 2017: $1,529,117. Purpose: “Devoted to changing U.S. policy toward the counties of the Americas by basing our relations on mutual respect, fostering dialogue with these governments and movements with which U.S. policy is at odds, and recognizing positive trends in democracy and governance.” Website.

Cuban American National Foundation, Miami. Gross receipts in 2017: $1,385,627. Purpose: “To empower Cuban civil society to build a durable democracy in Cuba that is free of human rights violations by enhancing on-island civil society’s awareness and effectiveness in nonviolent activism and by facilitating training materials, communication equipment, thematic ‘know-how’ manual (e.g. entrepreneurship, micro financing, etc.) and financial support along with creating awareness and documenting, within the island and in the international community, human rights violations while collaborating with international and on-island nongovernment organizations to provide for additional expertise and resources to provide humanitarian aid.” Website.

The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, Washington, D.C. Gross receipts in 2017: $1,120,100. Purpose: “To document and expose human rights abuses and labor violations relating to racial discrimination or discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We advocate for legal and policy reform at the national, regional and international level. We use strategic litigation at the regional and international level and we engage the international community on critical human rights issues, including at the United Nations and regional bodies.” Website.

Jorge Mas Canosa Freedom Foundation, Miami, Florida. Gross receipts in 2017: $2,083,352. Purpose: “To gather and disseminate information concerning the economic, political and social issues of the Cuban people.” The group’s golf tournament brought in $769,189 in net income. Website.

Cuban American National Council, Miami, Florida. Gross receipts in 2016: $2,733,601. Purpose: “Identify the social, economic and educational needs of Cuban Americans.” Website.

National Security Archive Fund, Washington, D.C. Gross receipts in 2017: $3,116,760. Purpose: “Research and publication on international affairs.” Website.

Outreach Aid to the Americas, Miami, Florida. Gross receipts in 2018: $3,578,946. Purpose: “To promote the right of religious freedom in Cuba. To effectively mobilize resources and partners for relief and preparedness, advocacy and sustainable development. To provide aid, alleviate the suffering, improve the dignity and quality of life of individuals, families and empowering civil societies for the transition to democracy and strengthening economic independence in Cuba and Latin America.” Website.

Washington Office on Latin America, Washington, D.C. Gross receipts in 2017: $2,652,225. Purpose: “To advance human rights and social justice in the Americas.” Website.

Center for International Policy, Washington, D.C. Gross receipts in 2017: $3,121,153. Purpose: “Promotes cooperation, transparency and accountability in global relations through research and advocacy. Our programs address the most urgent threats to our planet: War, corruption, inequality and climate change.” Website.

Engage Cuba Foundation. Mission: “To educate the public on the emerging new era of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba.” Gross receipts in 2016: $200,475. Website.

Cuba Skate, Washington, D.C. Mission: Support skateboarding culture in Cuba. Total revenue in 2016, $38,370. Website.

Cuban Institute for Nonviolence, Miami. Net income in 2003: -$96.50.

Cuban-American Military Council, Springfield, Virginia. Gross receipts in 2006: $12,060. Purpose: Cuban democratization. Website.

Friends of Cuba Libro, Yonkers, N.Y. Total revenue in 2017: $100. Expenses include: $800 to support people with debilitating illness; $500 for post-production for a documentary film; $200 for a portable mic and speaker for performance art; and a “refrigerator for artist Abreu – $150.” The artist is Cosme Alexis Abreu. “Very vulnerable, disabled, very talented,” Cuba Libro says. Website.

Pen Club Cuban Writers in Exile, Miami. Gross receipts in 2018: $4,361. Purpose: To promote human rights, cultural activities and educational events. Website.

Casa Cuba, Katy, Texas. Gross receipts in 2015, $96,694. Purpose: “Keep our Cuban culture alive in Houston, Texas.” Website.

Mar Por Cuba, Miami. Gross receipts in 2018: $9,565. Purpose: “Organization is dedicated to the advocacy of human rights, to promotion of democratic values and to raise the awareness of Cuba’s reality under totalitarianism.” Facebook page.

Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation, Tampa. Gross revenue in 2017: $47,100. Purpose: “The organization is nonprofit, nonpartisan and designed to foster better political, economic and cultural relationships between Cuba and the United States.” American authorities fined the group in 2017 for arranging trips to Cuba without U.S. permission.

Fund for Reconciliation and Development, Riverhead, N.Y. Total revenue in 2017: $33,689. Purpose: “The organization’s mission is to help foster and encourage the improvement of the condition of individuals who have been affected by war or hostilities and assist in eliminating those conditions caused or aggravated by war or hostilities.” Website.

Institute for U.S. Cuba Relations, Washington, D.C. Gross receipts in 2007: $25,256. Purpose: “Foster viable democratic institutions and a free-market economy within Cuba.”

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