Trump administration boosts NED spending for Cuba


The National Endowment for Democracy reported spending $5,405,400 in Cuba grants in 2019. That was a 16 percent increase over 2018 and a 42 percent increase over 2017.
The top recipients in 2019 were the Cuban Democratic Directorate with $650,000; Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), $305,726; Grupo Internacional para la Responsabilidad Social Corporativa en Cuba, $230,000; and Cubanet News Inc., $225,271; and Člověk v tísni o.p.s. (People in Need), $200,000.
Click below for interactive graphic.

NED did not disclose the recipients of $687,443 in grants, some of which aim to support freedom of information and freedom of the press.
I believe that the agency will release details on 2020 Cuba grants in early 2021. Descriptions of the 2019 grants are below:

A Journalistic Approach to Violence in Cuba
Asociacion Civil Cronos

To promote greater awareness of the reality of violence in Cuba on the island and overseas and to foster stronger ties between Cuban independent journalists and their counterparts in the rest of Latin America. The organization will conduct in-person and remote trainings on how to approach violence, with an emphasis on state-sponsored violence, from a journalistic perspective. The program will bring together participants from Cuba, Colombia, and Mexico to provide different angles to these issues, to promote new networks, and facilitate avenues for professional collaboration.

Advocating for a Human Rights Framework for Cuba
International Platform for Human Rights in Cuba
To advocate for inclusion of human rights and the perspectives of Cuban civil society as part of EU engagement with the Cuban government. The implementation of the EU-Cuba bilateral treaty will be monitored and relevant actors in the EU will be engaged to present them the views and needs of Cuban civil society. The project will enhance the understanding of Cuban pro-democracy players about the opportunities to advance human rights in Cuba offered by the new framework of EU-Cuba relations.

Building Democratic Citizenship in Cuba
Asociacion Mexicana para las Naciones Unidas de Jovenes
To foster a conscious and democratic citizen culture among civil society in Cuba. Activities include workshops on democratic culture and human rights as well as freedom of expression and civic engagement. The group will strengthen the capacity of participating organizations on leadership skills, project management and monitoring and evaluation.

Documenting and Reporting Human Rights Violations in Cuba
To document and report human rights violations in Cuba. The organization will work with civil society groups on the island to document human rights violations according to international standards. Using this information, it will report on Cuba’s human rights record to international organizations and governments, and advocate for greater respect for human rights and protection to victims in Cuba.

Educating Cuban Youth Activists on Democracy and Leadership Skills
Instituto Politico para la Libertad Peru
To strengthen the leadership capacity of Cuban pro-democracy youth activists and to promote interaction between citizens in Cuba and individuals from Latin America. The grantee will provide youth activists with training on democratic rights, youth participation, communications, and international standards of freedom of expression, and bring Cuban youth activists to other Latin American countries to participate in relevant workshops and conferences.

Fostering a Plural Information Space in Cuba
Freedom of Information
To promote freedom of expression and a plural and independent information space in Cuba, and to strengthen the institutional and professional capacity of the organization. The organization will cover stories of Cuban reality. It will also make information available to a larger audience on the island and will develop alliances with media abroad to reach a broader audience.

Fostering Dialogue and Exchange between Cuban Democrats and Colombian Intellectuals
Universidad Sergio Arboleda
To foster dialogue between Cuban democrats and Colombian intellectuals and to raise awareness about the political, economic and social situation in Cuba. The organization will carry out public and private dialogues between Cuban democrats and Colombian historians, economists, government officials and business leaders. It will also publish an academic journal, articles and bulletins based on its studies about Cuban politics, economics, and society. The group will present these publications at events within the region.

Fostering Independent Thinking and Writing in Cuba
Editorial Hypermedia Inc.
To promote greater freedom of expression and independent writing among Cuban intellectuals. The organization will compile and distribute censored books produced by Cuban exiled writers to intellectuals on the island. The organization will conduct essay contests to encourage independent writing among its target audience. Finally, the organization will publish the winning pieces from its essay contests and present it at book fairs and other relevant spaces.

Fostering New Democratic Leadership in Cuba
Latin American Center for Nonviolence
To strengthen the leadership skills and organizational capacity of emerging social leaders and entrepreneurs in Cuba. The grantee will conduct a training workshop for its partners and foster the exchange of experiences with peers from Latin America and Europe. Training participants will expand the reach and membership of their organizations, produce and distribute a bulletin, carry out community events and advocate for greater freedoms on the island.

Freedom of Expression in Cuba and Inclusion in Latin America’s Regional Agenda
Instituto de Comunicacion y Desarrollo
Supplement: $13,825
To include Cuban independent civil society representation in a regional network of freedom of expression, and to promote awareness of violations of freedom of expression in Cuba among Latin American civil society organizations and regional bodies.

Freedom of Expression in Cuba and Inclusion in Latin America’s Regional Agenda
Instituto de Comunicacion y Desarrollo
To foster the participation of Cuban independent civil society representation in international fora and to promote awareness and discussion of violations of freedom of expression in Cuba among Latin American civil society organizations and regional bodies. The organization will promote exchanges between Cuban activists and their counterparts in Latin America, advocate for the participation of Cuban activists in international fora, and raise awareness of the state of freedom of expression and access to public information on the island.

Generating Awareness on Cuba’s Role in the Region and Assessing Challenges to Democratic Consolidation
Transparencia Electoral
To promote increased awareness of Cuba’s impact on democracy in the region, and to assess the most pressing challenges to democracy in Latin America. The Argentina-based organization will carry out three conferences in the Latin America region to discuss Cuba in a regional context and assess the state of democracy in the region. The organization will produce and disseminate a final publication on the findings of the conferences, and organize a public event on Cuba and Latin America at large that will convene public officials, academics, and electoral specialists.

Human Rights Documentation and Awareness Raising in Cuba
Free Society Project, Incorporated
To document and raise awareness about human rights violations in recent Cuban history. The group will carry out research to expand its database and produce human rights reports to generate alerts and publish statements. It will also strengthen its communication strategy to raise the profile of the organization and its work. The group will tailor its messages within the human rights community and improve its social media outreach. These efforts will contribute to the domestic and international awareness raising efforts concerning Cuba’s human rights situation.

Integrating Cuba into Regional Media Networks
Investigacion e Innovacion Factual A.C.
To support and integrate young Cuban journalists into a regional network of digital media initiatives throughout Latin America and to highlight the stories of Cubans as part of the emerging leaders in Latin America. The organization will select, train, and mentor Cuban journalists on how to conduct investigative reporting, collaborate with regional peers, and publish stories for digital media outlets. The group will also include Cuban panelists at its annual digital media conference and profile Cuban emerging leaders in its publications.

Legal Aid to Cuban Civil Society
Rule of Law
To assist Cuban citizens and pro-democracy activists on legal matters. Activities include the production of legal documents that could contribute to Cuba’s transition to democracy, the dissemination of information about Cuba’s legal system, including useful ways to navigate through its existing contradictions and cumbersome processes and providing legal assistance.

Monitoring Human Rights in Cuba
Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos
Supplement: $12,175
To raise awareness about the situation of economic, social, and cultural rights in Cuba. The organization will monitor violations to these rights on independent media as well as any information received from its network of human rights observers on the island. The grantee will produce monthly and annual reports on the situation of economic, social, and cultural rights in Cuba. They will present the reports to UN human rights officials, and US and EU government representatives.

Monitoring Human Rights in Cuba
Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos
To raise international awareness about human rights conditions in Cuba. The organization will work with a network of human rights defenders on the island to document and report violations to political, social, and economic rights. Project activities include producing reports, releasing statements, and conducting advocacy in Europe to bring attention to the lack of fundamental freedoms in Cuba.

Promoting Access to Information in Cuba
Agora Cuba Inc.
To enhance access to information in Cuba. The organization will expand upon an existing online platform, which enables access to uncensored web-based information through email. The platform, which already provides online education, web publishing and social news services, will expand to include other new services and partners as identified and improve to become more user friendly.

Promoting Access to Uncensored Information in Cuba
Asociacion Diario de Cuba
To promote freedom of information in Cuba through the production and dissemination of independent news and analysis through the grantee’s digital news outlet. The grantee will continue to mentor its network of contributors in Cuba so that they produce content more independently and professionally. To continue to increase its readership inside Cuba, the organization will adjust its content to readers’ feedback and implement new tools to circumvent censorship.

Promoting Accountability on Human Rights Violations and Social Conflicts in Cuba
Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, Inc.
To fight impunity against human rights violations and to raise awareness about social conflicts in Cuba. The organization will work with partners on the island to document the actions and publicly expose perpetrators of human rights violations. The grantee will report the cases to international human rights organizations and seek protection for the victims. The grantee will also support citizens to document and peacefully resolve cases of social conflicts in their communities.

Promoting an Independent Youth Movement
NGO Strengthening
To strengthen the leadership, dialogue, and consensus-building skills of pro-democracy youth activists, and to foster greater understanding of youth concerns and perspectives both inside and outside Cuba. The project will conduct a series of capacity building workshops and analyze youth concerns throughout the island, and organize essay contests and conduct surveys to gather critical information.

Promoting and Defending Freedom of Expression and Information in Cuba and Central America
Campana Global por la Libertad de Expresion A19 A.C.
To promote greater understanding and documentation of freedom of expression violations in Cuba, Guatemala and Honduras. The organization will train independent journalists on holistic protection mechanisms and aggression documentation. It will convene local partners to generate a network of journalists who seek to exchange experiences and to increase self-protection. The grantee will also document violations and develop an advocacy strategy to raise awareness about the threats against independent journalists’ lives, freedom and integrity.

Promoting Community Reporting in Cuba
Instituto Cubano por la Libertad de Expresion y Prensa
To promote greater, uncensored access to information in communities throughout Cuba and to strengthen the capacity of independent community journalists. The organization will provide its counterparts in Cuba with equipment and technical assistance and will support the design and publication of community-based news bulletins and their distribution to local residents.

Promoting Freedom of Expression and Independent Media in Cuba
Freedom of Information
To promote freedom of expression and a plural and independent information space in Cuba. The organization will increase its content production, focusing on social participation, democratic values, and civil society empowerment while covering issues of public interest in Cuba. The organization will turn to multimedia such as video and photography to reach a larger audience.

Promoting Freedom of Expression in Cuba through the Arts
Cultura Democratica
To promote greater freedom of expression and exchange. The organization will work with a group of independent artists in Cuba to help them develop artistic projects on themes related to democracy, human rights, and historical memory. The organization will bring this group of Cuban artists to Argentina for a series of public and private events with Argentine and Latin American artists and intellectuals to increase awareness about the Cuban reality.

Promoting Freedom of Expression of Cuba’s Independent Artists
Cuban Soul Foundation, Inc.
To empower independent Cuban artists to promote democratic values. The group will strengthen its four most successful independent civic centers and studios to produce, perform and exhibit their work in uncensored community events. Each space will host artistic performances, circulate information, distribute materials, and offer trainings for members within the community. Lastly, the group will support its partners on-island to carry out independent events and to produce a hip-hop magazine.

Promoting Freedom of Movement and Assessing Migratory Barriers against Cubans
Fundacion Pro Bono
To promote greater freedom of movement for Cuban civil society actors and assess migratory barriers. The organization will issue a report on the legal restrictions affecting Cuban civil society and conduct strategic litigation in eight priority countries. The organization will promote a regional legal debate with public officials to highlight migratory restrictions against Cubans and incorporate Cuban civil society actors in relevant regional meetings.

Promoting Freedom of the Press in Cuba
Freedom of Information
To raise awareness of freedom of the press violations in Cuba and strengthen its relationship with independent media and journalists. The group will collect information from independent media about freedom of the press violations that it will publish in its monthly bulletins and report attacks against journalists and bloggers. The group will disseminate this information on-island and to organizations promoting press freedom in the world. It will also will provide legal and financial support to journalists and bloggers who face press freedom attacks.

Promoting Independent Thinking in Cuba
Freedom of Information
To promote greater freedom of expression and independent thinking and writing among Cuban intellectuals. The organization will produce an online platform to promote debate around cultural and social issues in Cuba. Journalists, columnists, writers, and photographers who are unable to print their work in official media will have the opportunity to publish and disseminate the work.

Promoting Leadership and Civic Participation in Cuban Society
Democratic Ideas and Values
To promote leadership and civic participation of members of marginalized populations in Cuban society. The group will create a space for a variety of sectors of the population to interact, share ideas, and dialogue about problems facing their communities. The organization will carry out workshops for grassroots leaders on citizen participation, social dialogue, human rights and advocacy efforts.

Promoting Local Accountability and Citizen Oversight
Accountability and Governance
To promote accountability of the local government. The group will conduct a mentorship program to assist citizens who seek solutions to the problems in their communities. The activists will work with community members in documenting the issues and elevating them to the local authorities to gain resolution. The organization will also produce a newsletter to raise awareness of these problems and to connect citizens with its initiatives and activists.

Promoting Religious Freedom and Building Bridges within Civil Society
Christian Solidarity International
To strengthen the capacity of independent journalists, human rights activists, and members of religious communities to document and report freedom of religion or belief violations (FoRB). The organization will build the capacity of these actors by offering trainings on rule of law, international legal mechanisms, and documenting rights violations. In addition, the organization will connect the Cuban participants with its Latin American legal networks Finally, the organization will engage in advocacy at the UN to increase awareness on FoRB violations in Cuba.

Promoting Tolerance and Pluralism in Cuba
Democratic Ideas and Values
To promote greater tolerance and awareness about the importance of critical and independent voices to advance democratic values and ideas. The organization will carry out events to foster debate among a diverse set of actors about historical and current issues in Cuban society. To raise awareness among a wider audience, the event materials will be published and disseminated online.

Providing Uncensored Information to Cuban Pro-Democracy Activists
Cuban Democratic Directorate
To promote greater access to uncensored information to Cuban pro-democracy activists and facilitate greater communication among them. The organization will produce radio programs with news and analysis about events taking place in Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and elsewhere around the world, which it will broadcast using its in-house radio station. The group will also support civic activities carried out by civil society activists in Cuba.

Regional School for Women’s Leadership
Instituto de Liderazgo Simone de Beauvoir AC
To enhance the capacity of women in leadership positions and strengthen their organizations with a gender perspective. Through trainings, women leaders will acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to transform the reality of inequality and discrimination that they face within their organizations and communities. The organization will support Cuban activists as they include a gender perspective in the current work.

Strengthening Civil Society Capacity to Monitor and Report Human Rights Violations
Human Rights
To strengthen the human rights monitoring and documentation skills of Cuban civil society activists. The grantee will expand the knowledge of civil society activists to document and report human rights violations, primarily the Universal Human Rights System. The grantee will inform UN human rights officials about the state of human rights in the island, and will provide assistance to its partners as they submit their reports.

Strengthening Critical Thinking and Democratic Values in Cuba
Freedom of Information
To promote critical thinking, the free flow of information, and democratic values in Cuba. The organization will consolidate the reach and impact of its digital media content through its own magazine. To build historical memory, the organization will develop an archive that features a collection of historic documents and materials on Cuban and Latin American history. It will disseminate this information and its publications among its counterparts in Cuba.

Strengthening Democratic Dialogue on Cuban-Led Reform Ideas
Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)
To strengthen the capacity of independent pro-democracy think tanks in Cuba to develop independent and objective economic analysis and reform ideas and to generate the possibility for the formalization of independent civic and business associations. The center will provide support for two Cuban pro-democracy think tanks to attend mentoring workshops off the island, offer assistance for on-island activities, and arrange for their participation in an international conference.

Strengthening Democratic Leadership and Community-based Activism
Civic Education
To strengthen the leadership and community organizing skills of pro-democracy activists in Cuba. A training program and an information campaign on peaceful activism, community organizing, human rights, and democracy will be carried out. Community-based activities will be conducted to engage Cuban citizens as part of the group’s efforts to foster a peaceful democratic opening.

Strengthening Independent Media and Accountability in Cuba
Fundacion Espacio Publico
To strengthen Cuban journalists’ capacity to promote greater government accountability in Cuba and to promote interactions and links among Cuban and Latin American independent journalists. The organization will carry out a training program on how to conduct investigative journalism. The Cuban participants will also receive advice and feedback on their work from an editorial board composed of Latin American journalists The organization will provide remote mentorship to the participants once they return to the island.

Strengthening the Capacity of Civil Society in Democratic Political Processes
Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos
To strengthen the capacity of Cuban civil society activists to promote democratic and pluralistic elections on the island. Cuban participants will join election observation missions, attend workshops on election observation topics and a human rights training course. Additionally, the organization will raise awareness among Latin American electoral experts about the undemocratic nature of the Cuban electoral system.

Strengthening the Capacity of Independent Civic Initiatives in Cuba
People in Need Slovakia (PIPA)
To strengthen the capacity of independent civic centers and initiatives in Cuba to promote democratic ideas and values. Based in Bratislava, the organization will work with groups of independent lawyers, farmers, teachers, students, and community organizers to strengthen their institutional capacity and ability to carry out activities more effectively. In addition, the grantee will organize two study visits for its beneficiaries in Slovakia.

Strengthening the Capacity of Independent Media Professionals in Cuba
Clovek v tisni, o.p.s. (People in Need)
To strengthen the capacity of independent media professionals in Cuba. The grantee will provide Cuban beneficiaries with training and technical assistance to produce uncensored content on social, political, economic, and cultural developments in Cuba. The grantee will also build the technical capacity of independent organizations throughout Cuba to carry out initiatives aimed at increasing the free flow of information.

Strengthening the Latin American Fact-Checking Network
Fundacion la Voz Publica
To strengthen the skills of independent Cuban journalists to include fact-checking and to promote an exchange of ideas and practices among members of the Latin American network. The organization will train Cubans, Venezuelans, and other independent journalists in the region on its fact-checking methodology. The group will also bring participants to its office for a two-week residency to learn about how a fact-checking organization operates and integrate them into the regional network where participants will share knowledge and information.

Strengthening Tools to Measure Governability and Social Conflict in Cuba
Arlenica, Arte, Lenguaje e Investigación para el Cambio Social
To strengthen analysis about governance in Cuba. The organization will develop a governability index to measure and compare Cuba’s political system with other countries in the world. It will analyze the Cuban government’s structure and performance in areas such as the rule of law, political participation, effectiveness, political stability, transparency and economic freedom. It will also assess the public’s satisfaction with its government and track citizens’ actions to promote policies that are more democratic through the creation of a social conflict observatory.

Supporting Human Rights Defenders in Cuba
Center for a Free Cuba
To provide humanitarian assistance to political prisoners, their families, and human rights activists in Cuba. The organization will work with its partners to distribute humanitarian assistance to political prisoners, their family members, and other members of Cuban civil society. To increase access to uncensored information, the organization will also provide human rights defenders with technical equipment to document life in Cuba and convey information to outside organizations and actors.

Supporting Independent Journalism in Cuba
CubaNet News, Inc.
To increase access to uncensored information in Cuba. The organization will work with independent journalists throughout the island to produce media content on social, political, economic, and cultural developments in Cuba. The organization’s press coverage will be published in its online media platform, distribution mailing lists, and social media, to distribute independent and accurate information to Cuban citizens.

Supporting Independent Journalists in Cuba
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad
To strengthen the reporting and investigative skills of Cuban independent journalists and to promote greater interaction between them and their Latin American counterparts. The organization will train journalists on fundamental concepts of journalism, and place them with a professional media outlet in Peru for an on-the-job experience. The grantee will foster interaction between Cuban and Latin American journalists through collaborative investigative pieces and bring Cuban journalists to the 2019 edition of the Latin American Conference on Investigative Journalism.

Supporting Independent Unions, Self-Employed Workers, and Labor Rights in Cuba
Grupo Internacional para la Responsabilidad Social Corporativa en Cuba
To promote labor rights and strengthen the capacity of Cuba’s independent labor movement. The organization will provide independent labor activists in Cuba with technical and financial assistance to forge a more coordinated labor movement on the island. In addition, the organization will work with a nascent association of self-employed workers to promote labor rights in the informal sector. It will also conduct an international information dissemination and awareness campaign on the situation regarding labor rights in Cuba.

Supporting Independent Writers and Artists in Cuba
Vista Larga Foundation Corp
To strengthen the capacity of independent Cuban writers and artists to produce and exhibit their work in uncensored community events. The group will provide mentorship for writers to improve their work and reach a larger audience. The group will also promote greater collaboration between Cuban writers and their Latin American counterparts.

Technology and Civic Participation in Cuba
Freedom of Information
To promote awareness and foster debate over the impact of information and communication technology on citizen participation in Cuba. The organization will produce and publish news articles, investigative, and multimedia pieces to reach broader audiences on the impact of technology on social activism, and more broadly, citizen participation.

Times of Change and a New Role for Different Sectors in Cuba
Democratic Ideas and Values
Supplement: $4,273
To enhance civil society organizations understanding and capacity to propose political alternatives. Activities will include research on the role of different state institutions in transitions to democracy as well as discussion of this subject among Cuban civil society representatives, with an emphasis on the experiences of other countries in the region.

11 thoughts on “Trump administration boosts NED spending for Cuba”

  1. How would Americans feel if Russia or China or Iran were funding programs in the US that advanced their political philosophies comparable to US programs in Cuba?

    Weren’t McCarthyism and the Red Scare our reaction to Soviet influence in the US?

    Even if an individual project has value in the abstract, are we too self-centered to realize that US funding compromises it among most Cubans, just as would happen with foreign funded projects in the US?

  2. I don’t see any improvement to achieve a democratic society in Cuba by the communist government. The communists allow all these type of passive activities because they know it won’t make a difference to their grip and course any monies granted for any reasons they’ll take it. I am surprised the Trump administration is part of the game.

  3. Don’t get too worked up Mr. McAuliff less than 10% of this money makes it to Cuba. The rest is payroll, rent, travel, professional services, plenty of no-show jobs like the old labor unions. Take any of these groups and access their IRS 990 which is public record. It will stun you

  4. What is happening? More than half of those organizations are anti-Trump and bureaucratic, made to pay a living politically. This must be supervised, investigated.

    • First of all, No, all these opposition leaders are radical right wing pro-Trump supporters and that’s one of the reasons they dont resonate in Cuba, because they are too radical and I dont think they have real interest on democratization since they live off of that money
      Second, are you suggesting the money from the government should give organizations money to promote Trump? I believe this is illegal, I mean not like if Trump and its administration care about the law

  5. The one’s benefiting from these grants use the monies for their own enrichment. I feel these grants must stop supporting these individuals in the USA and demand accountability.


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