No Embargo Movement gains strength

A Facebook group aimed at ending U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba has quickly gained more than 100,000 followers without spending a penny of advertising. The No Embargo Movement, or NEMO, describes itself as a humanitarian project, not a political group, and it has supporters on both sides of the Florida Straits. Below is a Q&A … Read more

A hijacker’s long, painful journey home

As the Boeing 737 made its final approach into Miami, a man calling himself “Lieutenant Spartacus” handed a note to a flight attendant. Unless the pilot diverts the aircraft to Havana, the note said, the passengers would be shot and the plane blown up. The hijacker identified himself as a member of the Black Liberation … Read more

First task for U.S. operatives in Cuba: Avoid detection

U.S. government contractors sometimes struggle to find Cubans who are willing to work with them. Cuban participants worry about the political nature of U.S. government-financed projects, according to a second batch of documents about one contractor’s work in Cuba. (See “USAID in Cuba: Code names and counter surveillance“). The U.S. Agency for International Development awarded … Read more

U.S. is training aspiring Cuban entrepreneurs

The U.S. government is training 30 aspiring women entrepreneurs in Cuba as part of a three-month program that began earlier this month. A group in Ecuador – Centro de Estudios de la Camara de Comercio de Quito CEC – will operate the project from May 4 to July 31. The State Department gave the organization … Read more

USAID in Cuba: Code names and counter surveillance

For decades now, the U.S. government has carried out democracy projects aimed at undermining Cuba’s socialist government. One deal that has always intrigued me was the $15.5 million, three-year contract awarded to Creative Associates International in October 2008. The fact that Creative Associates ran the program from a secret base in Costa Rica added to … Read more