News and Facts about Cuba

5 findings about USAID travelers’ program in Cuba

Posted on Monday, 08.04.14

5 findings about USAID travelers’ program in Cuba
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

In April, The Associated Press revealed that the U.S. Agency for
International Development had overseen the creation of a secret “Cuban
Twitter” program to stir political dissent on the island and bypass
Cuba’s stranglehold on the . But that program was part of a
larger operation.

A new story by the AP reveals the agency secretly dispatched young Latin
Americans to Cuba using and civic programs to provoke political
change. The operation began just as American contractor Alan was
sent to jail in December 2009 while working for another USAID-sponsored
project.

The traveler’s program posed significant risk for its young recruits as
well as for USAID itself. Its effectiveness is unclear.

Here are five things to know:

1.”THE PERFECT EXCUSE”: The young spies from Costa Rica created an
-prevention workshop that they called “the perfect excuse” to recruit
political activists, a ruse that could undermine USAID’s credibility in
critical health work around the world.

2.THEIR EFFORTS WERE FRAUGHT WITH INCOMPETENCE AND RISK. Cuban
authorities questioned who was bankrolling the travelers, and there was
no safety net for the young Latin Americans, who were doing work that
was explicitly in Cuba.

3.VENEZUELANS AND PERUVIANS WERE DEPLOYED TO CUBA’S COLLEGE CAMPUSES.
The objective was to recruit students with the long-term goal
of turning them against their government. Potential recruits were listed
by name, and then profiled, their leadership qualities assessed in a
spreadsheet.

4.WHETHER ANY OF THE POLITICAL OBJECTIVES WERE EVER REALIZED IS UNCLEAR.
In fact, their Cuban contacts in recent interviews with the AP said they
were astonished to discover that their foreign friends were acting on
behalf of the U.S. government.

5.THE CONTRACTOR, CREATIVE ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, CHANGED ITS
STRATEGY. In September 2010, Creative Associates shifted from sending
outsiders into Cuba to develop dissidents among college students to
getting exit visas for the new leaders and training them off the island.
Other beneficiaries in Cuba would receive cash payments to run the
recruitment efforts.

Source: 5 findings about USAID travelers’ program in Cuba – Nation Wires
– MiamiHerald.com –
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/08/04/4270229/5-findings-about-usaid-travelers.html

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