The Corner

AP Finds USAID Sent Latin Americans to Cuba to Provoke Political Change

The Associated Press has uncovered more evidence of recent clandestine operations by the U.S. with the goal of sparking an insurrection in Cuba. While President Obama has taken a more publicly conciliatory attitude toward the Cuban dictatorship, around the time the president declared that “the United States seeks a new beginning with Cuba,” the U.S. Agency for International Development sent Venezuelan, Costa Rican and Peruvian youth to organize support for democracy in the country.

The USAID-sponsored workers created an HIV-prevention workshop as a front for the operation, according to the AP investigation. A statement from USAID obtained by the AP said the workshop “enabled support for Cuban civil society while providing a secondary benefit of addressing the desire Cubans expressed for information and training about HIV prevention.”

Earlier this year, it was revealed that USAID was also involved in secretly creating a Cuban version of Twitter, called ZunZuneo, which is slang for a Cuban hummingbird’s call, an operation also reported by the AP. The project reportedly garnered more than 40,000 Cuban users without its subscribers ever realizing that the site was created by the U.S. government.

Both of these programs seem to have failed in their objectives, the AP says, and were part of a larger multimillion-dollar effort to cause political change in various countries. In response to the AP’s newest report, USAID released a statement today that says in part:

Congress funds democracy programming in Cuba to empower Cubans to access more information and strengthen civil society. USAID makes information about its Cuba programs available publicly at foreignassistance.gov. This work is not secret, it is not covert, nor is it undercover. Instead, it is important to our mission to support universal values, end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. Chief among those universal values are the right to speak freely, assemble and associate without fear, and freely elect political leaders. Sadly, the Cuban people and many others in the global community continue to be denied these basic rights.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who served as secretary while the USAID programs were going on, wrote in her recently released memoir that as the top U.S. diplomat she was “pleased when we started to see change slowly creeping into the country.”

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