Cuba is frustrating the US

Jan 30, 2010, 7:16 PM |

'Generally, trying to promote democracy and to implement assistance programs to enhance democracy are very frustrating experiences in a closed society' said an American 'democracy' organization in a statement, following the US agent caught for counter-revolutionary activities in Cuba on 5 December.

The incident revealed the details of the activities since 1996 by the US government in Cuba, trying to implement under the guise of ‘democracy’ program's framework while the debate for effectiveness of the program is intensified in US.

Cuban President Raul Castro had announced that the US agent captured on December 5, distributed various communication tools to Cuban counter-revolutionary groups. The US State Department and Congress sources claimed that the so called agent is an IT specialist, travelling on a tourist visa and he was providing internet connections to members of the community, not providing mobile phones, computers, etc to political opposition.

In recent years, the US State Department and International Development Agency (USAID) increased their efforts to smuggle "technology" to Cuba, working with private contractors. The captured agent was working for one of these subcontractors, Development Alternatives (DAI). The State Department and USAID officials refused to disclose the other groups in the program.

Since the inception of the Cuba democracy program in the mid 1990s, the US administration has been distributing funds to various companies and counter-revolutionary groups, including short-wave radios, laptop computers, photocopy machines, books and other materials, often taken to Cuba in suitcases carried by volunteers as tourists. US government has also allocated some other funds used for related activities humanitarian assistance to 'dissidents' families, 'Cuba’s human rights record and the process of transition after Castro'.

The news published in the Washington Post last week showed that the counter-revolutionary activities by US against the Cuba's socialist regime can be discussed with ease by the US public. News is also an admission of US failure on this issue.

According to the Washington Post's news the 'democracy program' aims to break the Cuban government’s information blockade by smuggling computers, mobile phones, DVD players and other communication tools. This program's budget of 3.5 million dollars in 2000 was increased to $ 45 million in 2008 by the Bush administration.

This program has been funded under the Helms-Burton Legislation,1996. Cuban intelligence was able to infiltrate into the contractor companies and counter-revolutionary Cuban groups. The agents and Cuban counter-revolutionary groups are sentenced up to 20 years imprisonment when caught.

One of the criticisms claims that the program has been mismanaged since the beginning. In 2006, an audit showed that funds around $4.7 million spent on luxury items such as Godiva chocolates and Nintendo Gameboys. In 2008, a former employee of the Cuban-American group was found guilty of stealing $600.000 dollars from the democracy program fund.

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Senator, John Kerry called for a review of Cuba program, this month. Kerry said 'our aims may noble, but achieving these aims and our objectives must be evaluated'. US Congress Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Howard L. Berman wrote to the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton in April, requesting the establishment of a more 'powerful mechanism to 'monitor the expenditures and results of the 'controversial' program.

The Obama administration allocated $20 million in 2009 and 2010 for the Cuba democracy program, showing the continuing support to over throw the Cuban socialism in the current era. Obama had tried to be seen as relaxing some of the sanctions when he removed some of the barriers for Cubans to visit their relatives in the US. The continuity of US government’s policy on Cuba is revealed once again with the US agent caught early this month.

(soL - International News)