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Tue Nov 11, 2014, 05:09 AM

NY Times Opinion: In Cuba, Misadventures in Regime Change

In Cuba, Misadventures in Regime Change
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
NOV. 9, 2014

In 1996, spurred by an appetite for revenge, American lawmakers passed a bill spelling out a strategy to overthrow the government in Havana and “assist the Cuban people in regaining their freedom.” The Helms-Burton Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton shortly after Cuba shot down two small civilian American planes, has served as the foundation for the $264 million the United States has spent in the last 18 years trying to instigate democratic reforms on the island.

~snip~

During the final years of the Clinton administration, the United States spent relatively little on programs in Cuba under Helms-Burton. That changed when George W. Bush came to power in 2001 with an ambitious aim to bring freedom to oppressed people around the world. The United States Agency for International Development, better known for its humanitarian work than cloak-and-dagger missions, became the primary vehicle for pro-democracy work in Cuba, where it is illegal.

In the early years of the Bush administration, spending on initiatives to oust the government surged from a few million a year to more than $20 million in 2004. Most contracts were awarded, without much oversight, to newly formed Cuban-American groups. One used funds on a legally questionable global lobbying effort to persuade foreign governments to support America’s unpopular embargo. Other grantees sent loads of comic books to the American diplomatic mission in Havana, bewildering officials there. The money was also used to buy food and clothes, but there was no way to track how much reached relatives of political prisoners, the intended recipients.

According to a November 2006 report by the Government Accountability Office, one contractor used the pro-democracy money to buy “a gas chain saw, computer gaming equipment and software (including Nintendo Game Boys and Sony PlayStations), a mountain bike, leather coats, cashmere sweaters, crab meat and Godiva chocolates,” purchases he was unable to justify to auditors.

More:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/10/opinion/in-cuba-misadventures-in-regime-change.html

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Reply NY Times Opinion: In Cuba, Misadventures in Regime Change (Original post)
Judi Lynn Nov 2014 OP
flamingdem Nov 2014 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Nov 11, 2014, 03:03 PM

1. I'm perplexed about all this NYT attention to Cuba

and it makes me think they know something is in the works. Otherwise why?

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