Obama’s actions prior to his visit
By Néstor García Iturbe
February 20, 2016
Obama’s visit to Cuba in context
Many of those “well versed in the material” are saying that in our remaining days before the Nobel Peace Prize winner arrives in Cuba surely the U.S. government will make some gestures toward our country that will “sweeten” the environment so that when the welcoming takes place, the climate will be favorable for the visit.
I don’t imagine that the reception will be along the lines of the film “Welcome Mr. Marshall” with a long row of people, from the airport to the place where he is going to stay, all holding little U.S. flags, and musical groups playing the Marines’ Hymn as the motorcade passes by. (1) That’s all well and good, but not too much of it!
It looks like the U.S. government has also done some thinking about gestures it must make for “sweetening the welcome.”
USAID targets Cuba again – offers $500,000 to $2 million to special Cuban organizations
On February 18, USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development), whose activities have nothing to do with international development but instead with political subversion and meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, adjusted its guidelines for organizations interested in providing Cuba with “humanitarian assistance to political prisoners and their families, and also to persons and groups that have been politically marginalized.” The deadline for submitting proposals has been extended from February 15 to February 29.
For any one of these projects, these organizations may ask for something between $500,000 and $2 million. As is obvious, the amount is hardly trivial, especially if the proposed project costs $2 million.
USAID cautions that any organization whose proposal is approved must not send U.S. citizens to Cuba for carrying out the project, because they would be easier to detect.
Very well: if USAID does fear that people who do come may be discovered and does make good on this warning, then it’s because by the nature of the project it’s totally illegal and contrary to established laws in Cuba. That’s why this type of project instead of “sweetening the atmosphere,” adds the bitter taste of interference in the internal affairs of our country — and all of this just a few days before Obama arrives in Havana.
Some of those interested in this kind of activity, but who don’t have any interest in residing in Cuban prisons, have brought questions to USAID concerning this project of the U.S. government.
The explanations offered by USAID are these:
- This program operates under the jurisdiction and legal authority of the United States. (In no way does it rest upon acceptance by the Cuban government.)
- The program is secret and exceptions to this will be considered on an individual basis. However, at this time USAID is not soliciting any exception for this program. This is said in accordance with the DATA Act and the OMB M-15-12 memorandum having to do with U.S. governmental spending. (2) (3)
- This program prioritizes humanitarian assistance to political prisoners and politically marginalized individuals and the families of both. We cannot offer any recommendations as to necessary methods through which the assistance referred to here may reach the targeted groups.
US Interference in Cuba is alive and well
We infer from all this that:
- Actions of the U.S. government for interfering in our internal affairs are alive and well.
- For the sake of “paying their agents in Cuba,” funds are removed from the money U.S. taxpayers hand over to keep their government functioning.
- The U.S. government assumes “political prisoners” and politically marginalized persons exist in Cuba and, in its judgment, has to help out in their struggle against the Cuban revolution.
Surely Obama, when he comes to Cuba, will have a meeting with the “politically marginalized” to assure them that their salaries are protected and that they must continue carrying out activities they are directed toward. In any case, if they go to prison, they’ll be converted into “political prisoners,” and will keep on receiving their salaries, and from that moment on, with a ten percent increase for being in prison.
- “Welcome Mr. Marshall” is a 1953 Spanish film telling of a small Spanish town preparing to host U.S. diplomats and hoping to benefit from the Marshall Plan, initiated in 1948 for all of Western Europe.
- The DATA Act, mandating data transparency, became U.S. law on May 9, 2014.
- This May 8, 2015, memorandum from the Office of Management and Budget calls for “Making Federal Spending Data Accessible, Searchable, and Reliable.”
Translated by Tom Whitney