By Eva Golinger, Caracas, May 14, 2010
Source: CubaDebate; Translation: StreetVisuals.
Records also recently declassified under the Law on Access to Information Act (FOIA, by its initials in English), show that USAID has invested more than $2.3 million to spread dirty propaganda against Cuba and finance journalists in the island since 1999.
The documents, including original contracts between USAID and the organization CubaNet, show a pattern of increased and intensified funding each year in its effort to promote distorted information about Cuba - all with the intention of provoking a "transition to democracy", or "regime change" in Cuba.
For fifty years, Washington has been running a dirty war against Cuba. A component of that aggression has been the use of media to manipulate and distort the reality of Cuba to the international public opinion, and at the same time, to infiltrate and disseminate false information in Cuba.
After the failures of Radio and TV Marti, which still exist and receive financial contributions from Washington, despite their futility, a new field of aggression against Cuba was established through the Internet. In 1994, CubaNet established itself as one of the first web pages made to disseminate propaganda against the Cuban Revolution on the Internet. Based in Miami, CubaNet uses money from USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) - which also receives multimillion-dollar contributions to finance "journalists" in Cuba, and promote international media campaign against the Cuban government.
Although it's no secret that CubaNet is funded and guided by Washington agencies, the documents declassified by USAID also recently demonstrated the close relationship of control that the U.S. agency maintained on the propaganda organization.
When it made the contract between USAID and CubaNet in 1999, the high initial money to bring Washington to the efforts of propaganda via the Internet was $98,000. The money was intended to "support a program for the expansion of a website for independent journalists in Cuba." The contract was for one year, with the possibility of extension to the time needed to run the program. The manager of the USAID program was David Mutchler, USAID Senior Advisor for Cuba.
The contract required a progress report on the implementation of the program every three months, submitted to USAID, and an annual report detailing all the work done during the previous period.
USAID is boss
In clause 1.6 of the contract between USAID and CubaNet, entitled "Substantial Involvement Understandings", control is evidenced by the U.S. maintained on the organization miamera.
"It is understood and agreed that USAID will be substantially involved during the performance of this Cooperative Agreement as follows: Key Personnel: The USAID Senior Advisor for Cuba shall approve in advance, the selection of any key personnel and any alternates. Monitoring and Evaluation Plans: The USAID Senior Advisor for Cuba shall approve evaluation plans, and monitoring progress toward the achievement of program objectives during the course of the Cooperative Agreement."
Basically, the USAID official decides who will work in the draft CubaNet, their plan of work, and how to evaluate their progress; in other words, is the head of CubaNet.
Violate the laws of the United States
The documents that modify the original contract, which are 11 documents of the years 2000-2007, shows an increase in the annual project funding of CubaNet and reveal other information about the nature of the program. In a document dated April 19, 2005, authorized the sending of "private funds" to Cuba that were not from the USAID or other U.S. agency, to "advance the objectives of the Agreement." Due to the restrictions maintained by the Treasury Department in Washington on sending U.S. dollars to Cuba, according to the document from USAID, the "private funds" would hide in the authorization and had the U.S. Agency for funding the program CubaNet .
The same document also reveals that CubaNet not only does its work in Cuba, but also "continues to publish reports ... and promoting their spread in the mass media in the United States and the international press." It is against U.S. law to disseminate propaganda funded by the U.S. government and used as "information" in the media. However, the declassified document shows that the USAID is in full violation of that law.
More and more dollars
The documents also show that annually, USAID CubaNet increased its funding to continue its efforts to spread propaganda against Cuba. Here are the figures:
Year 1999: $98,000
Year 2000: $245,000
Year 2001: $260,000
Year 2002: $230,000
Year 2003: $500,000
Year 2005: $330,000
Year 2006: $300,000
Year 2007: $360,000
Total = $2.323 million
The campaign of aggression against Cuba is more intense today than ever, and this year 2010, USAID manages a budget of over $20 million dollars to fund groups within and outside Cuba that promote the agenda of Washington. CubaNet remains one of the main actors in the dirty war against Cuba.
Some of the declassified documents are available here:
Original Contract between the USAID-CubaNet
USAID Contract Modification-CubaNet, 2005
USAID Contract Modification-CubaNet, 2007