It’s hard to imagine a country that could compare to the US as the US compares to Cuba. The GDP of the US estimated for 2001 by the CIA was about $15 trillion. The comparable estimate for Cuba for 2010 was about $114 billion. The US GDP is thus about 131 times that of Cuba.

Imagine a country with a GDP of 131 times $15 trillion — almost $2 quadrillion — financing programs inside the US with the goal of regime change. It would provide administrative and organizational support, the ability to purchase significant politicians, and backing from the world’s mass media.

It would spread its largesse among Native Americans and other ethnic minorities; youth; Occupy Wall Street; assorted media and bloggers; trade unions; organizations for those without health care and retirees without pensions; the homeless and those who lost their homes due to the toxic mortgages; Left parties; artists and academics; and any and all potentially disaffected sectors.

It could even create phantom organizations, whose press releases would be obediently published around the world.

Yesterday, the blog Along the Malecon published the financing provided in 2010 by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), as reflected in an official NED report of 2011, with the purpose of achieving regime change.

The money — $2,449,340 in all — went to cultural workers; minorities; a youth organization; self-declared trade unionists; media centers in Cuba as well as in Puerto Rico, Peru, and Europe; an evangelical Christian group; and a variety of "democracy-building" organizations. With an eye to bi-partisan support, it also funded Republican and Democratic institutes for their own programs.

Consider the funds assigned to just one recipient, CubaNet News: $239,434. The average Cuban salary equals about $19, so that the money granted to CubaNet News was approximately 12,602 times the average Cuban salary. Could you buy support for regime change in the US if you had on hand 12,602 times the average US salary?

The NED is only one source of US funds. The State Department has its own money to hand out as grants for regime change in Cuba, and so does USAID. Contributions in money or in kind from the CIA are not reported, and none of this counts the operational expenses of US agencies dedicated to enforcing the blockade, like the State, Treasury and Commerce departments, or the Pentagon.

At least three conclusions can be drawn from these facts:

1. Cubans have good cause to be concerned about security.

2. It is a wonder that regime-change operations in Cuba have not worked after more than a half-century of effort.

3. Any "dissident" in Cuba in search of external support, and who is not yet receiving US funds, is incompetent.

La Alborada – June 12, 2012

How the NED spent $2.4 million in Cuba funds

Kudos to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for publishing names of the recipients of its Cuba grants.

This isn’t news. The list was included in the NED’s 2010 Annual Report, which was published in August 2011. But I just found out about it and wanted to pass it along.

Afro-Cuban Alliance, Inc.
To continue the publication of the journal “Islas,” which seeks to inform Cubans of African descent on the island and in exile about civil rights, the hidden history of racial discrimination in Cuba, the experience of civil rights movements, and tools to organize and bring about change. ACA will continue providing humanitarian assistance to a committee of individuals in Cuba that work to promote greater public discussion about the racial issues on the island.

Asociación Encuentro de la Cultura Cubana
To promote a culture of democracy and uncensored dialogue among different actors in Cuba and in the Diaspora on culture, history, art, national reconciliation; encourage their participation in online discussions; and to diminish the isolation of independent Cuban activists. Encuentro will publish its journal and strengthen the virtual Cuban community.

Center for a Free Cuba

To provide humanitarian assistance to political prisoners, their families, human rights activists, youth activists, lawyers, teachers, artists and victims of repression in Cuba. In addition to humanitarian assistance, the Center will provide independent, democratic activists with important material support that will permit them to carry out their work in a more effective manner.

Centro para la Apertura y el Desarrollo de América Latina
To engage civil society leaders, governments, and public officials in Latin America to support pro-democracy activists in Cuba; and to promote and consolidate a network of civil society organizations in Latin America that supports Cuba’s pro-democracy movement. Through publications, public forums, and advocacy initiatives, the Network will work to engage Latin American civil society and public officials about the need to support and raise awareness of pro-democracy initiatives for Cuba.

Clovek V Tisni, o.p.s. (People in Need) (PIN)

To increase the free flow of information in Cuba and about Cuba; to improve the capacity of independent Cuban journalists to interact with average Cubans; and to contribute to the establishment of independent civil society and media in Cuba. PIN will help independent journalists develop a stronger relationship with their communities to promote the free flow of information in Cuba. PIN will also train independent journalists on new techniques and the use of technologies.

Committee for Free Trade Unionism (CFTU)
To promote inter-regional cooperation among labor unions in Latin America, Europe and the U.S. CFTU will continue to develop an international campaign to build support for independent unionists in Cuba. It will continue maintaining its website and producing a quarterly newsletter aimed at raising interest in labor and worker’s rights issues in Cuba. Lastly, the Committee will contribute to efforts to forge a unified labor coalition between existing independent unions in Cuba.

Cuban Democratic Directorate (Directorio)

To provide training to Cuba’s emerging pro-democracy youth movement. Directorio will help youth activists develop tools to more effectively communicate between themselves and the international community, and will help to facilitate links between the youth movement and traditional pro-democracy activists. Directorio will continue to produce radio programming aimed at breaking the information blockade faced by the citizens of Cuba.

CubaNet News Inc.

To provide information, coaching, and technical and humanitarian assistance to independent journalists in Cuba. To strengthen independent news and reporting about the situation in Cuba for both Cuban and international audiences. CubaNet will generate independent media content about the situation in Cuba and will conduct an international solidarity campaign to raise support for and awareness about the situation facing independent journalists in Cuba.

Disidente Universal de Puerto Rico
To provide a source of independent information to Cuba. Disidente will publish its monthly news digest, Disidente Universal, containing articles and editorials from activists in Cuba, exiled dissidents and international news organizations. Disidente will send copies of its publication to Cuba and other relevant policy and research centers throughout Latin America, the United States and Europe.

Evangelical Christian Humanitarian Outreach for Cuba (ECHOcuba)

To strengthen women community leaders in four provinces in central and eastern Cuba. ECHOcuba will provide a select group of women leaders with training to coordinate a national network committed to democratic reform and development in their communities. At the end of the program, ECHOcuba will help network leaders organize a meeting between all project participants.

Grupo Internacional para la Responsabilidad Social Corporativa en Cuba (GIRSCC)

To promote labor rights and defend Cuba’s independent labor movement. GIRSCC will provide independent labor activists in Cuba with technical and financial assistance in an effort to forge a more coordinated labor movement on the island. GIRSCC will also draw on its international board of directors to conduct a worldwide information dissemination campaign on the situation regarding labor rights in Cuba.

Instituto Político para la Libertad Perú (IPL)

To provide youth in Cuba with training on use of the internet and social networking media. IPL will travel to Cuba to interact with youth contacts and provide them with training on democratic rights, access to information tools and international standards of freedom of expression.

International Republican Institute (IRI)

To support Cuban civic participation by expanding opportunities for individuals to organize and rally support for important local issues and strengthening civil society capacity to respond to the top priorities of concern to Cuban citizens.

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)
To increase the capacity of Cuban independent civil society organizations through skills-building and train-the-trainer workshops and knowledge sharing trips to the island. NDI will also raise awareness about and support for Cuban democratic activists and political prisoners using new technologies, and provide organizational development assistance to a Europe-based nongovernmental organization to increase its capacity to implement projects in support of Cuban civil society.

People in Peril Association CVO (PIPA)

To encourage critical thinking and the free exchange of ideas between youth in Cuba; to enhance knowledge on the functioning of open and democratic societies and free markets; and to strengthen the teaching skills of independent Cuban educators. PIPA will hold training workshops for independent educators, help establish youth debate clubs, and organize a presentation on democratic transitions in Central and Eastern Europe.

Total: $2,449,340

June 11, 2012