New America Foundation Gets Cuba Grant Reply

by Tracey Eaton, Along The Malecon

The U.S. Agency for International Development has awarded the New America Foundation a $4.3 million grant to carry out a Cuba program over the next three years.  One source told me that the money will go to the foundation’s newest project, the Open Technology Institute. I haven’t been able to confirm that with the institute. New America Foundation spokesperson Clara Hogan did not answer an email requesting comment. Interestingly, another foundation program, the U.S.-Cuba Policy Initiative, is aimed at engagement with Cuba, unlike most USAID programs which seek to undermine the socialist government.

U.S.-Cuba Policy Initiative Director Anya Landau French said she is not involved in any USAID programs. I wonder how the New America Foundation program will work out. Perhaps this is the best thing that could happen to USAID’s Cuba programs – a fresh point of view. But I don’t have enough information to draw any conclusions.
The Open Technology Institute website says it:

…promotes affordable, universal, and ubiquitous communications networks through partnerships with communities, researchers, industry, and public interest groups and is committed to maximizing the potentials of innovative open technologies by studying their social and economic impacts – particularly for poor, rural, and other underserved constituencies.

The U.S.-Cuba Policy Initiative says its goals are to:

Take advantage of recent developments to redirect U.S.-Cuba policy towards a more sensible, mutually beneficial relationship. This requires forging a new consensus of national stakeholders on an engagement strategy with Cuba to replace the failed, 50-year-old strategy of isolating Cuba and its citizens.

USAID disclosed the New America Foundation grant in its updated list of Cuba program partners, shown below:

Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba

  • $3.4 million from September 2011 to September 2014

Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia

  • $3 million from September 2012 to September 2015

International Relief and Development

  • $3.5 million from September 2011 to September 2014

International Republican Institute

  • $3 million from September 2012 to September 2015

Loyola University

  • $3 million from September 2010 to September 2013

National Democratic Institute

  • $2.3 million from September 2011 to September 2014

New America Foundation

  • $4.3 million from September 2012 to September 2015

Pan-American Development Foundation

  • $3.9 million from September 2011 to September 2014

USAID reports that Congress set aside $55 million for Cuba programs for fiscal years 2009 through 2011. USAID handled nearly $31 million of that, and the State Department managed the rest. Congress appropriated $20 million for fiscal year 2012. So that makes the total $75 million since 2009.

Editor’s Note:  Capitol Hill Cubans has already highlighted the New American Foundation’s hypocrisy, given that “NAF also houses the U.S.-Cuba Policy Initiaitive, led by Anya Landau-French, which has called USAID’s Cuba democracy program a “regime change mandate.” NAF also host The Havana Note blog, whose contributors include the USAID Cuba program’s most arduous critics and Castro regime apologists. “

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