Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ex-State Department official: Pro-democracy work in Cuba fraught with peril


The U.S. government pro-democracy program in Cuba has been “an accident waiting to happen," Cuba expert Phil Peters said in the January issue of CubaNews.
Peters, a former State Department official, said:
It’s all about transition, which to the Cuban government means regime change.
Peters, who runs the Cuba program at the Lexington Institute, told CubaNews that some Americans may not realize that it is perilous to work in Cuba on behalf of the U.S. government. He said the U.S. Agency for International Development:
sends people down there with no protection and at great risk.
Cuban authorities jailed Alan P. Gross last month and accused him of being a spy. A friend and colleague of his, Robert Otto, denied that accusation. He told CubaNews:
He’s a good guy, he’s not a spook. He’s not James Bond, he’s a development guy.
Also in this month's issue of CubaNews are two stories I wrote - one piece on the 2010 Florida Senate race, another on Omni Zona-Franca, an unusual Cuban counterculture group.
And there's much more in this issue, including a candid profile of Ten Henken, the New York professor who writes El Yuma, a lively blog that has really taken off since its creation in October.
Henken told CubaNews Publisher Larry Luxner:
Every time I go to Cuba, I lie to the U.S. government and tell them I’m going to destabilize the regime. And I tell the Cuban government I’m going to lay on the beach. I end up doing neither.
Along the Malecon's U.S.-Cuba relations page
Along the Malecon's Spy vs. spy page


Antonio said...

This kind of work is amazingly short sighted on the part if the US government. Change in Cuba will never come this way...trying to cut down a tree with a Swiss army knofe

Tracey Eaton said...

Thanks for your comment, Antonio. The U.S.-Cuba conflict is going to take some time to unravel. There is a lot of passion about the issue all the way around. I can't help but feel for Cubans who want greater freedoms - freedom to connect to the Internet, for instance. At the same time, the U.S. government's carrot-and-stick approach seems to only worsen U.S.-Cuba relations.