Thursday, November 25, 2010

John McAuliff: Cuban reaction shouldn't be a surprise

John McAuliff, whose columns about Cuba appear in the Havana Note, the Huffington Post and other websites, said he wonders what USAID has learned from the Dec. 3, 2009, detention of Alan Gross.
McAuliff said he was struck by something USAID told me in an Oct. 25 Q&A.
USAID said:
We acknowledge that there are varying views within Cuba and around the world regarding efforts to reach the Cuban people, and we certainly respect these differing views and take them into account. Clearly, no one is required to accept or take part in any USG programs if they don’t want to. There are many groups and individuals inside and outside Cuba who believe the funds are useful in supporting their ability to carry out their activities and promote fundamental freedoms -- freedoms, it should be noted, that are engendered in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and democratic norms throughout the world. Experience in Cuba and in other closed-societies shows that such programs play a positive role in empowering those who work towards positive change and the promotion of fundamental freedoms.
McAuliff said:
I keep coming back to the concluding paragraph of your USAID interview. In other words, same old American self righteousness. No regrets for sending Alan Gross. No willingness to stop sending other Alans. What else do they expect the Cubans to do? What would we do in their situation?
Thank you to everyone who has sent me your opinion about USAID in Cuba. I welcome all points of view.

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