The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development plan to spend $20 million to promote democracy in Cuba. Below is a breakdown of the budget:
Pan American Development Foundation: $259,342. Previously, the foundation received a three-year grant as part of a program called, "Facilitating the Free Flow of Information." "... At the request of civil society groups inside the island, PADF expanded the program to include the provision of humanitarian assistance to civil society groups." The current grant will help activists distribute "independent non-censored information at the grassroots level" and it will also support the ongoing provision of humanitarian aid.
TBD (Contractor to be determined): Exchange of Ideas on Human Rights: $1,350,000. "This program will provide community leaders in Cuba with the opportunity to experience first-hand fundamental freedoms like freedom of expression and assembly, and how these freedoms are exercised in a an open and democratic context."
Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia: $100,000. These funds will continue to support GAD's three-year grant to provide human aid, including food and over-the-counter medicines.
TBD: Labor Rights: $750,000. "These funds will be used to raise awareness of the current state of labor rights on the island and Cuba's obligation under international labor law." The program will help Cuban activists draw attention to labor law violations. Funds will go toward training, outreach and awareness.
TBD: Afro-Cuban Equality and Advocacy:$500,000. Funds will be used to "raise awareness of issues affecting Afro-Cubans and assist in the development of a network of independent Afro-Cuban groups in Cuba."
International Relief and Development: $1,470,026. The funds continue to support the organization's ongoing three-year grant, which is related to "community empowerment through action."
National Democratic Institute: $895,184. The money support the institute's ongoing three-year grant aimed at "strengthening civil society through community-level engagement." The program helps boost Cuban activists' leadership skills and self confidence at the community level and is designed to "create a strong foundation for independent civil society over time."
Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba: $1,399,351. The money supports the foundation's three-year project called Poder - Program to Develop Empowerment Reliably. The program involves training activists and civil society to address their community needs. "Activities will provide an opportunity for participants to model democratic behavior by building expectations for an opening an window toward a future where collaborative meaningful engagement between citiziens and local officials to address community needs is possible." The program is aimed at continuing to enhance the skills of Cubans so they will be better able to "advocate for community needs, thereby increasing expectations and accountability for improved governance."
PADF: $1,704,658: Support three-year award to "disseminate independent information by encouraging opportunities among various civil society groups and networks to exchange ideas, resolve issues of common concern and potentially pool resources to achieve common objectives." Money will be used to facilitate production and distribution of audio-visual and print material, and support the organization of workshops, discussions, reading circles and debates to inspire critical thinking. The program will also include "demand-driven specialized training" on leadership, technology, vocational training and education.
TBD: Independent Journalism: $1,500,000. A program to continue to improve professional capacity of independent journalists in Cuba.
TBD: Digital Tools for Safe and Effective Civil Society: $850,000.
TBD: Social Analysis and Advocacy: $750,000. Funds to be used to "support the capacity of nacent independent Cuban think tanks to produce and disseminate data-driven analysis on issues concerning Cubans on the island."
National Endowment for Democracy: $4 million. Funds will be used to support independent democratic civil society activists in Cuba. Among the goals: to "cultivate the analytical capacity of existing civil society actors" and to promote greater knowledge and adherence to international norms laid out in regional and global multilateral institutions." This includes political, civic and human rights, including freedom of association and expression.
TBD: Promoting Democratic Principles to Cubans and Material Support. $500,000. The money will boost understanding of democratic norms, including the rule of law and ethics, and will help activists learn to empower communities and help press for an "independent non-political justice system."
Administration and oversight: $3,971,439, which will go to the following agencies:
- USAID/LAC (Latin America & the Caribbean): $2,271,439.
- State, DRL (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor): $1,500,000.
- State/WHA (Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs): $200,000.
Grand total: $20 million.
Note: This article was shared with the Center for Democracy in the Americas as part of a six-month collaborative project with non-profit group. See more about our collaboration here.