|East of Havana|
I had posted documents showing the expenses of two pro-democracy groups: Grupo de Apoyo para la Democracia en Cuba, or GAD, and the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, or FHRC.
The documents showed that the foundation was sending a smaller share of its funds to Cuban dissidents than the GAD, and that triggered some criticism of the foundation in Miami.
A supporter of the foundation got in touch with me to explain that the criticism is unfair. In the interest of balance, I'd like to share this point of view despite the fact that the source would not go on the record.
The source said the foundation's Cuba program is "having tremendous impact."
Hundreds of people are being helped on the island. Dissidents receive monthly stipends. Cell phones are being paid for. I mean, it's an incredible thing they've done, the Foundation for Human Rights.We discussed the defunding of USAID programs in Cuba (see USAID out of Cuba by 2015). The source said U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart was responsible for steering the pro-democracy funds from USAID to the State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy, or NED.
This is all Mario, just a personal vendetta.Why? I asked. The source replied:
When the Obama administration came into power, the foundation had always complained about these programs being nothing but political patronage.Diaz-Balart wanted payback, the source said. What the lawmaker had been trying to do "for a very long time was to accuse the State Department, AID, of cronyism."
The reason: USAID gave money to the foundation after Obama took office.
The source claimed that Diaz-Balart prefers that the money to go the State Department and the NED because there it will be split among Republicans and Democrats and Diaz-Balart "can take a big chunk of it for his right-wing friends in Miami."
It's sad, of course, because it's all about the money as opposed to actually getting something done. It's very disappointing.