Saturday, April 25, 2015

USAID supports freedom of [redacted] in Cuba

Released nearly four years after FOIA submission
The Agency for International Development has released a new document about a Freedom House program called New Media Initiatives for Cuba.
Key portions of the 18-page document are redacted, so it is difficult to gain a full understanding of the project.
The document states:
The NewMIC Project is designed to enhance the [redacted] among Cuba's civil society, with a particular emphasis on supporting [redacted] through the application of [redacted]. Specifically, the Project will assist [redacted] in advancing their [redacted] including [redacted]. By providing [redacted], the Project will also foster freedom of expression among [redacted] for change, [redacted] and promote understanding of [redacted] among the general population as well as abroad.
Freedom House ran the program for a secretive USAID branch known as the Office of Transition Initiatives, or OTI. (See "USAID hides money trail" and "The [redacted] USAID shell game").
OTI operated in Cuba from September 2007 to September 2011, budget records show. I sometimes wonder if they're going back in (See "Another 'window of opportunity' for OTI?").
In October 2011, I requested further information about the New Media Initiatives program under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.
In response, USAID in May 2012 released a 33-page document showing that Freedom House had operated the $1.47 million Cuba project from September 2007 to June 2009.

USAID withheld the project proposal and other material. I appealed the decision and USAID on April 10 released the proposal.

Project goals are unclear
The document cites the importance of "capacity building"
Notation in margin: "Modest humanitarian assistance budget"
Testing an Internet connection? Satellite phone? Mobile phone network?
The document cites support of "political activists"
Jennifer Windsor
The executive director of Freedom House when the program was underway was Jennifer Windsor. She is now international affairs director for Women for Women International, according to her LinkedIn profile.

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