Friday, September 30, 2011

U.S. democracy programs in Cuba: Youth, new media are top priorities

777 pages
I've been digging through a 777-page stack of federal financial records to try to get a better understanding of U.S. spending on democracy programs in Cuba. The chart below shows the Top 10 recipients of funds based on the financial documents I have reviewed. (Download Excel file containing the Top 10 data. See a chart showing additional organizations and spending here).

The documents contain details of about $85 million in spending since 1997. The total spent was about $150 million, so you can see that this isn't a complete picture. I will revise the Top 10 list as I get better and more accurate information. For now, this is merely a snapshot of spending based on incomplete information.

Some organizations don't mention Cuba in their spending reports even though they do work in the country, making it challenging to track their expenses. And some reports don't make it clear whether an amount is reported twice, which could inflate some of the spending numbers.

On Sept. 29, I posted a partial list of organizations and democracy program spending on a Cuba Money Project page called Where the $ Goes.

A few quick observations:
  • From 2008 to 2010, Freedom House focused on new media, grassroots initiatives and youth empowerment in Cuba, spending some $4.5 million. 
  • The Pan American Development Foundation also targeted youth in its democracy programs, spending about $3.3 million on youth and civil society programs from 2008 to 2009. 
  • From 2007 to 2008, the Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe spent more than $1.5 million on Cuba initiatives, which I found intriguing.