Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The trail leads to Central America

Central America has long been a popular base for political, military and humanitarian operations targeting Cuba.
With that in mind, I was intrigued to see that USAID in 2009 awarded more than $1.5 million to the Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos in Costa Rica.

Screenshot from
The initial award, dated April 17, 2009, clearly shows Cuba as the "principal place of performance." In federal government lingo, that's the place where a job or contract is carried out.

But I only saw the Cuba reference once in the five listings related to the contract on the government website,

I don't know what that means.

Among the possibilities:
  • Cuba was the target country for only the initial contract, worth $400,000.
  • Cuba is the main target of the $1.5 million contract, but USAID and the contractor have neglected to cite the place of performance, intentionally or not.
  • Cuba was the principal place of performance initially, but that changed.
  • Work is done in both countries and USAID doesn't care how it's listed.
  • The Cuba listing was a mistake.
Greater clarity would increase the transparency of USAID programs in the Americas, and it would lessen suspicions that the agency may be doing semi-clandestine work in Cuba.

USAID grants to IIDH. Source: records don't give details of the contract. The work is described as "development assistance."

The Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos, or IIDH, isn't listed on USAID's website as one of the agency's current partners in Cuba. They are:
  • Creative Associates - $7 million from August 2008 to June 2012
  • ECHO Cuba - $1 million from June 2009 to June 2012
  • Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba - $3.4 million from September 2011 to September 2014
  • Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia - $1.5 million from September 2010 to September 2012
  • International Relief and Development - $3.5 million from September 2011 to September 2014
  • International Republican Institute - $3.7 million from August 2008 to June 30, 2012
  • Loyola University - $3 million from September 2010 to September 2013
  • National Democratic Institute - $2.3 million from September 2011 to September 2014
  • Pan-American Development Foundation - $3.9 million from September 2011 to September 2014
The IIDH is listed as a USAID partner that is taking part in a program to build "more inclusive and equitable democracies in the Americas."

The group's contract with USAID ends on Aug. 31, 2012, USASpending records show.

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