Saturday, September 22, 2012

USAID chief: "Cuba is unique"

Rajiv Shah
The head of the Agency for International Development played down the confrontational nature of democracy aid in Cuba, telling the Miami Herald on Friday that the money isn't "for the opposition."
Rajiv Shah told the Herald that while some of the Cuban government's foes may benefit from USAID programs, “I wouldn’t characterize it as aid for the opposition."
The aid is aimed at encouraging the free flow of information and the creation of civil society, Shah said. And if some of it reaches the political opposition, well...
That view seems awfully disingenuous to me. I mean, isn't the idea to force a change in Cuba's system of government? Does Shah really believe that Cubans who accept U.S. assistance, risking jail time, are not opposed to the socialist government? Or maybe he just has an incredibly narrow definition of "political opposition."
Shah also told the Herald that since he became the agency's chief, he's tried to encourage host countries to "take ownership of aid programs."
Of course, that's not happening in Cuba.
Herald reporter Mimi Whitefield wrote:
...Shah acknowledged that Cuba is an exception and the deep relationship that USAID has with many host countries is missing in Cuba. “Cuba is unique compared with the rest of the world,’’ he said.

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