27 June 2006

USAID statement to the Senate

Anti-Castro Americans will take comfort in hearing that the administration continues to believe that the embargo is the path to a peaceful transition to democracy. From CQ:

President Bush, again on May 20, 2006, reaffirmed U.S. government support to the
Cuban people to help promote a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba.
The Castro regime continues to deny Cuban citizens the most fundamental human
rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to organize
independent labor unions and political parties, freedom of religion, and other
freedoms contained in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights. Amnesty
International, in its May 2006 Annual Report, cites the Castro regime`s
harassment and intimidation of Cuban human rights activists, especially through
violent attacks by the government`s ``rapid-response brigades,`` in collusion
with members of State security. Similarly, Freedom House lists Cuba among the
eight most repressive regimes with failing scores in political rights and civil

The USAID Cuba program works closely with the Department
of State`s Cuba Transition Coordinator and the Bureau for Western Hemisphere
Affairs to help strengthen Cuba`s independent civil society by increasing the
flow of accurate information on democracy, human rights, and free enterprise to,
from, and within Cuba. Since 1996, USAID has granted more than $48 million to
U.S. universities and nongovernmental organizations to build solidarity with
Cuba`s human rights activists, give voice to Cuba`s independent journalists,
defend the rights of Cuban workers, strengthen independent Cuban nongovernmental
organizations, and help the Cuban people plan for a transition to democracy.

So how many chickens, tomatoes, beans and rice can 48 million buy in Cuba?