Washington D.C. Forecast: Widely scattered tear showers
It is raining tears in some parts of Washington D.C. today as congress finally releases $15-million in aid to promote democracy in Cuba. Today is certainly a gloomy day for all those "Cuba Experts" who lobby on behalf of those who need an enslaved Cuba to turn a quick profit.
U.S. funds for democracy programs in Cuba get green light
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
Two members of Congress have freed $15 million for pro-democracy programs in Cuba, but are still blocking $2.6 million for a contractor whose employee is jailed in Havana, according to Washington officials.
``I am pleased the State Department has finally released these important funds,'' Sen. George Lemieux, R-Fla., said in a statement Monday revealing the release of the $15 million.
The State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are expected to distribute the funds over the next months to Cuban civil society groups in the form of supplies such as computers, medicines and aid to the families of jailed dissidents.
The release of the funds, help up since early 2009, is likely to anger the Cuban government but brought quick praise from supporters of the dissidents.
``At a time when dissidents are under siege, they need to know that the U.S. stands on their side,'' said Mauricio Claver-Carone, director of the pro-embargo U.S.-Cuba Democracy political action committee.
Cuba experts like Phil Peters must be sobbing into their coffee mugs this morning as they formulate new quotes for the news organizations on how bad an idea it is to promote democracy in Cuba is. "It will anger the regime," they will say, and hamper the efforts to "thaw out" the relationship between the US and Cuba's communist dictatorship.
Truth be told, the real fear felt by people like Phil Peters is that the large amount of time they have invested, and more importantly, the incredible amount of political capital expended to endear themselves to the Cuban regime will be nullified if the dictatorship falls. To them it is not about the Cuban people, it is about making money. And a long time ago they chose to put their money on the communist horse, hoping for a big payout once they dragged it over the finish line. That finish line just got a little farther away.
Tell you what, I wouldn't want to be Phil Peters when Sherritt International's CEO calls asking for an explanation.