After being informed by USAID that they would have to divulge the names and travel details of individuals helping to promote democracy in Cuba as a condition to funding, Freedom House has decided to return the money to the organization. Considering the large amount of indiscriminate leaks that take place in Washington D.C. of confidential information, and no doubt the permeation of Castro agents, operatives, and informants throughout the halls of U.S. government offices, Freedom House has decided to forgo funds from USAID in order to protect their people and their operations in Cuba.
Freedom House gives back Cuba funds
The democracy-advocacy organization says receiving USAID funds for Cuba programs is conditioned on providing too much risky information that could be leaked to Havana.
Complaining that the U.S. Agency for International Development is asking for risky information about how its Cuba democracy funds are spent, the Freedom House advocacy group has surrendered a $1.7 million grant from USAID.
Information about the identities and travel plans of the people involved in its Cuba programs could be leaked to Havana, said Daniel Calingaert, deputy director of programs at Freedom House.
“We take very seriously the need to be accountable for these programs,” Calingaert said. But the USAID requests for information are “not just onerous. They really raise the risk of what we do, especially in the age of Wikileaks.”
The U.S. programs are designed to support peaceful civil society activities in the communist-ruled island, but Cuba has branded them as subversive and made it illegal to deliver or accept the U.S. assistance, requiring what USAID calls “discretion.”