Published on 13 June 2015 by TeleSUR English
Despite claiming to be taking steps to normalize relations with Cuba, the U.S. has allocated funding for the NED. The US Committee on Appropriations approved on Friday US$30 million for “programs to promote democracy and strengthen civil society in Cuba, of which not less than US$8,000,000 shall be for NED,” as quoted from the committee report.
The NED is the National Endowment for Democracy, a fund used by the U.S. to undermine left-wing and socialist governments and support opposition groups by supposedly promoting “democracy.”
“The Committee directs that funds shall only be used for programs and activities pursuant to section 109(a) of the Cuban Liberty and Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 and section 1705 of the Cuban Democracy Act (CDA) of 1992, and shall not be used for business promotion, economic reform, entrepreneurship or any other assistance that is not democracy-building,” the report states.
US$1 million for groups in Cuba that have “experience promoting democracy”
The committee also stipulated that any locally awarded grants of over US$1 million should be to groups in Cuba that have “experience promoting democracy” there.
If the project for 2016 funding is approved by congress, it will be in addition to US$20 million already assigned for this year. The measure comes as the U.S. said last year that it wanted to normalize relations with Cuba, and the two countries have since held a number of talks.
Last month the U.S. removed Cuba from its list of so-called terrorist countries, but it has not yet put an end to its decades-long economic blockade on the island. Further, yesterday the Appropriations Committee also did not approve funding for opening a U.S. embassy in Cuba.
No funds for opening a US Embassy in Cuba
The U.S. House Appropriations Committee has restricted funds for the establishment of a U.S embassy in Cuba.
A proposed U.S. House of Representatives appropriations bill released on Tuesday excludes funds for opening a U.S. embassy in Cuba. If approved, the measure would increase “democracy assistance” and international broadcasting to Cuba, as well as lend guidance to the Secretary of State with regards to denying visas to members of the Cuban military and the Communist Party.
In recent weeks several republicans on the House Appropriations Committee expressed their opposition to the provision on funds towards opening a U.S. embassy in Cuba.
The White House had initially requested for an additional US$6.6 million in funding required to establish an embassy. The proposed embassy, which would be installed in the building that currently houses the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba, was built in 1953, requiring costly infrastructure renovations.
The United States finally removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism last Friday, a significant step toward restoring diplomatic ties between the two countries.