Tracey Eaton | June 4, 2021

Original Article: US NGOs and Cuba

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Non-governmental organizations spend a ton of money trying to influence internal affairs in Cuba. In January 2000, I published tax documents that gave some insight into spending trends. See “NGOs sink millions of dollars into Cuba fight.”
I have reviewed a sampling of tax and audit documents filed since that time and am sharing excerpts of those below.
Tax documents are useful because give specific figures for an NGO’s revenue and expenses. Trying to find the same information on government spending websites is sometimes difficult and confusing.
These documents show that some NGOs rely on several sources of government funding, share money with each other and sometimes pass along grants to unnamed “sub-recepients.” Tax records also make clear that hundreds of Cuban activists receive money from U.S. government-financed NGOs every year as part of an extensive democracy-promotion campaign.

Directorio Democrático Cubano, Inc.
A February 2021 audit of the Directorio Democrático Cubano shows that the Miami-based NGO spent $1,050,270 on radio programming, humanitarian aid, civic activities and other programs in 2019.  The audit, which found no problems or irregularities, shows that the Directorio received:

  • $644,936 from the National Endowment for Democracy, via the State Department
  • $111,637 from the International Republican Institute, via the U.S. Agency for International Development
  • $188,323 from the Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia, via USAID
  • $104,343 in donations

The NED funds included $514,458 that went toward the Directorio’s Radio Republica operation, which touts itself as the “Voice of the Cuban Resistance.”
The Directorio is located at 730 NW 107th  Ave. in Miami. The group’s national secretariat is Orlando Gutierrez, who received a salary of $77,116 in 2018. Finance director Eddy Cento received $66,774, according to a 2019 Form 990 tax document

Here’s how the audit described the group:
Directorio Democratico Cubano, Inc. (“DDC”) is a not-for-profit organization incorporated on November 14, 1995 and was granted tax-exempt status under Section 501(C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code on December 3, 1996.
DDC was established:

  1. To rescue the Cuban national culture by fostering the identification of the new generations of Cubans and Cuban-Americans with the Cuban nation.
  2. To promote freedom and democracy for Cuba in the face of the current dictatorship.
  3. To get the Cuban youth, both inside and outside Cuba, actively involved in the process to promote the respect for human rights and democracy in Cuba.

The above is being accomplished by promotion of democracy through various venues. The promotion of democracy is built on the principles of free flow of information to the Cuban people, humanitarian aid to provide support to the political prisoners and their families, and international activities.

  • Radio Republica transmissions are essential in providing the Cuban people with information and also provide an avenue whereby Cubans on the island can speak and be heard by their fellow civic-minded brothers and help promote democracy in Cuba. Radio Republica helps build a solid base in democratic principles by providing information to people who desperately need it.
  • Humanitarian aid helps the civil society with basic necessities and helps strengthen the non-violent struggle for democracy. The assistance to the political prisoners and their families, as well as to activists, in many areas, is essential to secure their survival.
  • International activities around the world to expose the lack of freedoms that exist in Cuba help build an international solidarity movement to assist the civic leaders in Cuba and speak out and denounce when the Cuban government unjustly imprisons or tortures these civic leaders.

The Directorio reported that it paid 1,930 people a total of $48,628 for “civic activities,” the Form 990 document shows. That averages out to $25.20 per person. The group also gave humanitarian aid in the form of cash grants to 236 people. Six people received a total of $1,002 in equipment, and 125 people received $21,769 in food and medicine.
The Form 990 reports paying $83,442 to two employees for radio programming, and $20,205 to 744 radio reporters.  The record also shows that the NGO received $3,583,161 in federal funds from 2014 through 2018.

Continue reading re. other US NGO Programs

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