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Chairman Kerry Delays Additional Spending On “Democracy Promotion” Programs In Cuba

Washington, DC – After receiving notification that the U.S. Agency for International Development intends to spend another $20 million for “democracy promotion” programs in Cuba, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) said today that he would oppose the spending until a full review of the programs is completed.  He issued the following statement:

“We all hope the Cuban people achieve greater freedom and prosperity in the future consistent with their aspirations, and I have applauded the Administration’s commitment to expand people-to-people contact between our two countries.  There is no evidence, however, that the ‘democracy promotion’ programs, which have cost the U.S. taxpayer more than $150 million so far, are helping the Cuban people.  Nor have they achieved much more than provoking the Cuban government to arrest a U.S. government contractor who was distributing satellite communication sets to Cuban contacts.  Before this $20 million is committed, a full review of the programs should be undertaken and the Administration should consult with the Congress.  The GAO, which has investigated fraud and abuse in these programs in the past, is already undertaking another investigation at my request into the legal basis and effectiveness of these operations.”