The Obama administration sent young Latin Americans to Cuba as part of a clandestine operation under the guise of being health and civic programs volunteers, according to an Associated Press report. The Americans were allegedly placed in dangerous situations with little to no training. Even after warnings to yank the undercover operatives when a U.S. contractors was sent to a Cuban jail, the Obama administration kept the teams in place, if the report is accurate.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) reportedly began overseeing the Cuban undercover program in 2009. If the investigation by the Associated Press is accurate, the young Latin Americans frequently posed as tourists and traveled around the island nation “scouting for people” who could possibly be turned into “political activists.”
At least once, the USAID workers reportedly organized an HIV-prevention workshop that government memos allegedly deemed “the perfect excuse” to achieve the political goals of the program. Some now feel that using a medical aid and education effort as a front for the Cuban program could undermine efforts by the United States to improve global health.
Excerpt from Associated Press report on the Obama administration’s covert operation in Cuba:
“Cuban authorities questioned who was bankrolling the travelers. The young workers nearly blew their mission to ‘identify potential social-change actors.’ One said he got a paltry, 30-minute seminar on how to evade Cuban intelligence, and there appeared to be no safety net for the inexperienced workers if they were caught. Although there is never total certainty, trust that the authorities will not try to harm you physically, only frighten you,’ read a memo obtained by the AP. ‘Remember that the Cuban government prefers to avoid negative media reports abroad, so a beaten foreigner is not convenient for them.”
Approximately 12 of the Latin Americans involved in the Obama administration’s Cuban rebellion program were paid as little as $5.41 per hour for the risky work, the investigative report goes on to state. USAID and its contractor for the endeavor, Creative Associates International, did not put a stop to the covert operation even as government contractors were cautioned to suspend travel to Cuba. Such warnings reported came after Alan Gross was jailed for allegedly smuggling “sensitive technology” in Cuba. Gross remains imprisoned today.
The USAID covert Cuban program allegations are making headlines as the Obama administration faces questions about the “Cuban Twitter” project. The once covert project known as ZunZuneo was reportedly launched by the same federal government agency in 2009. The Associated Press discovered the primitive social media network functioning in Cuban in April. Cuban leaders were unaware of the social network allegedly being used by citizens. The USAID inspector general is still investigating the Cuban Twitter program, which ended in the fall of 2012.
What do you think about the Latin Americans being sent to Cuba to stir up political change in the country?
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