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US ‘democracy’ programme Exposed /FRFI 231 Feb/Mar 2013

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Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 231 February-March 2013

Documents posted on the US National Security Archive website on 18 January 2013 reveal that the government has ‘between five to seven different transition plans’ for Cuba, and that USAID-funded ‘democracy’ programmes designed to promote regime change are ‘an operational activity’ requiring ‘continuous discretion’. The documents were filed in a US court in response to a $60 million lawsuit filed by the family of Alan Gross, a US citizen serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba for ‘subversion against the state and the revolution’, against his employer Development Alternatives Inc (DAI).

Entrepreneur and mercenary, Alan Gross was under contract to DAI, which in 2008 had won a $6 million contract with USAID to ‘advance democracy’ in Cuba. This involved taking communications equipment, satellite phones and laptops with internet access into Cuba to promote subversion whilst posing as a tourist. The US government and Gross claim that he was on a humanitarian mission to aid the tiny Cuban Jewish community to achieve unfiltered internet access by distributing communications devices. However, the minutes of the 26

August 2008 meeting (http://tinyurl.com/CDCPPdocs) between DAI and USAID expose this as a lie. Gross’s contract comes under the USAID-funded Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program (CDCPP). The introduction to these minutes reveal that the CDCPP had channelled $75 million to programmes ‘encouraging greater democracy and free enterprise on the island’ in eight years since it was started in 1996 (under US President Clinton). The documents provide further proof of the systematic attempts by US imperialism to overthrow the socialist government in Cuba and explain the role played by Gross as an agent on the ground.

Cuban-American lawyer José Pertierra pointed out that, ‘this isn’t simply a matter of supplying equipment to the tiny Jewish community in Cuba’. The purpose was ‘to establish an alternative network of dissidents used in the interests of the US,’ he said, adding that ‘this is illegal in Cuba and in all the countries in the world – no sovereign government accepts a foreign power involving itself in internal activities aimed at promoting regime change’. The documentation describes CDCPP as working to ‘support the [US government’s] primary objective of hastening a peaceful transition to a democratic, market-oriented society’ in Cuba. The words ‘transition plans’ and ‘contingency’ in the CDCPP minutes are US government euphemisms for the overthrow of the Cuban state.

Pertierra contrasted the case with the 2001 convictions in the US of the Cuban Five on charges of spying against the US. ‘Gross’s programme had the intention of destabilising Cuba,’ said Pertierra. ‘The Five didn’t have the objective of destabilising the US; instead, they were working to prevent acts of terrorism against Cuba launched from and protected by the US.’ The Cuban Five have been imprisoned in the US since 1998.

Jimmy Mac