USAID Exposed in Cuba – What it Tells Us About US Subversion Worldwide

Tony Cartalucci
Activist Post

Revealed in an Associated Press (AP) investigation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had for two years attempted to create and exploit a social network within Cuba for the purpose of sparking unrest and overthrowing the Cuban government. The program was an abject failure, primarily because the Cuban government took the necessary measures to investigate, interrogate, and otherwise disrupt what was foreign-backed sedition.

AP would reveal in its report titled, “US co-opted Cuba’s hip-hop scene to spark change,” that:

The program is laid out in documents involving Creative Associates International, a Washington, D.C., contractor paid millions of dollars to undermine Cuba’s communist government. The thousands of pages include contracts, emails, preserved chats, budgets, expense reports, power points, photographs and passports. 

The work included the creation of a “Cuban Twitter” social network and the dispatch of inexperienced Latin American youth to recruit activists, operations that were the focus of previous AP stories.

Far from the first time USAID and other US organizations claiming to be aiding in development but in fact engaged in political subversion, the Cuban program itself was based on another US-backed program used to topple the government of Serbia in 2000, AP would reveal.

The USAID operation involved money covertly funneled into Cuba through front companies and offshore banks. USAID, despite the evidence, has wholly denied the operation, as has other US organizations caught in blatant political subversion.

Regarding USAID’s denial, AP would report:

“Any assertions that our work is secret or covert are simply false,” USAID said in a statement Wednesday. Its programs were aimed at strengthening civil society “often in places where civic engagement is suppressed and where people are harassed, arrested, subjected to physical harm or worse.”

If by “civil society,” USAID means networks of political subversion operating in the interests of Wall Street and Washington, then that is precisely what USAID was doing in Cuba, and does elsewhere around the world. However, USAID’s insistence that none of its work was “secret or covert” is simply a lie.

AP, in another report titled, “5 things to know about USAID’s Cuban hip-hop plan,” would reveal that USAID covered up its Cuban program under the guise of “health and civic programs.”  The same report would claim that USAID funding was hidden from the Cubans themselves involved in the program, adding an extra layer of duplicity and deceit.

What USAID’s Cuban Subversion Tells Us About US Subversion Globally 

1. The United States is engaged in political subversion around the world, disguised as “democracy promotion” and even development aid for “health and civic programs.”

2. It carries out subversion covertly through front companies, proxies, and third-party contractors, then blatantly denies all allegations no matter what evidence is produced by targeted countries, or even Western journalists investigating otherwise undeniable evidence.

3. The US uses social networks, youth groups of musicians, students, and social media groups based on Facebook and Twitter to create the illusion of growing opposition where none exists or exists but constitutes an obscure minority.

4. While the opposition movement engineered by USAID appeared oblivious to US involvement until the end, revealing documents published by AP illustrate just how utterly engineered the movement was, with psychological profiles of prominent members examined and with strategies, agendas, and objectives all determined from the top down by USAID and its contractors. Meeting minutes reveal overt attempts to manipulate individuals USAID sought to bring into their engineered opposition movement with meeting titles and talking points including, “What would motivate them to do what we ask?”

5. Despite lofty claims of “promoting democracy,” US programs are manipulative, insidious, dishonest, exploitative, and deceitful – not only to those drawn into the program, but also both the general population subjected to it in the targeted country and the global audience lied to about the true genesis of such movements when they finally do gain traction.

Revisiting Recent Political Unrest in Light of Cuba 

What other nations have suffered recent political unrest? Which of these nations featured opposition movements heavily involved with USAID and other US organizations including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)? Knowing what we now know regarding Cuba and considering attempts by USAID to first cover up their program of concerted political subversion, then denying it, what parallels can we draw elsewhere?

Hong Kong, China: The so-called “Occupy Central” movement or “Umbrella Revolution” in Hong Kong, China featured multiple groups openly funded by USAID and NED. Other groups, including student organizations meshed into these US-backed fronts so seamlessly and possessed such organizational abilities and clout across the Western media it is difficult to believe USAID was not also covertly involved with them. Joshua Wong’s “Scholarism” for example was accused by Beijing of being a US creation. The Wall Street Journal in its article, “Pro-Beijing Media Accuses Hong Kong Student Leader of U.S. Government Ties,” would state:

Evidence for Mr. Wong’s close ties to the U.S. that the paper cited included what the report described as frequent meetings with U.S. consulate personnel in Hong Kong and covert donations from Americans to Mr. Wong. As evidence, the paper cited photographs leaked by “netizens.” The story also said Mr. Wong’s family visited Macau in 2011 at the invitation of the American Chamber of Commerce, where they stayed at the “U.S.-owned” Venetian Macao, which is owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp. 

Other “Occupy Central” leaders including Martin Lee and Anson Chan literally were in Washington D.C. earlier this year lobbying for US support in front of the very organizations funding the political activity of other co-leaders including Benny Tai and even Hong Kong University which was implicated in “dirty money” used to qualify an ad hoc referendum carried out by “Occupy Central” ahead of the recent protests.

US NED would deny any involvement in the protests with empty attempts at denial echoing those of USAID in regards to Cuba.

Thailand: Supporters of ousted mass murderer and dictator, Thaksin Shinawatra and Shinawatra himself have benefited from years of US backing, including extensive lobbying efforts in Washington and USAID/NED funding for so-called “activists” who attempt to pose as impartial “academics” or “rights advocates,” but clearly and consistently back Shinawatra and his political machine.

It was revealed that Chiang Mai University “academic” Pinkaew Laungaramsri and her “Book Re:public” was funded by both USAID and convicted financial criminal George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.

Sawatree Suksri, of the so-called “Nitirat Group” or “Enlightened Jurists” of Thammasat University, is likewise deeply involved in programs run by US NED. She took part in a US State Department “exchange program,” contributed to a NED Freedom House report used annually in coordination with subversion efforts to stack global public opinion against targeted nations, and even hosted Thaksin Shinawatra’s corporate lobbyist, Robert Amsterdam, in the front row of one of Nitirat’s public forums.

Perhaps most troubling of all is her ties to Thailand’s Prachatai website – funded millions of baht a year by NED, USAID, and Open Society. Prachatai, like those involved in the Cuban scandal, after first denying being funded at all, now denies their work and their extensive US funding is used for anything but “civic” programs. While they were forced to publish their extensive US funding in 2011, they have not updated it since, nor have they ever published the funding in Thai for their Thai readers. They are ceaseless proponents of Thaksin Shinawatra and his political machine, including his so-called “red shirt” street movement and the various disingenuous, US-funded academics described above. 

Syria/Iran: In one particular 2009 US policy paper titled, “Which Path to Persia?” by the Brookings Institution regarding the overthrow of Iran, it is stated specifically that:

One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.

Here, US policymakers are openly conspiring to covertly provoke a nation through political subversion. The resulting “act of aggression” would be portrayed as “unprovoked,”and used to place increasing pressure on the targeted country.

The policy paper also openly talks about the particulars of fomenting political unrest. Under a section called literally, “Finding the Right Proxies” it states:

One of the hardest tasks in fomenting a revolution, or even just unrest, is finding the right local partners.

After openly admitting the goal of “fomenting a revolution” or “unrest,” it then details what support to provide these proxies:

…students and other groups need covert backing for their demonstrations. They need fax machines. They need internet access, funds to duplicate materials, and funds to keep vigilantes from beating them up. Beyond this, U.S.-backed media outlets could highlight regime shortcomings and make otherwise obscure critics more prominent. The United States already supports Persian-language satellite television (Voice of america Persian) and radio (radio Farda) that bring unfiltered news to Iranians (in recent years, these have taken the lion’s share of overt U.S. funding for promoting democracy in Iran). U.S. economic pressure (and perhaps military pressure as well) can discredit the regime, making the population hungry for a rival leadership. 

The report also mentions the use of armed groups supporting US-engineered sedition:

Some who favor fomenting regime change in Iran argue that it is utopian to hold out hope for a velvet revolution; instead, they contend that the United States should turn to Iranian opposition groups that already exist, that already have demonstrated a desire to fight the regime, and who appear willing to accept U.S. assistance. The hope behind this course of action is that these various opposition groups could transform themselves into more potent movements that might be able to overturn the regime

In this 2009 document, we see verbatim the same methodologies exposed by AP in use in Cuba. We also see additional steps including the use of armed groups to carry out subversion and regime change. Such violence was employed in the above mentioned Southeast Asian nation of Thailand in 2009 and 2010, also admittedly in Iran, and most obviously in neighboring Syria where a now 4 year war has been waged by US-backed terrorists and has devastated the country.

Ukraine: These elements of political subversion were also all to be seen in Ukraine – a nation in which America and NATO’s incessant meddling is a matter of long-standing public record. The Guardian would admit in its 2004 article, “US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev,” that (emphasis added):

…while the gains of the orange-bedecked “chestnut revolution” are Ukraine’s, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes.

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze.

Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.

That one failed. “There will be no Kostunica in Belarus,” the Belarus president declared, referring to the victory in Belgrade.

But experience gained in Serbia, Georgia and Belarus has been invaluable in plotting to beat the regime of Leonid Kuchma in Kiev.

The operation – engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience – is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people’s elections.Not only has Ukraine suffered because of  this admitted US-backed political destabilization over the years, but as revealed by the Guardian and other sources, all of Eastern Europe has fallen prey to this brand of foreign-backed subversion, manipulation, and regime change.

Putting an End to US Subversion 

America’s global wrecking ball of subversion, torture dungeons, death squads, proxy wars, and outright military aggression is today’s most pressing threat to global stability, peace, and progress. Wall Street and Washington’s pursuit of global hegemony has left millions dead and entire nations in ruins. 

Stopping this enterprise requires a concerted effort by nations, states and provinces, local communities, and individuals themselves to begin boycotting and permanently replacing with viable alternatives the corporate-financial monopolies driving this destructive hegemon.

To combat political subversion specifically, Cuba and China have set a series of good examples. For Cuba, ignoring the West’s “human rights” racket, constructed specifically to serve as cover for and to protect their agents of subversion from prosecution, has allowed them to search for and seize incriminating evidence used to expose USAID and their proxies thus turning Cuban public opinion against them. China likewise has done a masterful job exposing the foreign ties and illegitimacy of the “Occupy Central” movement, their true backers and their true agenda. 

For most of these movements, they represent an obscure minority the US has attempted to artificially magnify both within their respective countries and upon the global stage. It is important for nations to address legitimate grievances and to reserve searches and seizures for agents of subversion only. Social upheaval and perceived injustices simply give the US and its networks of subversion a greater foothold to seize upon.

Tony Cartalucci’s articles have appeared on many alternative media websites, including his own at
Land Destroyer Report, Alternative Thai News Network and LocalOrg. Read other contributed articles by Tony Cartalucci here.

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