BY STUART HOOPER
AUGUST 11, 2014
21st Century Wire
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The effects of clandestine groups infiltrating, and coopting, ‘aid’ and ‘development’ organizations can be devastating. A report broken by the Associated Press details a Cuban man who met foreign visitors in college and came to call them his friends. But, these visitors were actually under secret instruction from the US Agency for International Development.
Video presentation of this report can be found here:
A contractor called Creative Associates, hired by US Aid, recruited young people from Peru, Venezuela and Costa Rica, and then sent them to Cuba to find others who might be fashioned into anti-Communist activists. This is the same company that established the Cuban Twitter – another attempt to incite a revolution. US Aid established a fake HIV prevention workshop in Cuba where their young recruits worked to turn young people against the Castro regime. The operation has been going on since 2009 and the young people were taught codes such as:
I have a headache.
Which meant, ‘we may be being watched’. And:
Return home sooner, your sister is ill.
Meaning, ‘leave as soon as possible’.
A Statement from US Aid said that the organization is ‘committed to supporting the Cuban people’s desire to freely determine their own future’. Although, in reality it looks more like it has to be a future determined favorable by the US Government. The man from the AP report said that he felt ‘manipulated’, when in actual fact he was so much more than manipulated – he was in incredible danger! After undertaking a few short seminars, these young people were expected to do the work of a seasoned CIA officer, which is something that could have easily gotten their vastly inexperienced and unprepared selves into severe trouble with Cuban authorities.
US Aid also had the audacity to say in a statement that this operation was not secret or covert. If so, one must ask why US Aid did not go ahead and put up a sign that said, ‘Revolutionary Recruitment’, instead of, ‘HIV Prevention Workshop’?
The US attempting to overthrow sovereign governments is a huge problem, but the additional problem here is that this completely undermines the work of genuine aid programs and organizations. Now, even the most trustworthy and decent member of such groups might be suspicious of why they are being asked to do something, or find themselves on the receiving end of questions from locals like, ‘do you work for the CIA?’. This puts pressure on both the givers and receivers of aid, and only works to hinder efforts attempting to help those in need around the world. Furthermore, it weakens the stance of all NGOs and severely damages the reputation of US Aid.
Instead of trying to justify what they have done, US Aid needs to issue an apology for endangering the lives of these young people and embarking upon what can only be described as a reckless mission. Aid definitely does not always aid, but, when clandestine operations like this one are in place, aid can never aid.
Stuart J. Hooper