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DAI Contractor Arrested in Cuba

Cuba amonesta a diplomáticos extranjeros  12/16/2009 Nuevo Herald: "Un día antes de la citación de los diplomáticos al MINREX, la televisión cubana mostró fotos y criticó como "un acto de intromisión en los asuntos internos'' la presencia de cuatro diplomáticos occidentales en las manifestaciones, protagonizadas por activistas disidentes y miembros del movimiento cívico Damas de Blanco en céntricos lugares de La Habana. Las imágenes identificaban a Chistopher Stimpson, segundo secretario de la Embajada Británica; Volker Pellet, segundo jefe de la Embajada de Alemania; y los estadounidenses Kathleen Duffy y Dale Lawton, funcionarios de la USINT. La prensa internacional circuló fotos y videos de Stimpson en el Parque Villalón, rodeado de manifestantes pro gubernamentales que le obligaron a tomar su automóvil y abandonar el el lugar."

State Department: US Claims to Help Cubans Communicate Globally  12/16/2009 Along the Malecon 

Contractor arrest may ruffle Obama's Cuba overture  12/15/2009 Reuters: "Maryland-based Development Alternatives Inc, which says it has a federal contract to support "just and democratic governance in Cuba," described the American held as a sub-contractor employed "to assist Cuban civil society organizations". These Cuban dissident groups are termed "mercenaries" and "traitors" by the Cuban government, which has often accused the United States of supporting them openly and also covertly in a bid to undermine communist rule on the Caribbean island."

American being held in high-security Cuban prison  12/15/2009 Miami Herald: "The New York Times broke the story in a report Saturday that quoted U.S. officials as saying the American arrived on the island on a Cuban tourist visa, not an official or business visa, and had been handing out the communications equipment ``on behalf of the Obama administration.'' [Carrying out business activities under a tourist visa is illegal in many countries, including the US.]

US Contractor Seized  12/12/2009 NYT: "A U.S. government contract worker, who was distributing cell phones, laptops and other communications equipment in Cuba on behalf of the Obama administration, has been detained by authorities here, U.S. officials said yesterday. The officials said the contractor, who works for a company based in the Washington suburbs, was detained Dec. 5. They said the United States Interests Section in Havana was awaiting Cuba's response to a request for consular access to the man, who was not identified. The detention and the mysterious circumstances surrounding it threaten to reignite tensions between the countries at a time when both had promised to open new channels of engagement. U.S. officials said they were encouraged that the Cubans had not publicized the detention, and they said they were hopeful that he might be quietly released."

Statement from DAI President and CEO Jim Boomgard Regarding Detention of Subcontractor in Cuba, DAI, 12/14/09

Author: DAI
Date: December 14, 2009

The New York Times and other media outlets have reported the detention of a U.S. citizen in Cuba linked to DAI. 

DAI is a professional economic development organization that has for 40 years been working to bring development benefits to millions of disadvantaged people in more than 100 countries worldwide. 

Our prime concern is for the safety, well-being, and quick return to the United States of the detained individual. We have been working closely with the State Department to ensure that the detainee's safety and well-being is given top priority. Given the delicacy of this situation, we ask for media discretion. All inquires should be directed to the State Department. 

In 2008, DAI competed for and was awarded a contract, the Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program, to help the U.S. Government implement activities in support of the rule of law and human rights, political competition, and consensus building, and to strengthen civil society in support of just and democratic governance in Cuba (http://www.usaid.gov/locations/latin_america_caribbean/country/cuba/ ).

The new program was also designed to help the U.S. Government address challenges raised about some aspects of its program in the past ( November 2006 GAO report on US Democracy Assistance for Cuba -- www.gao.gov/new.items/d07147.pdf ). DAI was engaged on the basis of its positive track record in development, and its capacity to provide sound management and administration of key aspects of U.S. Government programs such as this one, which involves support for the peaceful activities of a broad range of nonviolent organizations through competitively awarded grants and subcontracts. 

The detained individual was an employee of a program subcontractor, which was implementing a competitively issued subcontract to assist Cuban civil society organizations.

www.dai.com/about/newsroom.php?nid=336

U.S. contractor seized, 12/12/09

By 12/14/09, this story had disappeared from this link: www.post-gazette.com/pg/09346/1020462-82.stm

Cuba detains American for distributing laptops and cell phones
Saturday, December 12, 2009
By Marc Lacey and Ginger Thompson, The New York Times

HAVANA -- A U.S. government contract worker, who was distributing cell phones, laptops and other communications equipment in Cuba on behalf of the Obama administration, has been detained by authorities here, U.S. officials said yesterday.

The officials said the contractor, who works for a company based in the Washington suburbs, was detained Dec. 5. They said the United States Interests Section in Havana was awaiting Cuba's response to a request for consular access to the man, who was not identified.

The detention and the mysterious circumstances surrounding it threaten to reignite tensions between the countries at a time when both had promised to open new channels of engagement. U.S. officials said they were encouraged that the Cubans had not publicized the detention, and they said they were hopeful that he might be quietly released.

Cuba has allowed more citizens than ever to buy cell phones and computers, but even the limited access to digital technology that is available has created problems for the government. Cuban officials have shown particular concern about Yoani Sanchez, a prominent government critic who keeps in touch with thousands of followers with a blog and a Twitter account.

Recently, the Cuban government denied Ms. Sanchez a visa to accept a prestigious journalism award in New York. President Barack Obama has also made a guest appearance on her blog, sending written answers to questions she submitted to him.

U.S. programs to promote democracy in Cuba have also been the focus of intense debate in the United States. A 2006 report by the Government Accountability Office found that nearly all of the $74 million that the U.S. Agency for International Development spent on contracts to foster democracy in Cuba over the previous decade had been distributed, without competitive bidding or oversight, to Cuban-exile organizations in Miami rather than groups in Cuba itself. Groups financed by the program, the GAO found, made questionable purchases, including cashmere sweaters and Godiva chocolates.

In 2008, the Bush administration sought to overhaul the program, promising to award contracts to groups beyond those in Florida and to devote most of the budget to buying communications equipment to help expand Cubans' access to information.

The detention of the unidentified American contractor, some Cuba experts said, demonstrated that Cuban President Raul Castro had not abandoned the hard-line tactics used for years by his older brother, Fidel, to stifle dissent. "Under Cuba's draconian laws," said Jose Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch, "even the act of handing out cell phones to government critics can be considered a crime."

The detainee, officials said, was employed by Development Alternatives Inc., which had at least $391,000 in government contracts last year. Based in Bethesda, Md., the company is a kind of do-it-all development company that provides services to the U.S. government in countries around the world. Company officials did not respond yesterday to requests for comment.

Read more: 74.125.93.132/search?q=cache:ncMYS7fu7iMJ:www.post-gazette.com/pg/09346/1020462-82.stm
+%22US+Contractor+Seized%22&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us#ixzz0ZiNz9tPY


Links
top/Enlaces

The Discourse on Racism in Anti-Castro Publications, 2008-2009

Cuba's Plantocracy: Cuban American business and terrorism, 2005

Funding Dissidents: 2002

The attempt to divide Cuba on racial lines, 7/9/01  Alberto Jones

Funding Dissidents: 2001

Dissidents and Race, 2001

Funding Dissidents: 2000 and before

 

USAID Cuba page

November 2006 GAO report on US Democracy Assistance for Cuba -- www.gao.gov/new.items/d07147.pdf

Millenium Corporation

Development Alternatives, Inc

 

Cyber Cuba News

 

 

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