Monday, December 19, 2022

US Opposes New Cable to Cuba

 

U.S. Justice Recommends Preventing Submarine Cable from Connecting U.S. with Cuba

The ARCOS-1 USA Inc. underwater cable system made the request to the FCC to adapt its network to include the first and only connection of its kind between the U.S. and Cuba

 

The U.S. Department of Justice recommended Wednesday to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny a permit for  the installation of the first submarine telecommunications cable that would connect the United States with Cuba.

The Cuban government represents a "counterintelligence threat" to the US and, given that the state communications company Etecsa would manage the cable landing system, Havana could "access sensitive US data traveling through the new cable segment," the US Justice explained in a statement cited by the Efe agency.

US presents at the G7 project of a submarine cable to unite Europe and Asia

"As long as the Government of Cuba remains a counterintelligence threat to the United States and is allied with others doing the same, the risks to our infrastructure are simply very great," Deputy Homeland Security Attorney Matthew G. Olsen said in a statement.

According to the Department of Justice, Cuba's relations with other "foreign adversaries" such as China or Russia, represent a risk to the government if there were such a connection.

Olsen noted that the U.S., however, "supports a secure, reliable and open Internet network around the world, including Cuba."

The ARCOS-1 USA Inc. underwater cable system made the request to the FCC to adapt its network to include the first and only connection of its kind between the U.S. and Cuba.

The ARCOS-1 network connects 24 landing points in 15 countries on the continent, including the U.S., Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua and Mexico.

Internet crash reported in Cuba for about seven hours

The U.S. has criticized Cuba's government for limiting internet access on the island, especially after protests erupted on the island this summer. Havana, for its part, maintains that the embargo imposed by the US governments has prevented it from accessing any of the dozens of cables that pass near its coasts.

Efe/OnCuba.

U.S. Justice Recommends Preventing Submarine Cable from Connecting U.S. with Cuba | OnCubaNews

 

 

Deputy Foreign Minister Accpts pro Private Sector US Policies

 

Cuba would not oppose easing the blockade if only to benefit the private sector

The Cuban deputy foreign minister declared that if partial exceptions to the blockade allow "greater prosperity for any sector of the economy, we will not put up obstacles."

 

Cuba would not oppose any initiative to relax the economic and financial sanctions imposed by the United States government, even if it only brings benefits to the emerging private sector on the island.

"If exceptions to the blockade are introduced with the dream of ending the Revolution, we are not going to oppose it," Carlos Fernández de Cossío, deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Minrex), said Wednesday during his speech at an academic forum dedicated to analyzing the state of relations between Cuba and the United States in the current international context.

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The diplomat acknowledged that these steps would be aimed at "subverting the country's political system" and described the idea as a "major mistake."

The push for greater support for Cuban private entrepreneurs is among the measures announced last May by the administration of Democrat Joe Biden, something that the Cuban government describes as "a political weapon."

Fernández de Cossío explained that the purposes are not focused on contributing to the economic development of the country, nor to the improvement of the living conditions of a broad sector of the population.

"If this allows greater prosperity of any sector of the economy, we will not put up obstacles. If they manage to devise exceptions that benefit some and continue to punish others, we will not try to prevent it either," he said.

On the current scenario of relations between Cuba and the United States, the Cuban deputy foreign minister said that "it has not had perceptible changes," although he acknowledged that during 2022 important steps were taken, and that these were not unilateral.

He mentioned the exchanges on migration issues held in May in Washington, and then in Havana last November, because it is a phenomenon that "affects both countries."

In turn, he recalled that this type of meetings had not been held since July 2018, and that during all that time the United States did not honor the agreements signed by both countries.

He also valued the talks as "constructive", since they served "to verify the validity of the agreements, reiterate the mutual political commitment, identify areas that require greater attention, and analyze issues that are not included in the agreements, but have great influence on the agreements."

Fernández de Cossío confirmed that at the end of the most recent fiscal year the US government complied with the delivery of at least 20,000 visas, something that had not happened since 2017, and considered as positive the announcement that as of next January the US embassy in Havana would resume all consular services interrupted by the government of Donald Trump.

The diplomat highlighted other exchanges held this year, including that of experts on false documentation, and that of specialists from the Guard Troops of the Ministry of the Interior (Minint) and the United States Coast Guard, which maintains the safe repatriation to the island of people intercepted at sea.

The Cuban diplomat also referred to other dialogues held in the area of confronting oil spills at sea, in the area of health, and announced that others related to the protection of the environment are being prepared.

"There has been a greater degree of dialogue between Minrex and the State Department and other agencies. They are mutual steps of some importance that cannot be ignored," he said.

In the opposite direction

Fernández de Cossío also emphasized issues in which the relationship between the two countries has not been able to advance. He mentioned among them the inclusion of Cuba in a list of nations in which there is concern about religious freedom, accusations that, he said, were made "without foundation and with dishonest arguments."

He also referred to other steps announced "with much fanfare" and without the commitment to dismantle the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, such as the relaxation in the sending of remittances to Cuba.

"There is still no regular flow of remittances... and if it happens in the near future, it is due to steps that Cuba has taken and not to decisions taken by the United States," he said.

The deputy minister also considered as incoherent the objective of the United States to promote Internet connectivity in Cuba, "because it is the decision of that government that many private commercial sites in your country are prohibited in Cuba," he said.

To illustrate this contradiction, he also referred to the recent negative recommendation of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the installation of the first submarine telecommunications cable that would connect the United States and Cuba.

As a measure taken in the right direction, he explained the reopening of flights from the United States to several Cuban provinces and the facilities promised for group travel for U.S. citizens, which have worked well so far.

"They are a contrast to the last two years of the Trump administration and to the year 2021, and it is part of what describes the bilateral relationship," he said.

However, the diplomat described the current Democratic administration as the one that "with more aggressiveness and effectiveness has applied the blockade" against Cuba, adding that these sanctions "continue to be the central and defining factor of the bilateral relationship between Cuba and the United States."

Cuba would not oppose easing the blockade if only to benefit the private sector | OnCubaNews

 

Cuba no se opondría a flexibilización del bloqueo aunque sea solo para beneficiar al sector privado

El vicecanciller cubano declaró que si excepciones parciales al bloqueo permiten "una mayor prosperidad de cualquier sector de la economía, no vamos a poner obstáculos."

por Foto del avatar Redacción OnCuba

 diciembre 15, 2022

en Cuba

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El vicecanciller cubano Carlos Fernández de Cossío. | Foto: Otmaro Rodriguez / Archivo OnCuba.

El vicecanciller cubano Carlos Fernández de Cossío. | Foto: Otmaro Rodriguez / Archivo OnCuba.

 

Cuba no se opondría a ninguna iniciativa para flexibilizar las sanciones económicas y financieras impuestas por el gobierno de Estados Unidos, aunque solo suponga beneficios para el emergente sector privado en la Isla.

“Si se introducen excepciones al bloqueo con el sueño de acabar con la Revolución, no nos vamos a oponer”, expuso este miércoles Carlos Fernández de Cossío, vice titular del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Minrex), durante su intervención en un foro académico dedicado a analizar el estado de la relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos en el actual contexto internacional.

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El diplomático reconoció que esos pasos estarían encaminados a «subvertir el sistema político del país» y calificó la idea como un «error mayúsculo».

El impulso a un mayor apoyo a los emprendedores privados cubanos está entre las medidas anunciadas el pasado mes de mayo por la administración del demócrata Joe Biden, algo que el gobierno cubano califica como “un arma política”.

Fernández de Cossío explicó que los propósitos no están enfocados en contribuir con el desarrollo económico del país, ni al mejoramiento de las condiciones de vida de un amplio sector de la población.

“Si esto permite una mayor prosperidad de cualquier sector de la economía, no vamos a poner obstáculos. Si logran concebir excepciones que beneficien a unos y continúen castigando a otros, tampoco vamos a tratar de impedirlo”, afirmó.

Sobre el actual escenario de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos, el vice canciller cubano afirmó que “no ha tenido cambios perceptibles”, aunque reconoció que durante el 2022 se dieron pasos importantes, y que estos no fueron unilaterales.

Mencionó los intercambios en temas migratorios realizados en el mes de mayo en Washington, y luego en La Habana durante el pasado mes de noviembre, pues se trata de un fenómenos que “afecta a ambos países”.

A su vez, recordó que este tipo de encuentros no se realizaban desde julio de 2018, y que durante todo ese tiempo Estados Unidos no honró los acuerdos suscritos por ambos países.

También valoró como “constructivas” las conversaciones, pues sirvieron “para comprobar la validez de los acuerdos, reiterar el compromiso político mutuo, identificar áreas que requieren mayor atención, y analizar temas que no están recogidos en los acuerdos, pero tienen gran influencia en los acuerdos”.

Fernández de Cossío confirmó que al concluir el más reciente año fiscal el gobierno estadounidense cumplió con la entrega de al menos 20 000 visas, algo que no sucedía desde 2017, y consideró como positivo el anuncio de que a partir del próximo mes de enero la embajada de Estados Unidos en La Habana retomaría todos servicios consulares interrumpidos por el gobierno de Donald Trump.

El diplomático puso en valor otros intercambios celebrados durante el presente año, entre ellos el de expertos sobre documentación falsa, y el de especialistas de las Tropas Guardafornteras del Ministerio del Interior (Minint) y el Servicio de Guardacostas de Estados Unidos, que mantiene la repatriación segura hacia la Isla de las personas interceptadas en el mar.

El diplomático cubano también se refirió a otros diálogos sostenidos en materia de enfrentamiento a derrames de petróleo en el mar, en el área de salud, y adelantó que se preparan otros relacionadas con la protección del medio ambiente.

«Ha existido un mayor grado de interlocución entre el Minrex y el Departamento de Estado y otras agencias. Son pasos mutuos de cierta importancia que no pueden desconocerse», aseguró.

En la dirección contraria

Fernández de Cossío también hizo énfasis en temas en los que las relación entre ambos países no ha podido avanzar. Mencionó entre ellas la inclusión de Cuba en un listado de naciones en las que existe preocupación por la libertad religiosa, acusaciones que, según dijo, fueron hechas «sin fundamento y con argumentos deshonestos».

También se refirió a otros pasos anunciados «con mucha fanfarria» y sin el compromiso de desmantelar las sanciones impuestas por la administración Trump, como la flexibilización en el envío de remesas a Cuba.

«Todavía no existe un flujo regular de remesa… y si llega a haber en un futuro cercano, se debe a pasos que ha dado Cuba y no a decisiones tomadas por Estados Unidos», dijo.

El viceministro también consideró como incoherente el objetivo de Estados Unidos por impulsar la conectividad a Internet en Cuba, «porque es decisión de ese gobierno que muchos sitios comerciales privados de su país estén prohibidos en Cuba», afirmó.

Para ilustrar esta contradicción, se refirió también a la reciente recomendación negativa de la Comisión Federal de Comunicaciones (FCC) para la instalación del primer cable de telecomunicaciones submarino que conectaría a Estados Unidos y Cuba.

Como medida adoptadas en la dirección correcta expuso la reapertura de vuelos desde Estados Unidos hacia varias provincias cubanas y las facilidad prometidas para la realización de viajes en grupo para ciudadanos estadounidenses, que hasta el momento han funcionado bien.

«Son un contraste con los dos últimos años del gobierno de Trump y con el año 2021, y es parte de lo que describe la relación bilateral», sentenció.

Sin embargo, el diplomático calificó a la actual administración demócrata como la que «con más agresividad y eficacia ha aplicado el bloqueo» contra Cuba, y añadió que esas sanciones «continúan siendo el factor central y definitorio de la relación bilateral entre Cuba y Estados Unidos».

Cuba no se opondría a flexibilización del bloqueo aunque sea solo para beneficiar al sector privado | OnCubaNews

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Updates on Pinar del Rio and Matanzas

Hurricane Ian

EMERGENCIA POR HURACÁN IAN

Junto a otras instituciones ecuménicas y a través del Consejo de Iglesias de Cuba, se hizo un donativo a los damnificados por el huracán Ian, de la provincia Pinar del Río
Junto a otras instituciones ecuménicas y a través del Consejo de Iglesias de Cuba, se hizo un donativo a los damnificados por el huracán Ian, de la provincia Pinar del Río

Early response

HURRICANE IAN EMERGENCY

19 October, 2022

Together with other ecumenical institutions and through the Council of Churches of Cuba, a donation was made to the victims of Hurricane Ian, from Pinar del Río province.

Together with other ecumenical institutions and through the Council of Churches of Cuba, a donation was made to the victims of Hurricane Ian, from Pinar del Río province.

Accompanying and providing solidarity aid to those most in need is one of the main motivations and objectives of the CCRD-C. In recent days our country, mainly the western territory, has been greatly affected by the passage of Hurricane Ian, which left disastrous consequences, material and spiritual, in the lives of many people.

From the cyclonic alert stage, the Emergency Committee was activated in our institution, which monitored the trajectory of this meteorological phenomenon and put all our departments and premises safe.

The Center joined the solidarity call of the Council of Churches of Cuba (CIC), in support of so many people who are suffering right now in Pinar del Río. Our donations were transported there. In addition, we cooperate with financing the account that was activated to help the victims monetarily.

 We are here to serve, to always provide our support to those who are needed.

https://www.ccrdcuba.org/

https://www.facebook.com/ccrdcuba/


Tax deductible contributions can be made in the US through the Fund for Reconciliation and Development  https://tinyurl.com/donateFRD


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* "U.S. will provide $2 million of hurricane aid in Cuba" by Karen De Young, Washington Post, October 18, 2022 https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/10/18/biden-cuba-hurricane-ian/

* "10 days later, Cubans still recovering from Hurricane Ian"  by Andrea Rodriguez, Associated Press   https://apnews.com/article/hurricanes-health-caribbean-covid-storms-848c52622a1e03a50b93a5013be0df72

* "Disaster diplomacy: Why Biden should rush to help Cuba after Hurricane Ian" by Professor William LeoGrande, Responsible Statecraft https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/09/30/disaster-diplomacy-why-biden-should-rush-to-help-cuba-after-hurricane-ian/

* Letter from Representatives Lee, McGovern and Meeks calling for US humanitarian aid to Cuban victims of Hurricane Ian https://lee.house.gov/news/press-releases/chairs-lee-meeks-and-mcgovern-issue-statement-regarding-humanitarian-assistance-to-cuba-following-hurricane-ian

John Kavulich sees the situation in Pinar del Rio as an opportunity for US investment and financing and for sale of privately produced tobacco to the US.                                                                          *I"mpact Of Hurricane Ian Upon Privately-Owned Tobacco Plantations In Cuba Opportunity For U.S.-Origin OFAC-Authorized Direct Investment And Direct Financing?  ­ U.S. - Cuba Trade and Economic Council, Inc."

* "We appreciate humanitarian assistance offer made by the US. This material contribution that is worth 2 million USD, channeled through the International Federation of Red Cross, will add up to our recovery efforts in support of the victims of the ravages caused by #HurricaneIan" Tweet by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.


Matanzas Oil Fire

* "Cuba’s enormous blaze fuels fears of instability even as flames are doused" by Ed Augustin https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/10/cuba-fire-government-power-cuts

* "Did U.S.-Cuba dysfunction prevent a quicker end to the Matanzas oil fire disaster?" by Tim Padgett https://www.wlrn.org/news/2022-08-19/did-u-s-cuba-dysfunction-prevent-a-quicker-end-to-the-matanzas-oil-fire-disaster

* Letter from FFRD to USAID https://cubapeopletopeople.blogspot.com/2022/08/letter-to-usaid.html


Broader National & Bilateral Focus

* "Inflation, blackouts and collapsing peso pile pressure on Cuban govt" by Marc Frank   https://www.reuters.com/article/cuba-economy/inflation-blackouts-and-collapsing-peso-pile-pressure-on-cuban-govt-idINL1N31C2T7

* "Did the Cuban government request help from the U.S. because of Hurricane Ian?" - Progreso Weekly   Interviews with Jesús Arboleya and Manuel R. Gomez

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Democracy Programs: Depends on Whose Ox is Gored

 An unresolved and deep conflict between the US and Cuba is the expenditure of at least $20 million dollars per year for democracy programs in Cuba, largely through grants from USAID.   They were documented by The Cuba Money Project.  It no longer exists but many of the ground breaking posts can be found here    https://web.archive.org/web/sitemap/http://cubamoneyproject.com

It is illegal for US candidates to accept  donations from people who are not US citizens.  The controversy of Russian influence still dominates debate about the first Trump campaign.  Yet very few American politicians question the legitimacy of covert interference in Cuba's social and political life.  USAID is accepted and plays a positive role in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia because its programs are public and negotiated between the governments.   The fundamental difference is that the US, despite many disagreements about human rights and democratic practice in all three former enemies does not aspire to regime change.

The following interview with a Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister, article about Russian political interference worldwide and discussion of US opposition to China's government funded Confucius Institutes illustrate the inherent hypocrisy in our democracy programs.  My solution is at the end.

   --John McAuliff


Cuba slams US funding to “promote democracy” as illegal

By Dave Sherwood

 

HAVANA, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Cuba slammed U.S. funding for "democracy promotion" programs as interventionist and illegal, aimed at toppling the government just as the island nation faces its worst economic crisis in decades, the country's Vice Foreign Minister said on Friday.

The Biden Administration in July announced a call for applications to award up to $6.25 million to nongovernmental organizations and individuals as part of a decades-long program authorized by U.S. law to "promote peaceful, nonviolent democratic change in Cuba."

Vice Foreign Minister Carlos Fernandez de Cossio told Reuters in Havana that the programs - which over several decades have spent upwards of $200 million on Cuba-related projects - in fact leverage foreign funding to foment unrest on the island.

"In any nation, this is illegal," he said, noting the United States has legislation against people who act as foreign government agents.

"That is precisely what the United States is trying to promote in Cuba today," he said.

The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) call for applications warned of the challenges and risks of working in Cuba, and said recipients "will not serve as an agent or act under the direction of USAID."

De Cossio's allegations come as the island nation suffers its worst economic crisis in decades, with widespread blackouts and hours-long lines for such basic supplies as food, fuel and medicine.

Cuba has long blamed the U.S. Cold War-era embargo and financing of dissidents for its economic and social woes, but De Cossio said the most recent U.S. funding for pro-democracy groups was specifically crafted to topple the communist-run government.

"They (the U.S) are depressing the standard of living of the population and at the same time pouring millions of US taxpayer dollars into urging people to act against the {Cuban} government," De Cossio told Reuters.

The United States called for applications from groups that would provide humanitarian assistance for persecuted individuals and for those "empowering Cubans through access to information."

The deputy foreign minister's statements on Friday follow the first high-level talks between the two countries in four years, at the time characterized as constructive by the long-time foes.

Relations have nonetheless remained tense, with the United States and human rights groups accusing Cuba of stifling free speech and wrongly imprisoning protesters following widespread anti-government rallies on the island last July 11. Cuba has denied those allegations.

Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Josie Kao

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/cuba-slams-us-funding-promote-democracy-illegal-2022-09-02/


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Russia Secretly Gave $300 Million to Political Parties and Officials Worldwide, U.S. Says

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By Edward Wong

  • Sept. 13, 2022

WASHINGTON — Russia has covertly given at least $300 million to political parties, officials and politicians in more than two dozen countries since 2014, and plans to transfer hundreds of millions more, with the goal of exerting political influence and swaying elections, according to a State Department summary of a recent U.S. intelligence review.

Russia has probably given even more that has gone undetected, the document said.

“The Kremlin and its proxies have transferred these funds in an effort to shape foreign political environments in Moscow’s favor,” the document said. It added, “The United States will use official liaison channels with targeted countries to share still classified information about Russian activities targeting their political environments.”

The State Department document was sent as a cable to American embassies around the world on Monday to summarize talking points for U.S. diplomats in conversations with foreign officials.

 

Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, confirmed at a news conference on Tuesday that the findings on Russia were the result of work by U.S. intelligence agencies. He added that Russian election meddling was “an assault on sovereignty,” similar to Russia’s war on Ukraine. “In order to fight this, in many ways we have to put a spotlight on it,” he said.

The State Department cable and release of some of the intelligence findings amount to an initial effort by the Biden administration to use intelligence material to expose the scope of Russian interference in global political processes and elections, and to rally other nations to help combat it.

U.S. intelligence agencies have determined that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald J. Trump, the Republican candidate who defeated Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. Its methods included the use of cyberoperations to spread online disinformation. U.S. intelligence officials also found that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia authorized a campaign to try to hurt the candidacy of Joseph R. Biden Jr. when he ran for office against Mr. Trump in 2020.

The new document says that a range of Russian agencies and individuals carry out the global operations, including the Federal Security Service and other security agencies, as well as business figures.

The document named two men, Yevgeny Prigozhin and Aleksandr Babakov, both close associates of Mr. Putin, as involved in the influence or interference campaigns. In April, the Justice Department charged Mr. Babakov, who is also a Russian lawmaker, and two other Russian citizens with conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions and conspiring to commit visa fraud while running an “international foreign influence and disinformation network to advance the interests of Russia.”

The Russians pay in cash, cryptocurrency, electronic funds transfers and lavish gifts, the document said. They move the money through a wide range of institutions to shield the origins of the financing, a practice called using cutouts. Those institutions include foundations, think tanks, organized crime groups, political consultancies, shell companies and Russian state-owned enterprises.

The money is also given secretly through Russian Embassy accounts and resources, the document said.

In one Asian country, the Russian ambassador gave millions of dollars in cash to a presidential candidate, the document said. U.S. agencies have also found that Russia has used false contracts and shell companies in several European countries in recent years to give money to political parties.

“Some of Russia’s covert political financing methods are especially prevalent in certain parts of the world,” the document said. It added, “Russia has relied on state-owned enterprises and large firms to move funds covertly across a number of regions including Central America, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and on think tanks and foundations that are especially active across Europe.”

As of last year, the document said, a Russian business figure was trying to use pro-Russian think tanks in Europe to support far-right nationalist parties. The document warned that in the coming months, Russia might use its “covert influence tool kit,” including secret political financing, across broad swaths of the globe to try to undermine the American-led sanctions on Russia and to “maintain its influence in these regions amid its ongoing war in Ukraine.”

Although U.S. intelligence agencies have been studying Russian global election interference and influence for years, the intelligence review was ordered by senior administration officials this summer, U.S. officials said. Some of the findings were recently declassified so they could be shared widely. The review did not examine Russian interference in U.S. elections, which intelligence agencies had been scrutinizing in other inquiries, a U.S. official said.

Officials say one aim of the U.S. campaign to reveal details about Russian political interference and influence is to strengthen democratic resilience around the world, a pillar of President Biden’s foreign policy. Administration officials are focused on ensuring that nations that took part in last year’s Summit for Democracy, which Mr. Biden held in Washington, can buttress their democratic systems. The administration plans to convene a second summit soon.

The State Department summary listed measures that the United States and partner nations could take to mitigate Russia’s political interference campaigns, including imposing economic sanctions and travel bans on known “financial enablers” and “influence actors.”

 

The department also recommended that countries coordinate intelligence sharing, improve foreign investment screening, strengthen investigative capabilities into foreign financing of political parties and campaigns, and enforce and expand foreign agent registration rules.

It said governments should also expel Russian intelligence officers found to be taking part in related covert financing operations.

The State Department said in the summary that it was urging governments to guard against covert political financing “not just by Russia, but also by China and other countries imitating this behavior.”

Julian E. Barnes contributed reporting.

 https://www.nyti mes.com/2022/09/13/us/politics/russia-election-interference.html


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Controversy in the US About Chinese government funded Confucius Institutes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Confucius_Institutes

The Confucius Institute (CI) program, which began establishing centers for Chinese language instruction in 2004, has been the subject of criticisms, concerns, and controversies during its international expansion.

Many such concerns stem from the CI's relationship to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities, giving rise to criticisms about undermining academic freedom at host universities, engaging in industrial and military espionage, surveillance of Chinese students abroad, and attempts to advance the Chinese government's political agendas on controversial issues such as Taiwan, and human rights in China and Tibet.[1][2] Additional concerns have arisen over the institutes' financial and academic viability, teaching quality, and relations with Chinese partner universities…..

 In August 2020, the United States Department of State designated the headquarters of the Confucius Institutes in the U.S. as a "foreign mission" of China.[158][159][160]

As of 2022, all of the Confucius Institutes located on SUNY campuses were closed because federal research funding was jeopardized. The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act is the act that could restrict federal research funding to universities that host Confucius Institutes.[161]

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucius_Institute#Criticism_and_controversies

Confucius Institutes are used as a form of "soft power" by the Chinese government in which it spends approximately $10 billion a year on CIs and related programs to exercise these initiatives.[10] Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary Xi Jinping in 2013 stated that the intentions are to "give a good Chinese narrative".[11] Being affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education, CIs have received increasing skepticism over its censorship of content taught, such as topics related to individual freedoms and democracy, TaiwanTibet and Xinjiang…..

 In the short time-frame of their rapid expansion, the institutes have been the subject of much controversy. Criticisms of the institutes have included administrative concerns about finance, academic viability, legal issues, and relations with the Chinese partner university, as well as broader concerns about improper influence over teaching and research, industrial and military espionage,[56][57] surveillance of Chinese abroad, and undermining Taiwanese influence.[58] There has also been organized opposition to the establishment of a Confucius Institute at University of Melbourne,[59] University of Manitoba,[60] Stockholm University,[61][62] University of Chicago[63] and many others. More significantly, some universities that hosted Confucius Institutes decided to terminate their contracts. These include Japan's Osaka Sangyo University in 2010;[64] Canada's McMaster University and Université de Sherbrooke,[65][66] and France's University of Lyon in 2013;[35] the University of Chicago, Pennsylvania State University, and the Toronto District School Board in 2014,[67][68][69] the German Stuttgart Media University and University of Hohenheim in 2015,[70][71] and Vrije Universiteit Brussel and University of Kansas in 2019…..

  A U.S. law passed in 2019 that prohibits universities hosting Confucius Institutes from receiving funding for Chinese language studies from the Department of Defense led to more closures of Confucius Institutes. Unable to obtain a waiver from the Department of Defense, Indiana University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Rhode IslandSan Francisco State University, the University of OregonWestern Kentucky UniversityArizona State University, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and San Diego State University closed their programs in 2019.[105][106][107][108] In 2020, the University of Maryland also announced the closure of its Confucius Institute, the oldest one in the U.S.[109]


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Message to Samantha Power from John McAuliff


To: Samantha Power 
Subject: USAID democracy programs

Dear Ms. Power,


I hope you have seen this story from Reuters about USAID democracy programs in Cuba.  Deputy Foreign Minister de Cossio who was interviewed is a serious and balanced person.  His point about the US attitude on the receiving end can be seen in the concern about Chinese government funded Confucius Institutes on US campuses.




It would be a far more effective contribution to democracy in Cuba if the embargo were ended and the natural influences of unrestricted tourism, investment, cultural exchanges and trade were allowed to play out.


Hard-liners in both countries would lose leverage on their respective governments, including the Cubans who characterized President Obama's initiatives as a Trojan Horse.  Regrettably Trump's maximum pressure policies confirmed their suspicion.- and the Biden Administration has done far too little to undo the damage.


I could make a proposal to USAID, perhaps in partnership with an organization like the Institute of International Education, to set up a broad two way exchange of academics, business, lawyers, professionals, athletes, artists, etc.  One commonality between our two countries is the array of associations and conferences that provide a natural point of entry.


The critical factor is that the design of the program and the choice of participants must be the joint responsibility of representatives of both countries.   Inevitably for the first few years, Cuban participants will be carefully vetted for reliability.  However my expectation is that as trust is developed, the parameters will widen.  Cuban attendance in the annual congress of the Latin American Studies Association is a useful example.


Regards,


John McAuliff


P.S.  Our petition to you regarding aid to Matanzas is growing slowly but steadily  https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/help-matanzas-recover