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Fraud forces USAID to freeze Cuba programs.

Congress has put the U.S. Agency for International Development's $45 million Cuba program's 2008 funding on hold, following a series of troubling audits and cases of massive fraud, the Miami Herald reported July 22.

"In a quest to get the funding hold lifted, USAID USAID United States Agency for International Development
USAID Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (Spanish) 
 ordered a bottoms-up review of all its Cuba democracy programs and suspended a Miami anti-Castro exile group that spent at least $11,000 of federal grant money on personal items," the newspaper said.

Rep. Howard Berman Howard Lawrence "Howie" Berman (born April 15 1941) has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1983, representing the 28th District of California (map).  (D-CA) ordered a hold on the Cuba program funding last month, in part in response to a $500,000 embezzlement embezzlement, wrongful use, for one's own selfish ends, of the property of another when that property has been legally entrusted to one. Such an act was not larceny at common law because larceny was committed only when property was acquired by a "felonious taking," i.  at the Center for a Free Cuba in Washington disclosed earlier this year, said federal officials quoted by the Herald.

The story went on: "In a memo sent to various members of Congress, Stephen Driesler, AID's deputy assistant administrator for legislative and public affairs, said the agency recently implemented stricter financial reviews. That new review turned up irregularities at Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia The Grupo De Apoyo a la Democracia (Group for the Support of Democracy) is a group of dissident Cuban exiles living in the United States. They have recently been criticised for misusing US governmental funding to send consumer products to Cuba as part of the US government's  (Group to Support Democracy), a Miami-organization criticized in the past for using federal funds Federal Funds

Funds deposited to regional Federal Reserve Banks by commercial banks, including funds in excess of reserve requirements.

These non-interest bearing deposits are lent out at the Fed funds rate to other banks unable to meet overnight reserve
 to send Nintendo games to Cuba."

According to Driesler' memo, "the executive director of Grupo de Apoyo admitted that an employee used the organization's credit card for thousands of dollars in personal items and then billed them to the grant aimed at bringing democracy to Cuba."

In a phone interview with the Herald, Driesler said the group's funding has been suspended pending further review, and the money has been reimbursed. He declined to say what items were purchased.

"USAID has decided to conduct an immediate review of all the grants to determine where financial vulnerabilities exist and how best to address these vulnerabilities to strengthen the program for future success," his memo said.

In our May 2008 issue, CubaNews broke the story about a report conducted by the Cuban American National Foundation The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to overthrowing the Cuban government of Fidel Castro and a non-violent transition to a pluralistic, market-based democracy in Cuba. .

According to the CANF CANF Cuban American National Foundation
CANF Coalition Against No-Fault (Canada)
CANF Canadian French
 study, 83% of the $65 million allocated by USAID over the last 10 years for Cuba democracy programs has been spent on salaries, travel and other expenses instead of actual help to dissidents.
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Date:Aug 15, 2008
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