Let USAID implement Cuba projects


Re the Feb. 12 story USAID cut out of Cuba programs: The article inaccurately suggests that the Obama administration is comfortable with Congress’ decision to exclude the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from managing programs to promote democracy and human rights in Cuba. On the contrary, the administration believes that USAID should continue to implement federally funded Cuba democracy projects in concert with the Department of State.

In its most recent report on the programs, the General Accountability Office, the investigative arm of the Congress, recognized USAID for the management improvements it has made and had no recommendations for the agency. Among the reforms to the Cuba program that USAID has carried out under President Obama are a requirement for full and open competition for all grants and contracts, the barring of political appointees from involvement in the selection of grantees and the hiring of independent auditors to monitor expenditures.

The GAO’s most recent findings are in stark contrast to its reports issued in 2006 and 2008 that documented waste, fraud and mismanagement in the Cuba programs.

Mark Feierstein, associate administrator, USAID,

Washington, D.C.

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