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In a classic example of Republican pork barrel politics, the Guardian reports that money that was supposed to go for the overthrow of Castro is instead going for gameboys, luxury items, and chocolates which are them being shipped by Cuban dissidents to relatives over in Cuba.

A scathing congressional audit of democracy-assistance programmes found "questionable expenditure" by several groups funded by Washington in opposition to President Fidel Castro's rule on the communist Caribbean island.

The Miami-based Acción Democrática Cubana spent money on a chainsaw, Nintendo Game Boys and Sony PlayStations, mountain bikes, leather coats and Godiva chocolates, which the group says were all sent to Cuba. "These people are going hungry. They never get any chocolate there," Juan Carlos Acosta, the group's executive director, told the Miami Herald.

There are 36 groups that are being funded by the Bush administration that are doing this sort of thing:

He also defended the purchase of a chainsaw he said he needed to cut a tree that had blocked access to his office in a hurricane, and said that the leather jackets and cashmere sweaters were bought in a sale. "They [the auditors] think it's not cold there," Mr Acosta said. "At $30 [£16] it's a bargain because cashmere is expensive. They were asking for sweaters."

The audit analysed $65m of spending by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) from 1996 to 2005 and concluded that poor management was to blame for the waste. "There were weaknesses in agency policies and in programme office oversight, and internal control deficiencies," the report states.

None of the 36 groups that received money were identified in the report, but others admitted to the Miami Herald in advance of its publication today that they had been investigated.

Their excuse:

"I'll defend that until I die," Mr Hernandez Trujillo said of his decision to spend part of his group's allocation on boxes of computer games. "That's part of our job, to show the people in Cuba what they could attain if they were not under that system."

Most of the items were distributed to dissidents in Cuba by US diplomats in Havana, who were sometimes unaware what was in the shipments.

David Snider, a spokesman for USAID, said he was awaiting a final copy of the report, but admitted that an investigation was under way into three cases highlighted by the audit.

The US government has previously accused the Cuban government of hijacking consignments sent to its Havana mission.

This is a classic example of Conservatism at work -- government is the problem; therefore, no oversight is needed or necessary, since the groups in question obviously are ideological soulmates.

This is why Conservatives are incapable of governing -- they cannot be bothered with the process of governing because after all, government is the problem.

Originally posted to Stop the Police State! on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 06:49 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The hold these people have ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eternal Hope, wader

    ... over the Bush crowd is astounding. The world saw the true nature of the gusanos during the Elian Gonzalez fiasco and it did them little good. It was right their on camera.

    These phony Cban liberation groups have known for decades that they could do anything and get away with it as long as they had cover from the conservatives, but that may be ending for a number of reasons, not the least of which is a new generation of Cuban-Americans is coming into power and some of them do not foam at the mouth like their elders.

    The death of Castro in the coming months will make a difference as will the new political realities in Washington. I'd like to think that Florida politics will become more dimensional, too, but corruption and the slow pace of change in moving out people like Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart may take some time.

  •  The people of Cuba (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eternal Hope, wader, pattyp

    don't need Gameboys.  They need food.  They need building supplies.  They need paper.

    The biggest thing that struck me when I went to Havana two years ago was that the culture is nothing like ours.  Material things may impress anti-Castro dissidents who spend their time in plastic Miami, but real Cubans just aren't that concerned about gadgets.  They'd rather have a burger and some toilet paper.

    And...there is a definite spin going on when the U.S. presence in Havana is referred to as a "mission." The true name of the very prominent building that houses U.S. "diplomats" is "U.S. Interests Section."  U.S. interests consist of making sure that Cubans starve.

  •  So, instead of fighting terrorists (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eternal Hope, twtitus

    who hated us for our "freedoms", we should have sweetened their love and envy of us by sending Gameboys to the Middle East!

    Why can't the Republicans be more consistent in who they pork, anyway?

    So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way.

    by wader on Thu Nov 16, 2006 at 07:39:04 AM PST

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