Young Latinos Are Ralllying for Bernie Sanders

José Manuel Santoyo is the online marketing strategist for Young Latinos for Bernie.

José Manuel Santoyo, a spokesperson for Young Latinos for Bernie.  Although it has been often reported in this election cycle that minorities are overwhelmingly voting for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, many members of the African-American and Latino communities have banded together to support Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Sanders has been especially popular with young voters, inspiring many to participate in the democratic process for the first time.

TE: When was Young Latinos for Bernie formed, and what were the motivations behind the group?

José Manuel Santoyo: Young Latinos for Bernie was officially formed right before the Nevada caucus as an independent grassroots effort to help Bernie Sanders get elected. The Young Latinos for Bernie Facebook page was created to reach out to young Latinos all over the U.S. who are Bernie Sanders supporters and create a public platform that will allow our voices to be represented in this Presidential campaign. It was necessary, and it allowed us to spread the message of transforming this nation through viral posts and ways in which we hope to increase young Latino voter turnout.

TE: What is it about Sanders’ campaign that speaks to you?

José Manuel Santoyo: My family are all immigrants. Some of us are still undocumented and believe that the only way to make change happen is to be a part of it. As a Human Rights student at Southern Methodist University [in Dallas, Texas], I personally believe that Bernie Sanders’ message is the most human rights/ immigrants rights focused that any other candidate in history. He believes in stopping unjust deportations that keep destroying communities all over the United States. As [the son of immigrants] himself, he understands the immigrant experience. Undocumented students (Dreamers) cannot vote but that does not mean that we cannot take action. In fact, we have decided to stand up and be a part of the political revolution that seeks to bring major positive changes to this country.

TE: Why do you feel Sanders’ message and platform are the best for the Latino population of the U.S.?

José Manuel Santoyo: His immigration record, economy record, and humanitarian record speaks for itself. He wants to be beholden to the community and not special interests. By not taking money from corporations, and with a massive social movement, we will be able to create an economy that works for every single person living in this country — in which there is social mobility and people have an opportunity to live a life with dignity.

TE: What role has your organization played in campaigning for Sanders across the U.S.?

José Manuel Santoyo: Through Young Latinos for Bernie our goal has been to constantly continue reaching out to other young Latino Bernie supporters and help to educate other people on the issues. On the ground, many young Latinos and allies from all over the country went to Nevada to help increase voter turnout and win the Latinos Vote. I had an opportunity to see the grassroots efforts on the ground and work with other volunteers.

TE: As a young Latino living in the largely conservative state of Texas, do you feel threatened by the messages and actions coming out of Trump’s campaign?

José Manuel Santoyo: I feel more threatened by the policies of the Democratic party that allow over 2,000,000 families to be separated. I feel that the power of lobbyist for the private prison industry and the defense industry that keep locking up immigrants and militarizing the border, are an issue that needs to be addressed. Republicans in Texas constantly politicize the issue of immigration locally and nationally. What I think is more important is that we spend too much time talking about how bad Trump’s proposals are when we currently have corporate Democrats taking money from the private prison industry and the military industrial couple (that Eisenhower warned us about), deporting people every single day. If a Republican were to be doing that I’m sure Democrats wouldn’t be as quiet about it.

TE: In what ways do you feel Sanders’ campaign counteracts Trump’s?

José Manuel Santoyo: Sanders’ Campaign is focused on bringing people together to build a mass movement that will continue to work after the election is over in order to bring about the policies we are advocating for, while Trump’s campaign is catering to the fears of Americans without providing adequate solutions. One is advocating for love, the other one for hate — hate for the immigrant, the Muslim, women, and any other group that does not look like you. It is a campaign that fails to address the issues facing this country today. And most important if you look at Trump’s trajectory, he has constantly flip-flopped on issues over the years. Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate who has been consistent with his message since the beginning of his career. He is honest, he stays true to his convictions, and is now inspiring many people to rise up and take part in this historical movement. 

How does US pursue ‘regime change’ in Cuba through ‘normalization’?

Salim Lamrani, in an interview with Khamenei.ir, talks about the US-Cuba relations and how these relations are the continuation of the past painful US policies against Cuba.

Salim Lamrani
Salim Lamrani

Barack Obama can lift the economic sanctions without the agreement of the U.S. Congress but he refuses to do so. Normalization of relations happens if Washington lifts economic sanctions, gives Guantanamo back to the Cubans, put an end to the financing of an internal opposition on the island and abrogate the Cuban adjustment act. These reasons are clearly indicative that the normalization of relations are just a continuation of the past policy of ‘regime change’ in Cuba.

– How do you think the US uses sanctions and negotiations to infiltrate its enemies? Can you give examples of how US has used these tools to infiltrate Cuba?

The main goal of U.S. policy toward the island has been to overthrow the Cuban Revolution. From 1959 to 1991 this was a hidden goal. Since the implementation of the Torricelli Act in 1992, it has become public. Washington wants a “regime change” in Cuba. One of the tools used to achieve this end is economic sanctions. These are sanctions that affect all categories of the Cuban population and constitute the main obstacle to the island’s development.

-Speaking to VOA you addressed how US tried to isolate Cuba internationally, but in reality, the sanctions have isolated the US; would you further explain this?

Washington imposed sanctions designed to damage and isolate Cuba. During the Cold War it was effective in isolating the Island. But today this has become an outdated policy. The United States is virtually alone in its position against Cuba. The international community condemns the United States’ foreign policy towards Cuba. In 2015, for the 24th consecutive year, 191 of 193 nations voted against the economic sanctions imposed on the Cuban people during the United Nations General Assembly. Even the most loyal allies of the US asked for a policy change towards Cuba.

Domestically, 70% of the U.S. population favors a normalization of relations with Cuba because they do not understand why their government forbids them to travel to the Caribbean island, while it allows them to go to China, Vietnam or North Korea.

U.S. corporations oppose economic sanctions because they see a natural marked of 11 million people, only 90 miles away, surrounded by international companies.

– In the book “The Economic War Against Cuba: A Historical and Legal Perspective on the U.S. Blockade”, you describe US economic sanctions as cruelly designed for their harmful impact on the Cuban people. How has the US harmed Cuban people through economic blockade?

More than 70% of the Cuban people were born under this economic state of siege. The impact has been disastrous. Let’s just take the health sector. Nearly 80% of all patents granted in the medical sector are issued to U.S. pharmaceutical multinationals and their subsidiaries, which gives them a virtual monopoly. Cuba cannot get access to these medications due to the blockade imposed by the government of the United States.

Some specific cases will permit us to understand the many difficulties faced by Havana in order to maintain a functioning health system. For example, Cuban ophthalmological services are not able to use transpupillary thermotherapy in the treatment of children suffering from cancer of the retina. Indeed, Cuba is prevented from acquiring the surgical microscope and other equipment needed for its treatment because these products are sold exclusively by the U.S. company, Iris Medical Instruments. Thus, without this technology, it becomes impossible to effectively treat this tumor.

A study made by the American Association for World Health (AAWH), whose honorary president is Jimmy Carter, notes that the penalties “violate the most basic agreements and international conventions that have been put in place to protect human rights, including the Charter of the United Nations (Article 5), the Charter of the Organization of American States (Article 16) and the Articles of the Geneva Conventions that regulate the treatment of civilians in wartime.” A “humanitarian catastrophe was averted only because the Cuban government has maintained” a health system that “is considered uniformly as the preeminent model of the Third World.”

And this is just one example.

-Speaking to VOA you argued that despite the normalization of ties with Cuba, the sanctions are still in force; can you discuss this in details?

We cannot talk about “normalization” so far. There is a process towards normalization that started on December 2014. There is still a long path to travel. Economic sanctions have to be lifted. Steps have been taken towards this goal, but the network of sanctions is still in force.

As President of the United States, Barack Obama has the executive power to lift 90% of the economic sanctions. For instance, he could allow U.S. companies to trade with Cuban companies. He could allow Cuba to buy goods on the international market goods that contain more than 10% of U.S parts. He could also allow sales to Cuba by credit for non-agricultural products.

There are very few sectors that Obama cannot reach without the agreement of the U.S. Congress. There are actually four:

1. Obama cannot allow U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba as simple tourists.

2. He cannot allow the sale of U.S. food products by credit.

3. He cannot allow subsidiaries of U.S. companies located in third countries to trade with Cuba.

4. He cannot allow the trade with Cuban companies that were once U.S. companies before the nationalization process of the 1960s.

For point 1, there is a solution: He can broaden the definition of the categories of U.S. citizens allowed to go to Cuba. There are 12 categories of trips allowed, such as cultural, academic, professional, diplomatic, sport ones, etc.. For instance, he could broaden the definition of a “cultural trip” and say that all U.S. citizens who go to Cuba and visit a museum are to be considered as “cultural travelers”.

For point 2, Obama can allow the sale of all other products by credit.

For point 3, if Obama allows normal trade between U.S and Cuban companies, Cuba won’t have to buy, let’s say, Ford trucks in Panama if it is possible to buy them directly in the U.S.

For point 4, the obstacle is not particularly significant because only a few of the companies that were once nationalized are still operating in Cuba. In a word, Barack Obama can lift the economic sanctions.

On the other hand, other questions will have to be solved such as Guantanamo, the Cuban Adjustment Act, the financing of the dissidents, etc.

-In reality, would it be possible to normalize ties with the US government that once and for long tried to harm Cuban people through sanctions?  

It all depends on the U.S. It is important to remember that this is an asymmetric conflict with a hostile power harming a small country that had never attacked it. Washington has imposed economic sanctions since 1960. It also illegally occupies Guantanamo. The U.S. government finances an internal opposition to achieve a “regime change”. It also encourages illegal emigration through the Cuban adjustment act, a law that stipulates that any Cuban who can manage to get to the United States automatically receives permanent residency.

So, if Washington were to lift the economic sanctions, give Guantanamo back to the Cubans, put an end to the financing of an internal opposition on the island and abrogate the Cuban adjustment act, it would open the road to full normalization of relations

Washington has to abide by international law and base its relations with Cuba on three fundamental principles: equal sovereignty, reciprocity and non-interference in internal affairs. The United States also has to accept that Cuba is an independent country with a different political system and social model and that it is free to choose its own domestic and foreign policy. These conditions are not negotiable for Cuba.

-How can scientific and technological innovations diminish the power of economic sanctions?

Research can, in certain circumstances, allow us to find alternatives to sanctions. But it is not possible to underestimate the cruelty of economic sanctions, particularly on vulnerable people, such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. Everyone knows that sanctions hurt the people and not the government. For this reason it is immoral to impose them on civilians.

-How independent countries can combat US policy of economic blockade?

A good way is to show the tragic impact of economic sanctions on civilians. The most dramatic example is Iraq where international organizations report that over two million people, among them one million children, died because of U.S economic sanctions.

I repeat, it is absolutely immoral to impose sanctions upon an entire country as the first to suffer will be the groups that are the most fragile.

 

A Doctor of Iberian and Latin American Studies at the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne, Salim Lamrani is a senior lecturer at the University of La Réunion, and a journalist specializing in relations between Cuba and the United States.

His new book is Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality, New York, Monthly Review Press, preface by Eduardo Galeano, translated by Larry R. Oberg.

Contact: lamranisalim@yahoo.frSalim.Lamrani@univ-reunion.fr

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel

Another Negative Review of Cuban Human Rights by U.S. State Department

On April 13, the U.S. Department of State released its annual report on human rights in the world. Once again it criticized Cuba’s record.[1]

Overall Context of the Report

Secretary of State John Kerry in a brief statement put the annual report in a broader context. He said, “ The norms referred to in this report . . . are universal norms. They are not something that we make up. They’re not some arbitrary standard of the United States, which we seek to impose on people. These are universal standards of human rights that have been adopted and accepted and are agreed to by most nations in the world, and even some nations that have agreed to them but violate them. These are the international standards.”

“{E]every government . . . has the ability to improve, including the United States. The point that we make over and over again is that respecting human rights isn’t just a moral obligation; it’s an opportunity to harness the full energy of a country’s population in building a cohesive and prosperous society. And it doesn’t jeopardize stability; it enhances it. And you can measure that in country after country where human rights are respected, people are happier, people are freer to pursue their own designs, happier and freer to be artistic and creative, to be entrepreneurial, to make a difference in the building of the community.”

Report Regarding Cuba

With respect to Cuba, Kerry stated. “President Obama and I urged the authorities to allow more political openness and online access. There is no question in my mind that most Cubans are far more interested in plugging into the world economy than in recycling arguments left over from the Cold War. The only question is how long it will take for the officials in Havana to catch up with the population.”

According to the Executive Summary of the report regarding Cuba, it “is an authoritarian state led by Raul Castro, who is president of the Council of State and Council of Ministers, Communist Party (CP) first secretary, and commander in chief of security forces. The constitution recognizes the CP as the only legal party and the leading force of society and of the state. A CP candidacy commission preapproved all candidates for the April municipal elections. The government ran these elections with relative administrative efficiency, but they were neither free nor fair; the government treated non-CP candidates differently. The national leadership, including members of the military, maintained effective control over the security forces.”

“In January the government released 53 political prisoners after official announcements that the United States and Cuba would re-establish diplomatic relations. Six of these prisoners were rearrested for various activities during the course of the year and were given longer-term prison sentences.”

“The principal human rights abuses included the abridgement of the ability of citizens to choose their government; the use of government threats, physical assault, intimidation, and violent government-organized counterprotests against peaceful dissent; and harassment and detentions to prevent free expression and peaceful assembly.”

“The following additional abuses continued: harsh prison conditions; arbitrary, short-term, politically motivated detentions and arrests; selective prosecution; denial of fair trial; and travel restrictions. Authorities interfered with privacy by engaging in pervasive monitoring of private communications. The government did not respect freedom of speech and press, restricted internet access, maintained a monopoly on media outlets, circumscribed academic freedom, and maintained some restrictions on the ability of religious groups to meet and worship. The government refused to recognize independent human rights groups or permit them to function legally. In addition the government continued to prevent workers from forming independent unions and otherwise exercising their labor rights.”

“Officials at the direction of the government committed most human rights abuses. Impunity for the perpetrators remained widespread.”

In the actual report on Cuba, however, there were some positive comments: (a) “no confirmed reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings;” (b) “no reports of politically motivated disappearances;” (c) “The law prohibits abusive treatment of detainees and prisoners;” (d) “Alternative sentencing was available for nonviolent offenders and juveniles;” (e) a “legal department within the Attorney General’s Office is empowered to investigate allegations of abuse in the prison system;” (f) “the law provides the accused the right to be present during trial and requires that defendants be represented by an attorney at trial, at public expense if necessary. Defendants’ attorneys may cross-examine government witnesses and present witnesses and evidence on the defendants’ behalf;” and (g) “the constitution protects citizens’ privacy rights in their homes and correspondence, and police must have a warrant signed by a prosecutor or magistrate before entering or conducting a search.”

Conclusion

News reports indicate that the U.S. continues to press these issues in direct negotiations with the Cuban government since the rapprochement of December 2014. But so far there appears to be little change in Cuba’s practices.

We in the U.S., however, need to try to put ourselves in the shoes of the Cubans. What would you do about civil liberties and democracy in a small, poor country of 11 million people facing a country of 320 million people with a vastly larger economy and military whose government has threatened and taken military actions against you. Moreover, that more powerful country has engaged in covert measures seeking to overthrow your government and cause regime change.

==========================================

[1] Reuters, U.S. Rights Report Criticizes China’s ‘Severe’ Crackdown on Lawyers, N.Y. Times (April 13, 2016); Assoc. Press, U.S. Cites Global Governance Crisis for Declining Human Rights, N.Y. Times (April 13, 2016); State Dep’t, Malinowski: Briefing on the 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (April 13, 20i6); State Dep’t, Kerry: Release of the 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (April 13, 2016); State Dep’t, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 (April 13, 2016).

 

Lula Tells The Intercept Brazil is Seeing a ‘Political Coup’

Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva tells The Intercept

A “political coup” is being waged in Brazil, according to former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, referring to the impeachment process being carried out against President Dilma Rousseff and the ruling left-wing Workers’ Party.

In an exclusive interview with The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald pushes Lula to explain why he has referred to Rousseff’s impeachment proceedings as a “coup,” since it is being carried out under the authority of the Supreme Court.

Lula explains that the process is in fact a “political coup” because “these people want to remove Dilma from office by disrespecting the law.”

“While the Brazilian Constitution allows for an impeachment, it is necessary for the person to have committed what we call high crimes and misdemeanors. And President Dilma did not commit a high crime or a misdemeanor,” said Lula. “Therefore what is happening is an attempt by some to take power by disrespecting the popular vote.”

Those seeking to impeach President Rousseff are claiming that Rousseff’s government manipulated state accounts in 2014 to disguise a widening fiscal deficit as she campaigned for re-election. However the president has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing.

“Anyone who wants to become president, instead of trying to take down the president, can run in an election. I ran three of them and didn’t get angry,” added the former president and founder of the PT party.

Lula and Greenwald continued to discuss corruption within Brazilian politics, the right-wing media campaign against the left, and other social issues in the country. Watch the full interview below.

10 Cuban Goods You Might Be Able to Buy Soon

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So. What’d you like to buy or consume from or made in Cuba?

#ESPN Tried to Shame #Cuba’s Slums But Instead Highlighted America’s Own Sports Dystopias

ESPN Tried to Shame Cuba's Slums But Instead Highlighted America's Own Sports Dystopias
Photo ESPN’s SportsCenter tweeted of the houses just outside a stadium in Havana (Twitter)

ESPN’s SportsCenter tried to publicly shame President Obama today and his attendance at a Cuban baseball game by tweeting the photo above with the caption, “Meanwhile, next to the stadium in Havana…”

ESPN Tried to Shame Cuba's Slums But Instead Highlighted America's Own Sports Dystopias

The implication was that there was poverty just outside the stadium where Obama was watching the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team. But the first response to the tweet reminds Americans that we have no right to get on any high horse about poverty. In fact, the conditions outside our own stadiums appear much more dire.

ESPN Tried to Shame Cuba's Slums But Instead Highlighted America's Own Sports Dystopias

People started to tweet Google Street View shots showing the streets outside of major American stadiums.

ESPN Tried to Shame Cuba's Slums But Instead Highlighted America's Own Sports Dystopias

Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky pointed out that Willets Point, where the Mets play at Citi Field, doesn’t even have sidewalks or sewers.

ESPN Tried to Shame Cuba's Slums But Instead Highlighted America's Own Sports Dystopias

So I guess before you start calling out Cuba for being poverty stricken, maybe sports commentators at ESPN should get out of their box seats and look outside some American stadiums.

Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo’s Paleofuture blog


PGP Fingerprint: 0074 467E 1339 F416 DA8C 6CFA 0ABD A808 C05C D4A6|PGP Key

New State Department program targets Cuban youth

Just three days after Barack Obama left Cuba, the State Department today announced a $753,989 community internship program targeting “young emerging leaders from Cuban civil society.”
Non-profit organizations and educational institutions are invited to submit proposals. The deadline is May 20. The first awards are expected to be given in late July or early August.
The State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs plans to manage the program, aimed at financing two- to four-month professional development programs “which will fuel the participants’ development of action plans for nongovernmental community activities in Cuba.”
The announcement states:
“Cuban civil society is not formed into well-established organizations that would typically be found in a society with a strong democratic tradition. Through participation in the program, participants will develop a set of leadership tools and skills to manage and grow civil society organizations that will actively support democratic principles in Cuba.”
The announcement is below:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The United States Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) announces a Notification of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to support the Community Internship Program for Cuban Youth. Subject to the availability of funds, WHA intends to issue an award in an amount not to exceed $753,989 in FY2015 Economic Support Funds for a project period of three years. The anticipated start date for this activity is August 2016 and WHA intends to support one award as a result of this NOFO.

WHA invites U.S. nonprofit organizations and U.S. educational institutions to submit proposals for the Community Internship Program for Cuban Youth, which will support the participation of young emerging leaders from Cuban civil society in a two- to four-month professional development program. The program will include specialized training and an internship with a nonprofit organization in the United States, which will fuel the participants’ development of action plans for nongovernmental community activities in Cuba. Cuban civil society is not formed into well-established organizations that would typically be found in a society with a strong democratic tradition. Through participation in the program, participants will develop a set of leadership tools and skills to manage and grow civil society organizations that will actively support democratic principles in Cuba.

WHA reserves the right to fund any or none of the applications submitted and reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds. The authority for this NOFO is found in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended. The CFDA Number for this funding opportunity is 19.750.

This NOFO consists of this cover letter plus the following sections:

I. Funding Opportunity Description
II. Award Information
III. Eligibility information
IV. Agency Contacts

The complete solicitation package includes the mandatory Proposal Submission Instructions, which includes Application and Submission Instructions and Application Review Information.

Eligible organizations interested in submitting an application should read this NOFO thoroughly to understand the project sought, the application submission requirements and evaluation process.

This funding opportunity is posted on Grants.gov and may be amended. See the Application and Submission Instructions for further details. Potential applicants should regularly check the website to ensure they have the latest information pertaining to this NOFO.

Any questions concerning this NOFO should be submitted in writing via email to the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at WHAGrants@state.gov by May 6, 2016 [Subject line “Community Internship Program for Cuban Youth” and your organization name]. Responses to questions will be made available to all potential applicants through an amendment to this NOFO and posted on Grants.gov.

Francisco L. Palmieri
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
U.S. Department of State

I. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

U.S. foreign assistance for Cuba seeks to empower Cubans to freely determine their own future by increasing human capacity, promoting community level engagement, and expanding civil society networks. Since 1996, the United States has provided assistance to increase the flow of information on democracy and human rights to Cuba through a variety of U.S. and foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

The U.S. Department of State has engaged with independent civil society groups on education, communication, and civic issues. The Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) seeks to build upon these earlier, successful capacity-building efforts and provide professional development opportunities to current and future civil society and community leaders through coursework and internships on nonprofit management. Civil society organizations in Cuba have had few models to follow as they grow to serve the needs of their communities. With an increased ability to travel, Cubans are eager for more information and want to take advantage of professional development opportunities not afforded to them otherwise.

To support further progress, the U.S. Department of State has allocated $753,989 in FY 2015 Economic Support Funds for a professional development program that supports the management of independent organizations in Cuba. All activities will need to be implemented in accordance with the relevant legislation. Assistance to Cuba is governed by a complex series of statutory and other restrictions. The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996 (also referred to as “Helms-Burton Act”, P.L. 104-114) provides notwithstanding authority to furnish assistance and provide other support for individuals and independent NGOs to support democracy-building efforts for Cuba.

PROJECT PURPOSE
By supporting the growth of civil society and contributing to the development and diversification of human capital in Cuba, this project will fund the participation of young emerging leaders from Cuban civil society in a two- to four-month professional development program, consisting of specialized training and an internship with a nonprofit organization in the United States, which will fuel the participants’ development of action plans for nongovernmental community activities in Cuba. Cuban civil society is not formed into well-established organizations that would typically be found in a society with a strong democratic tradition. Through participation in the program, participants will develop a set of leadership tools and skills to manage and grow civil society organizations that will actively support democratic principles in Cuba.

PROJECT GOAL
The goal is to foster a new generation of civil society leaders who will possess the skills and knowledge to professionalize Cuba’s civil society base. This cadre of young professionals will model effective leadership of civil society organizations that are accountable to the public, promote community engagement, support diversity, and further democratic principles in Cuba.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES
In order to fulfill this purpose and meet this goal, this project will build the professional capacity of 25-30 Cubans to advance social justice causes by providing a short training and internship program in the United States within a three-year period. Participants will learn to function professionally and effectively in leading or managing a civil society movement at the grassroots level.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND GUIDELINES
In order to fulfill and meet the above-stated purpose and goal, the recipient of this grant will fulfill several major components.

To promote networking among emerging civil society leaders, participants will travel to the United States in two to four cohorts over three years. Cohorts need not be the same size. Each cohort will follow the sequence of components below:

A. Orientation and Training: Participants will start with a group orientation and professional development activities.
B. Internship: Interns will participate in immersion experiences with well-organized, community-based NGOs in the United States, matched on area of interest.
C. Planning and Networking: During the U.S. program, participants will prepare a small project on a subject related to the internship, and will also develop a plan of action for activities in Cuba upon returning home.

Applicants must describe the design and management of all of the components within the proposal narrative or in the attachments. Applicants should also be sure to describe the roles and responsibilities of the project management team and partner organizations or institutions.

1. Recruitment and Selection

Recruitment Plan and Partners:
Applicants for the administration of this project will describe in their proposals a robust recruitment and selection plan that will include a) outreach that will generate a strong pool of qualified candidates; b) the promotional materials that will be developed and disseminated; c) details on engaging geographically, racially/ethnically, and socio-economically diverse candidates; and d) participant selection criteria and a candidate screening process. Staff of the recipient organization should not plan to travel to Cuba to conduct on-island recruitment, so applicants must provide detailed plans to recruit and interview candidates from the United States. Before final decisions are made, the grantee will recommend the principal and alternate participants to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

Participants:
Program participants will be Cuban citizens and residents who demonstrate an interest in independent organizations. As emerging leaders, participants will be between 20 and 35 years of age and may be university students or young professionals. English language skills are preferred but will not be a requirement; therefore, the orientation and training must be conducted in Spanish (or interpreted for select components), and internships with U.S. organizations and communities that can accommodate Spanish-speakers must be incorporated into the program. The participants should also demonstrate the aptitude (maturity, independence, self-reliance, etc.) for success in a program abroad. Participants must demonstrate a stated desire to return and work in the management of independent organizations in Cuba. The implementing organization’s recruitment plan must actively seek a candidate pool representing gender, racial, socio-economic, and geographic diversity in Cuba.

Visas:
Each participant must be able to receive a U.S. visa and commit to returning to Cuba upon completion of the program. The award recipient will issue the relevant forms to support the students in obtaining appropriate visas. The award recipient and all sponsored participants must comply with all visa regulations.

Pre-departure Orientation:
The award recipient will provide participants with a substantive pre-departure orientation – any combination of video-conferencing, in-person sessions, written materials (provided in hard copy, USB drives, or CD/DVD), and/or low-bandwidth websites – to effectively prepare them for the program. This will include the provision of details on the program components, cross-cultural adjustment, travel and financial matters, terms and conditions of the program, and health insurance. Guidance should also outline what to bring to the United States, how to communicate with home, and other logistical matters.

2. U.S. Program

A. Orientation and Training: Participants will start with a group orientation and up to one month of specialized training and site visits to familiarize them with democratic practices in the United States. The training will focus on professional development needs for emerging civil society leaders, including information technology training for research, documentation, advocacy, and outreach, as well as train-the-trainer activities aimed at increasing the impact of the program once participants have returned to Cuba. Training will also cover the topics of ethics, accountability, and social inclusion. Site visits will introduce the participants to a wide variety of nonprofit organizations in the United States. This section of the program will be led in Spanish.

B. Internship: Interns will participate in immersion experiences with well-organized NGOs in the United States. Interns will be matched with organizations based on interest area, language ability (including organizations and communities that can cater to Spanish-speaking interns), and relevance to the participants’ goals and community needs. The internships will expose the Cubans to a range of organizations in a consolidated democracy that support their interest in making choices independent of state authority and are salient to their daily lives. Small, locally-oriented organizations will be more relevant for the interns than large, national organizations. Thematic areas such as environmental protection, health, literacy and education, youth development, gender violence, supporting persons with disabilities, legal aid, and substance abuse are expected to be of interest to young Cubans. Through the course of the internships, participants will explore methods for NGO strategic planning, fiscal management, needs assessment, and public relations, among other aspects of NGO management.

In the proposal narrative and/or attachments, applicants to this NOFO should describe how they will recruit potential host organizations, match interns with organizations, support the living situations of the interns in U.S. communities, and ensure that the internships deliver the professional development opportunities in nonprofit organizations as outlined above. As previously noted, interns are not expected to be proficient in English; proposals should describe how Spanish-speakers will be accommodated in host organizations and communities.

C. Planning and Networking: As part of the professional development program, participants will do research, write a short paper, or prepare a case study on a subject related to the internship, the results of which will be shared with their peers, as appropriate. They will also develop a plan of action to implement in Cuba that organizes nongovernmental grassroots activities for a social cause. These program assignments will be introduced in the orientation, and re-addressed at a workshop arranged for each cohort before the participants return home. The implementing organization must provide follow-on support to participants, perhaps through a small grants program to operationalize democratic management goals (e.g., developing by-laws or a strategic plan to reach the disenfranchised) and/or through a mentorship program developed with civil society actors in the United States and/or other countries in Latin America.

3. Follow-on with Alumni

Staying engaged with the alumni is important for evaluating the success of the project as well as continuing to support the alumni in engaging in networks of their professional peers in the United States and in Latin America. Applicant organizations should describe various approaches to facilitate this engagement. All proposed follow-on activities for alumni must be developed in close consultation with WHA and reflect the goals and objectives of the project. Proposals should include an outline of and timeline for follow-on alumni programming, information on how it will be coordinated, and how longer-term linkages with alumni may be fostered and maintained.

4. External Evaluation

As part of the award, the recipient organization must identify an external evaluator that will complete a comprehensive evaluation of the results of the project, guided by the stated purpose and goals. Specifically, the evaluation should measure whether participants learned a wide range of skills specific to the management and sustainability of a nonprofit organization, including accountability to boards, staffs, volunteers, clients, funders, and members of the public, as applicable. During the course of the program, participants will hone critical thinking, interpersonal, goal-setting, and organization skills, especially through the hands-on experience in the day-to-day operations of a nonprofit organization.

To the extent possible, given limitations on access to alumni and the time frame of the award, the evaluation should also measure the longer-term impact of the award, including the participants’ abilities to more effectively establish, lead, manage, and grow independent organizations in support of democratic principles in Cuba. The evaluation should ascertain if participants returned to Cuba with practical tools for managing an independent organization, including staff and volunteer recruitment and retention, fiscal management, public relations, and evaluation.

The proposal must include a plan for this evaluation.

BUDGET GUIDANCE
The federal grant amount of $753,989 will support the participation of 25 to 30 interns in a professional development program over three years. Factors such as the length of the program and the locations of the internships will affect the costs for each participant. The budget will include roundtrip airfare between Cuba and the United States; room and board (which could include homestays or university dormitories); local transportation; provision of orientation, training, and a closing workshop; and other program-related expenses.

Allowable program costs may include the following:
• Recruitment and advertising materials and expenses
• Pre-departure orientation expenses
• Passport and visa fees, as necessary, including travel costs for interviews
• Roundtrip airfare between Cuba and the United States
• Monthly stipend for room and board
• Winter clothing, if necessary
• Travel within the United States and local transportation (excluding automobile purchases)
• Orientation and training expenses (e.g., travel, lodging, meals, materials, honoraria for speakers)
• Health insurance (accident and sickness)
• Withholding for taxes, if necessary. Applicants should assist participants in complying with federal income tax regulations and for calculating appropriate amounts that must be withheld from the participants’ support in accordance with the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

NOTE: Grant funds may not be used for expenses related to spouses, children, or family relocation or reunification.

DESIRED RESULTS AND ILLUSTRATIVE INDICATORS
By the end of the project, the Community Internship Program for Cuban Youth is expected to have supported 25-30 participants in completing a comprehensive professional development program that includes an internship, specialized training, and a plan for civic engagement. The program will allow the participants to establish themselves in Cuba as professional resources for organized civil society efforts and be better connected to civil society organizations in other countries. Alumni will have the tools to promote causes by attracting broad audiences, modeling social responsibility and good governance, and mobilizing independent actors within civil society to promote freedom of expression and assembly.

The recipient will develop a project-level Project Monitoring Plan (PMP) with annual and end-of- project targets and results anticipated for key performance indicators. The following table shows required indicators that must be measured, as well as illustrative targets, which the recipient will be responsible for monitoring and reporting during and after the project. The recipient should propose additional outputs, indicators, and/or targets as necessary. WHA will regularly monitor the project’s performance to assess whether project activities are on track and targets are being achieved.

Required outcome indicators for the project are provided below. The recipient is expected to identify targets for these indicators based on what it can reasonably achieve within the performance period of the project, based on the expected overall project results described above.

Outcome Indicators
Targets:
Number of individuals who report acquiring a robust body of knowledge about multiple facets of nonprofit management.
TBD
Number of individuals who utilize their U.S. experience to establish or manage a nonprofit or independent organization in Cuba or participate in one as an employee, board member, or volunteer (within a year of participation in the project)
TBD

Output indicators and illustrative targets that should be used for the project are provided below. The recipient should review these and either confirm the illustrative targets or propose alternative targets, as appropriate.

Output Indicators
Illustrative targets:
Number of People who Have Completed USG Assisted Civic Education Programs
At least 25

The recipient will be required to collect baseline data for all the PMP indicators during the first year of the project. In addition, applicants should define certain terms included in the outcomes and indicators at the very beginning of the project so that it is possible to measure the change during and at the end of the project. Such baseline information will be critical for both monitoring and evaluation of project progress and results.

II. AWARD INFORMATION

The U.S. government may issue one award resulting from this NOFO to the responsible applicant whose application conforming to this NOFO is the most responsive to the objectives set forth in this NOFO. The U.S. government may (a) reject any or all applications, (b) accept other than the lowest cost application, (c) accept more than one application, (d) accept alternate applications, and (e) waive informalities and minor irregularities in applications received.

The U.S. government may make award on the basis of initial applications received, without discussions or negotiations. Therefore, each initial application should contain the applicant’s best terms from a cost and technical standpoint. The U.S. government reserves the right (but is not obliged) to enter into discussions with one or more applicants in order to obtain clarifications, additional detail, or to suggest refinements in the project description, budget, or other aspects of an application.

APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION:
Please refer to the Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI) for more information on how to apply to this NOFO, including information on proposal’s content and formatting. Please use both the PSI and this announcement to ensure that your proposal submission is in full compliance with the requirements. Proposal submissions that do not meet all of the requirements outlined in the NOFO and PSI will NOT be considered.

FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION:
Pursuant to 2 CFR 200.400(g), it is U.S. Department of State policy not to award profit under assistance instruments. NOTE: Overseas-based nonprofit organizations are legally required to comply with the 2 CFR 200.

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an application. In addition, a final award of any resultant grant agreement cannot be made until funds have been fully appropriated, allocated, and committed through internal WHA procedures. While it is anticipated that these procedures will be successfully completed, potential applicants are hereby notified of these requirements and conditions for award. Applications are submitted at the risk of the applicant. All preparation and submission costs are at the applicant’s expense.

It is the responsibility of the recipient of this NOFO to ensure that it has been recorded as received by Grants.gov or Grant Solutions in its entirety. The Department bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes associated with electronic submissions.

The federal award signed by the Grants Officer is the authorizing document.

Reporting Requirements
Recipients will, at a minimum, be required to submit Quarterly Progress Reports (to include the SF-PPR, as the cover page) and Quarterly Financial Reports (SF-425). Progress Reports will compare actual to planned performance and indicate the progress made in accomplishing each assistance award task/goal noted in the grant agreement and will contain analysis and summary of findings, both quantitative and qualitative, for key indicators. Financial Reports provide a means of monitoring expenditures and comparing costs incurred with progress.

NOTE: It is the Department of State’s policy that English is the official language of all documents. If reports or any supporting documents are provided in both English and a foreign language, it must be stated in each version that the English language version is the controlling version.

Mandatory disclosures (2 CFR 200.113)
The non-federal entity or applicant for a federal award must disclose, in a timely manner, in writing to the federal awarding agency or pass-through entity all violations of federal criminal law involving fraud, bribery, or gratuity violations potentially affecting the federal award. Non-federal entities that have received a Federal award including the term and condition outlined in Appendix XII—Award Term and Condition for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters are required to report certain civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings to SAM. Failure to make required disclosures can result in any of the remedies described in §200.338 Remedies for noncompliance, including suspension or debarment.

Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)
i. A federal awarding agency, prior to making a federal award will review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313); ii. Applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM. iii. Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in §200.205 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.

OTHER INFORMATION
Applicant organizations must demonstrate commitment to non-discrimination with respect to beneficiaries and adherence to equal opportunity employment practices. Non-discrimination includes equal treatment without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and political affiliation. Applicants are reminded that U.S. Executive Orders and U.S. law prohibits transactions with or support to individuals or organizations associated with terrorism.

Proposals that reflect any type of support for elected members of government or for any member, affiliate, or representative of a designated to terrorist organization or narcotics trafficker will NOT be considered.

III. ELIGIBLITY INFORMATION

(1) Eligible Entities: Applicants that are eligible to apply are U.S. nonprofit organizations and U.S. educational institutions.

To be eligible for a grant award, in addition to other conditions of this NOFO, organizations must have a commitment to non‐discrimination with respect to beneficiaries and adherence to equal opportunity employment practices. Non‐discrimination includes equal treatment without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and political affiliation.

Applicants are reminded that U.S. Executive Orders and U.S. law prohibits transactions with, and the provision of resources and support to, individuals and organizations associated with terrorism. It is the legal responsibility of the Recipient to ensure compliance with these Executive Orders and laws. This provision must be included in any sub‐awards issued under this grant award.

(2) WHA encourages applications from potential new partners.

IV. AGENCY CONTACTS

Any prospective applicant desiring an explanation or interpretation of this NOFO must request it in writing by the deadline for questions specified in the cover letter to allow a reply to reach all prospective applicants before the submission of their applications. Any information given to a prospective applicant concerning this NOFO will be furnished promptly to all other prospective applicants as a Questions and Answers amendment to this NOFO, if that information is necessary in submitting applications or if the lack of it would be prejudicial to any other prospective applicants.

Please be sure to check Grants.gov for any updates or amendments to the NOFO and to see published Questions and Answers regarding the NOFO.

Any questions concerning this NOFO must be submitted in writing by email to WHAGrants@state.gov by the deadline for questions indicated at the top of this NOFO’s cover letter. Please use the name of the program, Community Internship Program for Cuban Youth, and your organization’s name in the subject line.

US Groups: Long, Proud History Supporting Cuban Revolution

Venceremos Brigadistas in the U.S. Call for an End to the U.S. Blockade Against Cuba.

The Cuban people have withstood over 50 years of U.S. aggression. Their steadfast and sage leadership has helped propel the success of the Revolution. Nonetheless, solidarity is essential. For as long as the U.S. blockade against Cuba has existed, so too has solidarity from within the belly of the beast been alive.

This has helped to stay imperialism’s hand. Despite an exhaustive, systematic misinformation campaign; despite banning travel from the U.S. to Cuba; despite fear­mongering and CIA and FBI intervention, the U.S. government has never succeeded in dividing the U.S. people from Cuba. The solidarity movement in this country has been constant and strong. In the early days of the Revolution, when the world was on fire from glorious national liberation movements and the emerging U.S. civil rights struggles, Fidel and Che inspired young and old in the U.S.

Later, as the Cold War waned, the legacy of the repressive McCarthy period remained in play. Groups created to organize support for Cuba were subjected to FBI/CIA infiltration. But nothing could stop the solidarity movement. Not then, not now. The early 1960s witnessed the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1960, the Fair Play with Cuba Committee was established in New York. Freedom of Information Act records show that government informants were used to “raise controversial issues and to take advantage of ideological splits” in FPCC.

Later, Cointelpro did exactly that in the Black and Latino/a liberation struggles. Still, the FPCC opposed the Bay of Pigs invasion and the blockade, and was sympathetic to Cuba even during the missile crisis, when war hysteria and anti­Communist rhetoric were at a fever pitch. The FPCC pressed on, setting up committees in over 25 U.S. cities. Among its notable supporters were Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, Jean Paul Sartre and the brilliant James Baldwin.

Next came a special moment in people’s history. A Cuban delegation, in New York for United Nations business, met hostility at a midtown hotel. Rosemari Mealy writes in Fidel & Malcolm X: Memories of a Meeting, “African-American Muslim leader El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz–Malcolm X welcomed … Fidel … to … Harlem’s Black-owned Hotel Theresa.

Malcolm X and a welcoming committee invited the Cubans to come to Harlem, where he ensured they would be greeted with open arms. Indeed, Harlemites by the thousands gave Castro a rousing, even magnificent welcome, keeping a round-the-clock vigil in the pouring rain … To Harlem’ s masses, unfazed by the red-baiting and anti-Cuba hysteria of the day, Castro was that bearded revolutionary who had told ‘White America to go to hell.’

They crowded the streets to see and cheer the Cuban delegation … and its revolutionary leader.”  The next year, in July, noted African-American journalist William J. Worthy Jr. traveled to Cuba without State Department approval. When Worthy died in 2014, the Washington Post called him a “defiant journalist, a correspondent for the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper who made news — and inspired a folk song — by challenging U.S. policies.” The Post noted that Worthy “without a valid passport … traveled to Cuba in 1960 to report on the effects of Fidel Castro’s … revolution. When Mr. Worthy returned … he was convicted of illegally entering the U.S.

The conviction [was]  later reversed by an appellate court.” In 1969, a coalition of young people formed the Venceremos Brigade, now the world’s oldest Cuba solidarity organization. The VB aimed to show concrete solidarity “by working side by side with Cubans and challenging U.S. policies. The first brigades participated in sugar harvests and subsequent brigades have done agricultural and construction work.” The VB has organized travel to Cuba every year since its formation, taking almost 10,000 people. It has never requested permission from the U.S., defying the ban despite risks of high fines, legal threats, loss of jobs and even imprisonment.

The U.S. solidarity movement has had an uphill climb but it has not stopped. In the early 1990s, at a difficult time for Cuba, two major events helped turn the tide. The fall of the socialist camp in Europe had ushered in the Special Period in Cuba, a period of extreme war-like conditions. Hunger and shortages resulted from the loss of favorable trade with the former Soviet Union.

Washington thought it could finally bring the Revolution to its knees. Congress passed the Helms-Burton Act, further tightening the blockade in an attempt to strangle Cuba. The effort failed. Inside Cuba, the Special Period pulled the nation together to weather the storm. Inside the U.S., the solidarity movement acted.

In January 1992, over 5,000 people filled the Jacob Javits Center in New York City for a Peace for Cuba International Appeal rally. They demanded an end to Helms-Burton and all attacks on Cuba. The rally got the attention of the right-wing “gusanos,” who brought busloads from Miami as well as the attention of Florida Governor Lawton Chiles, who sent a letter to the organizers demanding it be canceled.

Javits Center officials nearly caved-in to the counter-revolutionary threats. But rally initiator, former U.S. Attorney General, Ramsey Clark from the International Action Center, along with organizers and supporters like Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee and others prevailed.

As soon as it was announced that a message from President Fidel Castro was to be read the crowd thundered with joy.

Later that same year, the Reverend Lucius Walker organized the first US/Cuba Friendshipment Caravan. This historic mobilization brought material aid to Cuba, openly defying Washington’s ban and restrictive licenses. Many caravans followed.

During one, the U.S. prevented the aid from entering Mexico. Walker and the caravanistas held a hunger strike at the border. Time Magazine wrote an article entitled, “Government and Pastors Stalemate: Government blinks”.

It was a turning point.

Gail Walker, IFCO/Pastors for Peace Executive Director, said, “…the changes we are seeing in U.S.-Cuba relations are due to the years of steadfast solidarity. I believe that the movement’s firm respect for Cuba’s sovereignty has helped pave the way for what I hope will eventually end in the full normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations. Still the blockade is not over and our efforts to crush the blockade once and for all are more crucial than ever.”
There are many other examples of U.S. solidarity with Cuba. Of note should be the work done by Reverend Walker, Reverend Joan Campbell and others with the National Committee to Free Elian.

When young Elian Gonzales found himself in the U.S., an international campaign began to get him back to Cuba. Thanks to the work of Cubans and supporters, little Elian made it home.
Next, the International Committee to Free the Cuban Five, along with the VB, Pastors for Peace, Puerto Rican and African American organizations, the National Network on Cuba and others, worked tirelessly for years to free the five Cuban patriots imprisoned in the U.S.

#Obama talking with cuban comedian “Panfilo”

Ever the good sport, the U.S. President even spoke Spanish in the televised clip.  On the eve of his first official state visit to Cuba, U.S. President Barack Obama received a highly important phone call from one of the Caribbean island’s most influential figures.

No, not revolutionary leaders Fidel or Raul Castro, but Panfilo, a character in a hugely popular comedy show, “Vivir del cuento”, on Television Cubana.

In the three-and-a-half minute video, Obama answers the phone to Panfilo, confirming that the elderly man has reached the White House.

“I can’t believe it! The real White House!” the comedian says, clutching a retro-looking phone.

“Oh my God, I’m talking to President Obama!”

Ever the good sport, Obama asks the comedian if he is indeed speaking to the real Panfilo, “from the TV show?”

Like a true Cuban, Obama asks in Spanish, “Que bola?” (“What’s up?”)
Panfilo goes on to give Obama some friendly advice, “don’t come with heavy luggage or you will get stuck at the airport,” and offers to find a car to pick him up, and even says Obama and his wife Michelle can stay in his bed.

But, he warns, the first lady would “have to sleep on the side next to the chest of drawers so she can sleep well.”

“The other side of the bed has a spring that sticks out and bothers me when I sleep,” he adds.

The historic new relations between Cuba and the U.S. could prove to ease the full-court press the U.S. has maintained against Cuba. Cuba has suffered under a blockade, invasion, sabotage, terror and destabilization campaigns led by the U.S.

In light of this, Cuba insists that in order for the normalization of relations between the two countries, the U.S. must end the 55-year-old blockade; return the illegally-held Guantanamo Bay; change its immigration policies toward Cuban migrants; stop transmitting radio propaganda into the country and attempting to build an opposition; and finally stop all attempts at regime change.

This is not the first time that Obama has taken part in a comedy skit. In 2014 the president was interviewed by Zach Galifianakis in the comedian’s parody show Between Two Ferns.
“Sorry I had to cancel a few times, my mousepad broke,” The Hangover actor tells a deadpan Obama.
Then the next President will have a full show for cubans?