U.S. Sent Youths to Cuba to Stir Revolt

An Obama administration program sent a dozen Latin American youths to Cuba with the secret purpose of sparking political change. Starting in October 2009, the U.S. Agency for International Development sent young Latin Americans from Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Peru to Cuba under the guise of health-care programming. They entered the country with the “perfect excuse” of providing HIV prevention training, but sought political actors to lead a potential revolution. The U.S. reportedly paid them as little as $5.14 an hour, and they were offered as little as 30 minutes of training on how to avoid Cuban intelligence officials. The youths sent encrypted emails that could have set off alarms and put them in obvious danger. Creative Associates, the contractor employed for the job, continued the program, even after the U.S. suggested it would be unsafe to do so. Creative Associates refused to comment. The news of this covert program comes as an American who has been imprisoned in Cuba for four years has decided to say goodbye to his family. Alan Gross, who worked for the U.S. government’s U.S. Agency for International Development, has been jailed in Cuba since 2009. His lawyer said in a statement that Gross “has withdrawn” and made it clear that “life in prison is not worth living.”