CUBA: USAID Replaces Corrupt Franco with Ex-CANF Capo

Posted on May 13, 2008


A Story Worthy of Its Own Novela
GRANMA INTERNATIONAL
Havana. May 13, 2008
http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2008/mayo/mar13/franco.html

BY JEAN-GUY ALLARD—Granma International staff writer—

• IN order to “solve” the systematic fraud uncovered in its accounts by a
General Accountability Office (GAO) investigation a few months back, the
USAID has replaced the corrupt official Adolfo Franco with none other than
José Cárdenas, a former director of the Cuban-American National Foundation
(CANF), the organization that was most aided by the squandering of federal
funds in fraudulent operations.

Franco, a high-ranking Bush official “caught” by the federal auditing
services presenting millions to Cuban-American mafia capos, suddenly
announced in January 2007 that he was resigning from his post at USAID – the
supposed U.S. Agency for supposed International Development – to join the
campaign team of presidential aspirant John McCain. For those who do not
know it, McCain is president of the executive of the International
Republican Institute (IRI), an intervention mechanism suddenly subsidized to
the tune of millions of dollars by USAID.

Franco’s exit occurred a few weeks after the publication of the GAO report,
which demonstrated concealment of the whereabouts of $65.4 million given
over 10 years by the federal official to his buddies in Miami and Washington
in the framework of a subversive anti-Cuba operation.

His replacement, José Cárdenas, the son of Colombian parents from Medellín,
was a top executive member of CANF from 1986.

He was director of research and publications, a spokesman for the
organization and finally chief lobbyist for the Foundation when that mafia
organization had a luxury “embassy” in Washington, a real-estate complex
bought in 1986 for $1.7 million by Jorge Mas Canosa.

For years, Cárdenas was one of the great defenders of Radio and TV Martí,
financed by the U.S. government to overthrow the Cuban Revolution via media
warfare and subversion. According to the U.S. press itself, tens of millions
have been squandered on that institution, well-known in Miami as a refuge
for friends of Bush and a sanctuary for unscrupulous officials.

After the bankruptcy of the mafiosi “embassy” in the federal capital,
Cárdenas moved on to become principal advisor of the Republican Senate
Committee for Latin America.

He is a close friend of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and her two bodyguards, the
Díaz-Balart brothers. It is said that he played a part in the development of
privileged relations between the three politicos and right-wing Colombian
circles of dubious reputation.

LOS ANGELES TIMES TELLS ALL

Washington’s interference in Cuba is best described by the word “barefaced,”
after reading a recent report in the Los Angeles Times in which Cárdenas
describes how the Washington overseas corruption agencies are to spend $45
million designated for subversion in Cuba during the present year.

Without awaiting the announced tenders, the official reveals that, from now,
the “greater part” of the $45 million assigned to Cuba is to be spent on
“cell phones and Internet equipment.” Preparing the ground for new
disappearances of funds, he adds that there is a risk of the “regime seizing
a lot of material…”

The Times reminds its readers that the GAO audit of USAID’s anti-Cuban
activities reported a number of slapdash purchases by the contracted Miami
“fighters:” cashmere sweaters, Godiva chocolates, Nintendo games and Sony
Play Stations, supposedly destined to grease the palms of the staff of
informants at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.

Cárdenas confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that USAID is to begin
channeling its anti-Cuba millions via Prague, where it has its allies thanks
to the not-so-altruistic cooperation of Petr “Peter” Kolar, the Czech
ambassador in Washington, a worthy student of the U.S. special services.

According to Cárdenas, the money is to be largely distributed among a number
of European NGO’s.

“Given that they are not U.S. organizations, it will be easier for their
staff members to enter Cuba and establish contact with the people,” affirmed
Franco’s replacement with astonishing candor.

Although the announced bids have not been awarded, it is already known that
the Czech NGO People in Need and the French Reporters sans frontiers are
among the winners of this exceptional millionaire lottery.

While the USAID webpage has been announcing for weeks a meeting in
Washington for “anyone” who wishes to present projects and apply for part of
the booty, the winners of this new version of an old trick are already known
in Miami.

About one month ago an unexpected police investigation “blew” Felipe Sixto,
the former right-hand man of Frank Calzón, CIA agent and millionaire owner
of the so-called Center for a Free Cuba. The White House official, a very
special advisor to the presidency, had been siphoning off hundreds of
thousands of dollars over the years without his boss – he said so himself –
having any doubts about him.

A show recently organized by Kolar and his troupe in the Coral Gables
Biltmore Hotel clearly disclosed the new subversion plan against Cuba dreamt
up by the Langley hardheads. Cuban-American Senator Mel Martínez, who was
present at the meeting, stressed the need to involve “other countries” in
the anti-Cuba strategy.

It cannot be denied that José Cárdenas, the new USAID “administrator” for
Cuba and Latin America, has experience.

In 2004, while he was working in another State Department post, was
personally charged by Bush to “review” his imperial Annexation Plan for the
island. Among other things, the plan proposed to throw tens of millions of
dollars at all those Miami groups, whose links with the worst forms of
terrorism against Cuba are even documented in FBI files.

Translated by Granma International •

Posted in: CIA, Cuba, Imperialism, NED, US