Thursday, March 18, 2010

1961: Funds for UM Cuban Exiles

Here's an interesting report from the archives. On March 17, 1961, the Miami News printed this AP story about "a grant of $75,000 to the University of Miami for the next six months, when the government will determine what further action may be required."

According to the article, a government program was approved for "maximum use of scholars and other professionally trained Cubans" already at UM and "developed from instructions issued by [President] Kennedy early last month."

The relevant background here is that the incoming Kennedy administration had already been handed the Eisenhower plans for a covert military operation against Cuba, and President Kennedy recently had given his authorization for increased propaganda and sabotage operations against Cuba. It is most likely that the $75,000 grant for UM was related to the "further actions" that eventually culminated on April 16-17, 1961 [Check Bay of Pigs Chronology and Bohning's The Castro Obsession].

Interestingly, the University of Miami, specifically its Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies (ICCAS), presently continues to receive large federal grants supporting U.S. policy towards Cuba. Since its first $1 million grant in 2002, ICCAS has helped shape a hard-line policy towards Cuba, but most importantly helping formulate the Report of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, which according to Adolfo Franco of USAID "used the [ICCAS] project’s materials extensively in preparing a 400-page report to President George Bush." Policy analyst Lars Schoultz described the report's goal of "hastening Cuba's transition" as an obvious euphemism for overthrowing the Cuban government.

How little things change.

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