Cuban opposition group: US should spend pro-democracy funds in Cuba

The millions the US government spends to promote political change in communist Cuba should go directly to those on the island working to foment democracy or not be spent at all, leading dissidents said Thursday. In a letter to US President Barack Obama, eight members of the tiny but vocal Cuban political opposition wrote "if the government of the United States cannot guarantee that aid for the promotion of democracy in Cuba really arrives ... inside our country, then it would be better to cancel those funds and use them for other objectives." Critics - including the influential Cuban-American National Foundation - have long complained that the vast majority of Cuban democracy funds go to U.S.-based organizations and universities that spend much of the money on overhead and logistical costs instead of efforts on the island. The dissidents said they turned the letter over to officials at the US Interests Section, the diplomatic mission Washington uses in place of an embassy, for delivery to Obama. They passed out copies to foreign journalists at a subsequent news conference.