Are U.S. Taxpayer dollars going to fund the Cuban dictatorship through the central American bank for economic integration?

A process started during the Obama Administration in 2016 and continued during the Trump Administration has already resulted in the entry of tens of millions of dollars into the coffers of the Cuban dictatorship starting in 2020. With a chunk of the cash probably coming from U.S. taxpayers.

CABEI receives “a large degree of American financing, notably receiving $100 million from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), together with financial support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to support lending to micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises”, according to Ryan C. Berg at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Concerns were raised in 2022 when news broke that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) had sent personal protective equipment for firefighters in Cuba following a devastating fire, but could not account for where they ended up.

However, not picked up in the press was the news that the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), an entity created in 1961 through funding by USAID and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), announced on January 10, 2022 “the first financing to its extra-regional member country the Republic of Cuba for €46.7 million to benefit more than 11 million people through the production of 200 million vaccines against COVID-19.” On September 23, 2022 (CABEI) signed the first financing agreement with Havana “for the execution of the Project to Strengthen the Cuban Biopharmaceutical Industry aimed at combating COVID-19 for €46.7 million.”

During the Trump Administration “(CABEI), announced the approval of a Non-Reimbursable Financial Cooperation for Emergency Assistance to the Republic of Cuba, for an amount of up to €935,600.00 with the objective of strengthening the efforts to combat health care implemented in the country.”

You can read more about CABEI’s country strategy for Cuba through 2024 here.

This should raise a number of questions.

1. U.S government officials in the past have expressed concerns that Havana’s biotech program could be used for developing bioweapons. Was that taken into consideration before authorizing these funds?

2.  What vaccines were being produced in 2022 and 2023 by Cuba with the ” €46.7 million to benefit more than 11 million people”?

3. Havana’s allies purchased vaccines made in Cuba and provided positive media coverage, but after the initial public relations blitz, questions about the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine arose.

Venezuela received the first shipment of Cuba’s Abdala coronavirus vaccine on June 24, 2021, but on September 26, 2021 Venezuela’s National Academy of Medicine “expressed concern over the use of Cuba’s Abdala coronavirus vaccine due to a lack of scientific research on its safety and efficacy.”

On February 7, 2023 it was reported that Mexico had used less than 3 percent of the nine million Abdala vaccines purchased from Cuba. Similar concerns were raised in Nicaragua, and by June 2022 the vaccine brigade was no longer using the Cuban vaccine, but Pfizer donated by the United States

Countries in Africa and South Asia didn’t take Cuba’s offer because 1) it was not free and 2) the vaccine is not effective.

Were these issues taken into consideration by CABEI?

4. Money is fungible. What oversight is undertaken to assure the funds are used as designated?

These are urgent questions that need answers. Especially in light of the ongoing scandal.

Transparency International on November 16, 2023 called for accountability and systemic reforms at the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI). “In a letter addressed to CABEI’s governors, Transparency International expresses concern over allegations of corruption in bank’s supported projects going back at least ten years.”

This letter was based on the damning report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project released on October 31, 2023 titled, “The Dictators’ Bank: How Central America’s Main Development Bank Enabled Corruption and Authoritarianism“, and the funding of the communist dictatorship fits the pattern established in the report.