The Government Accountability Office has found that USAID funds meant to promote democracy in Cuba were improperly used to purchase luxury items including leather coats, crab meat and Godiva chocolates.
A representative of one of the Cuban-American groups charged with distributing the funds defended the purchases: “These people are going hungry. They never get any chocolate there.”
Reuters via Yahoo!:
The survey by the Government Accountability Office found little oversight and accountability in the program, which paid out $76 million between 1996 and 2005 to support Cuban dissidents, independent journalists, academics and others.
It also found that 95 percent of the grants were issued without competitive tenders.
To protect recipients from prosecution, none of the money from the U.S. Agency for International Development or State Department is paid in cash to people in Cuba. A Cuban law sends citizens to jail for receiving money from the U.S. government.