The Cuban regime has been a US target for more than 50 years now, but a new report from the Associated Press suggests the government may have been more reckless in its tactics than anyone realized. The report documents a USAID program that sent nearly a dozen youths from Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Peru into the country to recruit Cubans for anti-government activism. The group targeted a number of civil society groups including an HIV-prevention workshop, which handlers called "perfect excuse" to recruit dissidents.
The youths involved were exposed to great danger — anyone discovered would be jailed for espionage — but given minimal training or compensation for their efforts, often as little as $5.41 an hour. USAID isn't traditionally an espionage agency, but its efforts against Cuba drew attention earlier this year when it was revealed the agency had funded a "Cuban Twitter" project intended to undermine the government. Reached for comment by the AP, USAID declined to confirm the program, but said, "USAID and the Obama administration are committed to supporting the Cuban people’s desire to freely determine their own future."