Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cubans cheer start of new era

I have been swamped today writing stories about renewed ties between the U.S. and Cuba, but wanted to post a few photos I shot today.
Above, students from Raul Roa Garcia Institute of International Relations in Havana marched in the streets, cheering the return of three Cuban spies held in the U.S.
School children and others came out to watch the marchers.

Former U.S. congressmen Mike Kopetski, in Havana for a conference, joined the students.

Workers at the Cuban Foreign Ministry peer down at the marchers.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

BBG seeks web-saavy journalism instructors

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is seeking trainers who can teach mobile reporting, data journalism, use of social media, how to "webify" TV and radio scripts, and multimedia skills.
The contractor will train BBG employees in Washington, D.C., and at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting in Miami.
Dec. 15 appears to be the application deadline, according to
See additional details here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wanted: A Bullpen Boss

This job ad for a "bullpen" supervisor caught my eye:
USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives is seeking highly motivated, highly qualified individuals who want the opportunity to help support rapid international transition programs for priority conflict-prone countries. Created in 1994 as a distinct operating unit within USAID, OTI helps local partners advance peace and democracy in politically-transitioning countries. Seizing critical windows of opportunity, OTI works on the ground to provide fast, flexible, short-term assistance targeted at key transition needs.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens who are able to obtain a "SECRET" security clearance.
Here's background on OTI, which has worked in Cuba:
Countries experiencing a significant political transition in the midst of a disaster or emerging from civil conflict have unique needs that cannot be fully addressed by traditional disaster relief. Timely and effective assistance to promote and consolidate peaceful, democratic advances can make the difference between a successful or a failed transition. OTI assists in securing peace by aiding indigenous, mostly non-governmental, civil society and media organizations.

A trillion here, a trillion there

Omnibus Appropriations bill
Congressional leaders late Tuesday came up with a $1.014 trillion spending plan for the 2015 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30 (see 1,067-page bill).
Lawmakers slipped hundreds of so-called "riders" into the bill. These are policy instructions telling federal agencies how to spend the money. Some of the riders are related to Cuba.
The 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill, if approved by the House and Senate, would authorize spending:
  • $2,632,529,000 in so-called "Economic Support Funds," money that would be available until Sept. 30, 2016. The bill states: "Funds appropriated by this Act under the heading 'Economic Support Fund' should be made available for programs in Cuba."
  • $130,500,000 toward the "Democracy Fund," to be used "for the promotion of democracy globally." Of the total, $75,500,000 would go to the Human Rights and Democracy Fund of the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and $55,000,000 would be steered to the U.S. Agency for International Development's Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance.