Stop USAID Funding Opposition Groups, Mexico President Asks Biden


Mexico’s president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador asked his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden to stop the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from funding groups hostile to his government, according to a letter presented to journalists on Wednesday, echoing previous Mexican criticism of U.S. interventionism.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has in the past accused several media organizations of being part of a conservative movement against his government.

A Reuters report cited the letter to the U.S. President:

“The U.S. government, specifically though USAID, has for some time been financing organizations openly against the legal and legitimate government I represent,” Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, said in the letter. “This is clearly an interventionist act, contrary to international law and the relations which should prevail between free and sovereign states.”

The letter calls for Biden’s intervention, saying the U.S. State Department in recent days announced that USAID would increase its funding toward such organizations.

Mexico in 2021 had sent a similar letter asking USAID to withdraw funding allocated to non-governmental organizations critical of its government.

A spokesperson for USAID on Wednesday stressed the U.S. and Mexico’s “deep partnership.”

“We are committed to working with a variety of local partners, including civil society, to drive inclusive, sustainable, locally-led development,” the spokesperson said, noting that “USAID also partners with Mexico’s development agency AMEXCID” on migration issues.

Lopez Obrador has previously criticized USAID-backed groups.

The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The U.S. has proposed a $63.1 billion 2024 budget for the State Department and USAID, which it says “will make it possible for us to continue to promote U.S. national interests and lead the world in tackling global challenges.”

Another media report said:

The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, sent a letter to his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden to denounce that the U.S. government finances non-governmental organizations opposing the government in Mexico.

During his morning press conference at the National Palace, the President made public the letter in which he denounces that the USAID finances “organizations openly opposed to the legal and legitimate government that I represent.”

López Obrador said that this attitude “is a violation of our sovereignty, it is interventionism,” which contravenes “international law and the respect that should prevail between free and sovereign States.”

According to the Mexican President, the official website of the State Department recently made an official announcement that USAID will increase the budget granted to opposition organizations.

Among such organizations that have received U.S. funding, AMLO mentioned Mexico Evalua, Article 19 or Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity, Mexico United Against Crime.

The letter was delivered to the White House National Security Advisor, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randallsent, on the occasion of her visit to Mexico to address the issues of migration and drug trafficking.

The Humanitarian Face Of USAID

An article in Liberation — USAID: The humanitarian face of colonial exploitation, 15 February 2023 ( — said:

“USAID serves as a tool of U.S. capitalist and imperialist interests — it exists solely to direct the money and resources of the Global South into the pockets of the U.S. capitalist class. USAID now operates in 100 countries worldwide, mostly in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, and has an annual budget of nearly $30 billion to spend on its global development programs. As an arm of U.S. “soft power,” USAID’s intentions are deliberately shrouded within this rhetoric of aid and humanitarian assistance.”

The article by Amanda Yee cited Iraq, Haiti, Bolivia and Cuba as the U.S. agency’s activities. On Bolivia and Cuba, the article said:


“Democracy promotion” programs in Bolivia extend back to the mid-1990’s, investing in “decentralization” and “regional autonomy” initiatives. From 1996 to 2003, USAID awarded Chemonics International a $15 million contract to implement a “Democratic Development and Citizen Participation” program in the country. This project aimed to rally support and build trust for the then-government and its state institutions. In turn, this would undermine the growing support of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party and de-radicalize its base, which consisted of Indigenous farmers and peasants opposed to the exploitation and extraction of Bolivia’s resources by international corporations. As Neil Burron explains,

Chemonics was particularly concerned with creating the impression that democracy was working effectively through the decentralization plan, a concern that it, too, linked to the threat of antisystemic forces [i.e, MAS]. One report warned that the 2004 municipal elections would provide the MAS with the opportunity to bash “‘the system’ in general” and hoped that more effective mayors and councils would be put in place to reestablish confidence in Bolivia’s democratic institutions (Chemonics International, 2003: 75). USAID also sought to co-opt MAS strongholds in the coca-producing regions of the Yungas and Chapare by bringing the municipalities into the national main stream and building their capacity to provide services and resolve conflict (USAID-Bolivia, 2003: 8).

In 2004, USAID set up an Office for Transition Initiatives in Bolivia. Billed as a bureau of USAID that “works with local partners to target key political issues such as conflict, democratic backsliding, terrorism prevention, and stabilization,” OTIs in practice function as U.S. intelligence agencies overseas and funnel millions of dollars toward NGOs and opposition parties who align with U.S. policy interests. It was OTI which contracted the Virginia-based consulting firm Casals & Associates to coordinate a series of workshops and seminars to build opposition against 2005 MAS presidential candidate Evo Morales.

Once Morales was elected, OTI shifted focus to funding and supporting separatist movements in eastern Bolivia, with the intent on building a movement to destabilize the newly-elected government. The goal of OTI was to split Bolivia into two states: one governed by the Indigenous majority, the other in the resource-rich areas of the east that are the strongholds of European descended elites and, unsurprisingly, where the separatist factions were based.

After years of this subversion, Morales expelled USAID from Bolivia in 2013.


USAID has contracted Washington D.C.-based international development firm Creative Associates International in at least three “democracy promotion” projects aimed at stoking counterrevolutionary forces in Cuba in hopes of mobilizing them against the socialist Cuban government.

In 2009, USAID launched a two-year program in which it contracted Creative Associates to hire a Serbian music producer to recruit dissident Cuban musicians to infiltrate the underground music scene. The music producers would organize music festivals or even try to infiltrate other music festivals. The initiative started out purely cultural, and over time, began to insert more and more political and antigovernment messaging into their music. Contractors sought out Cuban musicians in hopes of boosting their visibility and stoking a movement of fans to challenge the government. Eventually, the Cuban government discovered the program and put an end to it.

USAID again partnered with Creative Associates in 2010 to develop ZunZuneo, a cellphone text messaging and microblogging platform similar to Twitter. Inspired by the Arab Spring protests, coordinators of the program hoped to foment dissent among youth in Cuba against the government — and channel that revolt into a “Cuban Spring.” The platform harvested data from its users — age, gender, political tendencies — with intention to use it for political purposes. And like the underground hip hop operation, the U.S. government planned to grow the platform in the beginning through apolitical “non-controversial” cultural content: sports updates, music, weather, etc. Over time, operators hoped to introduce increasingly political — and eventually antigovernment — content so that mass protests against the Cuban government would erupt across the island. Funding for ZunZuneo ran out in 2012, and the site was shut down.

Finally, from October 2009 to September of 2012, USAID and Creative Associates developed a civil society project in which they sent Venezuelan, Costa Rican, and Peruvian youth — paying them as little as $5.41 an hour — to travel to Cuba and work undercover as tourists to scout Cuban citizens they could train into political activists. Often times, these recruiters were sent to college campuses to find and enlist political dissidents. In another case, the program even went so far as to set up an HIV-prevention clinic to carry out this task. The project went to extensive lengths to hide its activities, and the undercover operatives were directed to communicate in code. For instance, “I have a headache” meant they suspected they were being monitored by Cuban authorities, while “Your sister is ill” was code to cut the trip short. In late 2010, USAID and Creative Associates ended the travelers’ program, opting to shift strategy — rather than sending youth into Cuba for recruitment purposes, they focused instead on getting exit visas for political activists and training them in the United States.

The article said:

Whether through relief assistance or promoting “democracy” in the Global South, the pro-business objectives of USAID remain clear: to create new markets for international capital at the expense of the local population, or to employ a longer term strategy of installing a regime compliant to the whims of international capital and U.S. policy objectives. In this way, USAID serves as the humanitarian face of colonial exploitation.


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