The U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID)Cuba Program provides assistance to support human rights and promote nonviolent democratic change in Cuba. From 1996 through 2008, the program awarded $83 million in grants to nongovernmental organizations and universities. In 2006, GAO found weaknesses in program oversight that increased the risk of grantees' improperly using grant funds and failing to comply with U.S. laws. In 2008, misuse of grant funds at organizations with the program's two largest grants was detected. GAO was asked to examine (1) actions that USAID has taken since 2006, or plans to take, to improve its award and oversight of the Cuba Program's grants and (2) actions that USAID has taken in response to the recently detected misuses of grant funds. GAO analyzed USAID and grantee records, conducted limited reviews at five grantees, and interviewed agency and grantee officials.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|United States Agency for International Development||1. To strengthen oversight of USAID's Cuba Program grants and the program's ability to ensure the appropriate use of grant funds, the Administrator for USAID should ensure that the Cuba Program office is staffed at the level that is needed to fully implement planned monitoring activities, such as the systematic analysis of grantee data to identify at-risk grantees, and that the agency has determined is necessary for effective oversight|
|United States Agency for International Development||2. To strengthen oversight of USAID's Cuba Program grants and the program's ability to ensure the appropriate use of grant funds, the Administrator for USAID should periodically assess the Cuba Program's overall efforts to address and reduce grantee risks, particularly with regard to grantees' internal controls, procurement practices, expenditures, and compliance with laws and regulations.|