Merging historical timelines offers an interesting perspective into imperialism and its snares: April 17, 1961 saw the Bay of Pigs invasion — one of the counter-revolutionary activities against Cuba that was planned during Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidency and carried out during John F. Kennedy’s years in the White House. The attempt failed, with Cuba’s mobilized forces and revolutionaries defeating the mercenaries within 72 hours.
Later that year, on Nov. 3, Kennedy launched the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, a program ostensibly meant to promote “social and economic development,” even as on Feb. 3, 1962, Kennedy ordered the now decades-long Cuban embargo.
Quoting Kennedy, the USAID website promotes the program as a “moral obligation” incumbent upon a country no longer dependent upon others, and thus reflected in the United States’ “political obligations as the single largest counter to the adversaries of freedom.”
USAID is a prime example of the inevitable links that form between politics, surveillance, humanitarian aid and human rights abuses. Clinging to the democratic platform endlessly evoked in attempts to undermine resilient opposition to imperialism, the U.S. program has embedded the concept of freedom into its rhetoric — hence the strategy of building upon an agenda that mirrors the exact violations which the imperialist entity has fomented around the world.
As the dynamics of U.S. foreign intervention have evolved, so has USAID. Each decade until 2000 is defined by particular targets, two of which are of significant interest in exploring the wider framework of oppression under the guise of freedom. Read more.