Instead, some nations are eyeing USAID with suspicion, accusing the 50-year-old agency of playing politics even as it helps the needy. In June, the political council of the eight-nation ALBA bloc of countries, led by Venezuela, asked members to “immediately expel” USAID, accusing it of “destabilizing our legitimate governments.”
In July, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa, who may run for re-election in February, warned supporters that USAID was fueling the opposition by pumping millions into so-called “democracy strengthening” projects.
Correa said he’s writing up new rules for USAID. “If they don’t want to follow them, then ‘So long,’ ” he said. “Go help some other country.”
In Venezuela, USAID earmarked $95.7 million to its “Office of Transition Initiatives” from 2002-2010. OTI’s mission is to provide assistance “targeting key political transition and stabilization needs.” Critics wondered why “political transition” would be needed in a purported democracy.