Human Rights NGOs dispute AP report on Cuba Democracy Program

Group says AP “manipulated” information about the program to fit preconceived narrative
Cuba's President Raul Castro, Commander of the Cuban Revolution Ramiro Valdes, and Cuba's Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, talk during at an event celebrating Revolution Day in Artemisa, Cuba. / AP

A Costa Rican human rights organization is disputing a report by the Associated Press (AP) this week that its activities in Cuba were covertly designed to foment a revolution against the communist government.

Fernando Murillo, founder and CEO of Fundacion Operacion GAYA Internacional (FundaOGI), accused the AP in a statement of “manipulat[ing]” information about the group’s HIV-prevention workshop in Cuba. The AP reported on Monday that the workshop was part of a “clandestine operation” overseen by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with the goal of “ginning up rebellion” on the island.

Cuban, Venezuelan Dissidents Harassed at UN Panel

Dissidents testified on arbitrary arrests, torture of detainees
Delegates attend the opening of the 26th session of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland / AP

Cuban and Venezuelan dissidents were reportedly harassed this week by officials from their authoritarian governments while participating in a panel at the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, according to a watchdog group.

Venezuela Sanctions Bill Pressures Obama Administration to Act

Bipartisan bill would impose visa, asset bans
Bolivarian National Guards fire teargas at democratic protestors / AP

A Venezuela sanctions bill that will be debated on the House floor on Wednesday is applying more pressure on the Obama administration to take action in the crisis that will soon enter its fourth month, observers say.

Venezuelan Opposition Leaders Suspend Talks with Nicolas Maduro

U.S. lawmakers renew calls for sanctions
Bolivarian National Guards fire teargas at anti-government demonstrators  in Caracas, Venezuela / AP

Venezuelan opposition leaders have decided to suspend talks with President Nicolas Maduro aimed at ending the ongoing unrest in the country, prompting some U.S. lawmakers to renew their calls for sanctions against the government.

Bob Corker Blocking Venezuela Sanctions Bill

Bipartisan bill to sanction human rights abusers stalled
Sen. Bob Corker (R.,Tenn.) / AP

Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) is said to be standing in the way of a bipartisan bill aimed at sanctioning human rights abusers in Venezuela, where anti-government protesters have come under violent attack by supporters of its Socialist government.

Iran, Russia Partnering to Launch Cyber Attacks

Former Intel Committee Head: Iran now a ‘world class’ cyber threat
Hassan Rouhani

Iran has emerged as a leading cyber threat and has already hacked into the U.S. defense establishment and financial institutions, likely with the help of the Russians, according to a former chairman of the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Lawmaker: Iran Deal Still ‘Shrouded in Secrecy’

Ros-Lehtinen demands text be released to public
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

A leading House lawmaker is calling on President Obama to publicly release the full text of the recently signed Iran nuclear deal, which is currently being held under lock and key in a secure compound on Capitol Hill.