Reallocation of Funding?

Photo courtesy USAID/Ricardo R. GuzmanBy Yomaira Lopez
M.A. Candidate 2018

3 May 2017

This news article is a year old, but still relevant since the question of government-funded NGOs and how they are perceived is still a big issue, particularly in countries that view US-funded NGOs as unwanted foreign influence.

The article’s contention -- that the US government is seeking to destabilize Latin American governments by funding NGOs -- needs to be viewed in the context of its source, TeleSUR, which is a “satellite television network sponsored by the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and Bolivia that is headquartered in Caracas, Venezuela.”

The article says: “the United States government began putting an increasing amount of resources into organizations operating in Latin America. Under seemingly altruistic pretexts—including environmental promotion, defense of human rights, and strengthening democracy—these organizations received U.S. dollars often to intervene in the political affairs of country whose policies fall out of line with U.S. policies and objectives.”

But whether or not you accept the central contention, the article raises other intriguing issues, particularly in the era of President Donald Trump, who has indicated he intends to cut foreign assistance in general, and funds dedicated to help women or support “pro-choice” in particular.

If the US seeks to influence foreign governments by funding NGOs, as the article contends, does a reduction of funding means it wants less influence. And given President Trump’s rhetoric, where will the funding go? If the government is cutting funding for pro abortion programs and wants to still keep its “influence” in Latin America, in which sector will they invest? Will the U.S. stop cutting funding on Latin America as a whole or will it pick and chose their areas or likes?

To read the full article, please visit

Photo courtesy USAID/Ricardo R. Guzman


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