109th Congress S. Prt. COMMITTEE PRINT 2d Session 109-73 _______________________________________________________________________ NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND DEMOCRACY PROMOTION ``GIVING VOICE TO THE PEOPLE'' __________ A Report to Members OF THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS UNITED STATES SENATE Richard G. Lugar, Chairman One Hundred Ninth Congress Second Session December 22, 2006
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 31-506 WASHINGTON : 2006 _____________________________________________________________________________ For Sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512-1800; (202) 512?091800 Fax: (202) 512?092250 Mail: Stop SSOP, Washington, DC 20402?090001 COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana, Chairman CHUCK HAGEL, Nebraska JOSEPH R. BIDEN, Jr., Delaware LINCOLN CHAFEE, Rhode Island PAUL S. SARBANES, Maryland GEORGE ALLEN, Virginia CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut NORM COLEMAN, Minnesota JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts GEORGE V. VOINOVICH, Ohio RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin LAMAR ALEXANDER, Tennessee BARBARA BOXER, California JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire BILL NELSON, Florida LISA MURKOWSKI, Alaska BARACK OBAMA, Illinois MEL MARTINEZ, Florida Kenneth A. Myers, Jr., Staff Director Antony J. Blinken, Democratic Staff Director (ii) C O N T E N T S ---------- Page Letter of Transmittal............................................ v The Problem...................................................... 1 Guiding Principles............................................... 2 Regional Overviews and Recommendations........................... 3 Africa....................................................... 3 Asia......................................................... 4 Central Europe............................................... 5 Latin America................................................ 6 Appendixes Appendix I. Complete List of Meetings............................ 9 Appendix II. Democracy Survey.................................... 19 Appendix III. Regional Notes..................................... 25 Appendix IV. National Endowment for Democracy (NED) Report Entitled ``The Backlash Against Democracy Assistance''......... 45 Appendix V. Idea to Reality: A Brief History of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).................................. 110 (iii) LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL ---------- United States Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Washington, DC, December 22, 2006. Dear Colleagues: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently sent Carl Meacham, Keith Luse, Jay Branegan, Paul Foldi, and Michael Phelan of the professional staff to selected countries in Africa, Asia, Central Europe, and Latin America to examine the state of democracy, with particular emphasis on programs supported with United States Government (USG) funding, either directly through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), or other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Increasingly, governments around the world have tightened their controls on foreign NGOs by passing laws to restrict their ability to work independently from government approval. In extreme cases, democracy promoters are being harassed by authorities. In some nations governments have been able to persuade their citizens that the work of NGOs and the financial assistance provided to them by the USG, is a form of American interventionism. Thus, in some countries opposition to prodemocracy NGOs is cast as a reaffirmation of sovereignty. I am pleased to share with you this very timely report. I believe it provides significant insight and a number of important recommendations on how NGOs can operate effectively abroad--while respecting the laws and customs of the host countries--to strengthen civil society and promote democracy under challenging conditions. I hope you find this helpful as the Committee on Foreign Relations considers its continued support for democracy promotion programs funded by the U.S. Congress. We look forward to working with you on these issues and welcome any comments you may have on this report. Sincerely, Richard G. Lugar, Chairman. NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND DEMOCRACY PROMOTION ``GIVING VOICE TO THE PEOPLE'' Between October and November, 2006, members of the professional staff of the United States Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations traveled to 16\1\ countries on four continents to assess the state of democracy promotion as practiced by American-supported NGOs. During these trips staff visited with government officials of host countries, relevant U.S. Embassy officials and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) officials, members of civil society \2\, as well as other independent, voluntary, nonprofit actors (See Appendix I for complete list of meetings). In addition to many organizations, Human Rights Watch (HRW) lent invaluable assistance through their thorough in-country contact base in suggesting and coordinating various meetings. In some of the countries visited, staff used a survey provided mostly to host country NGOs, which was developed with the assistance of the International Republican Institute (IRI), to assess the environment in which NGOs operate (See Appendix II for ``Democracy Survey''). --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, Chile, Peru, and Venezuela. \2\ Civil society can be defined as the area of legally protected, nongovernmental, self-organizing associative activities, institutions, and groups outside the realms of family, private for-profit sector, and the state in modern societies. Thus the concept civil society itself lies in the intersection of several spheres including the social, historical, legal, political, economic, ideological, and cultural. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- At the request of the Chairman, the purpose of the trip was to examine:
The challenges that U.S.-funded NGOs face in implementing democracy promotion projects; The effectiveness of indirect USG support for democracy promotion projects; and The degree to which host governments allow for the development of independent civil society organizations. From these findings, staff has developed a series of principles and recommendations for Congress, executive branch policymakers, and NGOs to guide the design, funding, and implementation of America's democracy-promotion programs. The Problem Support for democratic, grassroots organizations has become a centerpiece of America's international outreach. The American people see this most clearly in USG efforts to lay the foundation for democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Less well- known is our nation's broader push for democracy around the globe. Within the past 3 years, the so-called Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan have opened new space for democracy in those nations, thanks primarily to the efforts of civil society members and organizations. Unfortunately, the success of these generally peaceful ``color revolutions'' has prompted a counteroffensive by some governments against prodemocracy groups. A June 8, 2006, report by the NED [see appendix V for the history of the NED], commissioned by Chairman Lugar, notes: ``Representatives of democracy assistance NGOs have been harassed, offices closed, and staff expelled. Even more vulnerable are local grantees and project partners who have been threatened, assaulted, prosecuted, imprisoned, and even killed.'' (See Appendix IV for NED report entitled ``The Backlash against Democracy Assistance.'') The implications of the report were examined in a June 8, 2006, hearing chaired by Senator Lugar to examine the role of NGOs in the promotion of democracy. A number of governments are passing laws to constrain democracy assistance. In January 2006, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a controversial new law imposing heightened controls on local and foreign NGOs operating in Russia. Outside the former Soviet states, USG-funded NGOs operating in Thailand reported instances of harassment, including surveillance by authorities, during the tenure of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatara, who was ousted in a military coup in September. In Latin America, the Congress in Peru passed, and its counterpart in Venezuela proposed, laws imposing heavy restrictions on the work of NGOs. And in Africa, the work of NGOs is severely limited by a series of factors, chiefly the lack of resources. Staff set out to develop guiding principles for relevant USG agencies that fund NGOs implementing democracy promotion projects, recognizing that situations vary considerably from region to region and country to country. These general recommendations are aimed at protecting and improving the NGOs' effectiveness. In devising these principles, the staff was guided by information gathered from visits abroad and counsel from groups that focus on democracy issues, particularly the staff of the American Center for International Labor Solidarity. These recommendations are based on the principle that United States policy should encourage legitimate activities that improve the ability of citizens to exercise their will over their communities and the actions of their Government. Guiding Principles Democracy backsliding anywhere is a threat to democracy promotion everywhere: Failure to check democracy backsliding in any given country harms democracy promotion efforts worldwide. Because democracy underpins global political stability, economic growth and international security, lack of will to challenge instances of the erosion of democracy sends mixed signals to our partners abroad who share our goals. In repressive and backsliding systems, the importance of democracy programs is magnified. They serve as a needed counterweight to forces of repression, corruption, and disenfranchisement. Democracy promotion is a long-term process: Because democratic transitions are rooted in people and movements, sustainable democracy programs cannot be delivered in a top- down, one-off, short-term manner. To achieve sustainable change, democracy promotion must be a long-range exercise. Rule of law programs are a prime example; it takes years for legal precedents to take root and legal systems to change in a sustainable way. Democracy promotion must be seen in a regional, cross- border context: Because no country or political development or movement takes place in isolation, democracy promotion must be pursued in a cross-border, regional, and even cross-regional context. Economic factors affect democracy promotion: Globalization and its economic effects impact significantly the ability of civil society and government institutions to respond to the needs of citizens. The impact of macroeconomic policy and global trade, particularly where they lead to increased inequality, can impede the success of democracy promotion and impair society's ability to address corruption, rule of law, and accountability. The economic marginalization or exclusion of vast segments of populations provides political space for authoritarian and nondemocratic forces to capture the public dialogue and weaken democratic development. Democracy promotion is as much about what happens before and after elections, as the elections themselves: Without the creation of at least the beginnings of independent civil society prior to an election, the elections themselves may bring about no real or lasting change. If a vibrant civil society is to help establish the foundation for any future political change, it needs to be fostered and promoted after and between election cycles. Civic education, informed citizen participation, transparency, and accountability are key determinants as to whether an elected government will actually survive and govern justly in response to its constituents. Democracy promotion is about aiming for high standards, but having realistic expectations: The combination of corruption, disregard for human rights, suppression of media freedoms, and regulation of independent civil society, along with a weak or nonexistent rule of law, unenforceable labor standards, and the absence of corporate accountability can all hamper democracy promotion efforts and create an unstable environment in which to implement projects. These factors must be considered when setting expectations and benchmarks for success. Regional Overviews and Recommendations (See Appendix III for region specific notes.) africa Staff visited Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria. Although each country is labeled a democracy, they differ regarding the level and strength of democratic institutions, and the quality of electoral processes. The ability of nongovernmental organizations in each country to work on democracy and governance issues is determined by a number of factors: Restrictions and regulations on such programs in each country Institutional capacity and willingness to enable such development Resources available within each country, including effective media and organizations or structures to disseminate information Willingness of bilateral donors and international organizations to provide resources for such programs (including the World Bank, United Nations, African Development Bank, African Union, European Union) In reality, a free, liberal democracy remains a distant goal for all the countries visited, but more effective governance is both achievable and important to their populations. The violence, political instability, and poverty endemic to much of the continent hobble each country's individual efforts at democratic development or reform. In Chad, for instance, the government can conveniently ignore internal and international calls for reform while it ``confronts'' the internal battles of its own political actors and the external threat of its neighbor, Sudan. In Kenya, counterterrorism measures encouraged by the international community have been criticized for encroaching upon civil liberties and democratic rights. In Ethiopia, the government cites the crisis in neighboring Somalia, as well as the standing tensions with Eritrea, as a rationale to delay progress toward pluralism. In Nigeria, corruption, crime and political violence imperil the Presidential elections scheduled for 2007. Nonetheless, each of these countries, if not the specific governing administrations, could well weather such internal and external crises more capably with well established and functioning democratic institutions. Africa region recommendations 1. U.S.-funded NGOs must ensure that their presence is legal prior to their deployment. Such NGOs' ties to local actors must also be independent and transparent. 2. To the greatest extent possible, foreign NGOs should work with organizations across the political spectrum and ensure primarily local control. 3. Because poverty and corruption are often the over-riding facts of political life in most African countries, democracy promotion programs in Africa should place special emphasis in building local capacity to scrutinize government spending and programs. 4. USG funding for democracy promotion must be steady and long term. A fickle commitment will lead to missed opportunities and disappointment. 5. USG efforts in democracy promotion must be politically and culturally sensitive to host country complexities. Democratization will succeed only if it reflects the expectations of the society in which it develops. 6. Democracy exchanges should be increased. Exchanges and visits of parliamentarians and other government officials to the United States provide an incomparable education on the nature of democratic institutions. 7. The professionalization of police forces rather than military forces should be made a priority in order to minimize human rights abuses and corruption that is at the root of popular discontent with the government. ASIA Staff visited Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. In Thailand, conditions in which NGOs operate have improved since the ouster of the Thaksin Shinawatara government by the Thai military in September, 2006. However, the full limits of freedom in operation will not be fully known until martial law is lifted. In Cambodia, still in the early stages of nominal democracy carefully guided by Prime Minister Hun Sen, NGOs are positioned to assist in building important foundations which will lead to a more democratic and responsive government. While Cambodia has the benefit of a large number of NGOs operating on a wide range of prodemocracy and good governance issues, there are questions about the degree of coordination among the NGOs and whether the full scope and effectiveness of the massive NGO presence in Cambodia has been evaluated. Although Sri Lanka weathers an ongoing insurgency by the Tamil Tigers, or LTTE, the country has managed to maintain democratic institutions and an environment conducive to free and open political activity. However, as the country may be edging closer to outright civil war, it is not possible to determine if NGOs promoting democracy and good governance will continue to be provided space to operate by the Sri Lankan civilian and military leaders. The people of Indonesia embrace democracy and an open electoral process. Given the relatively young Indonesian democracy, and the diversity of the 17,000 island archipelago, construction of democratic institutions is proceeding with remarkable speed. While the Government of Indonesia often embraces the presence of U.S.-funded NGOs promoting good governance issues, there are occasional pockets of resistance. However, overall receptivity to NGO activity is good. Asia region recommendations 1. U.S.-funded NGOs in Thailand should work with prodemocracy leaders across party lines to assess how democratic institutions may be strengthened to ensure stronger checks and balances within the Thai government and political system. 2. In Indonesia, the U.S. Government should increase funding levels for NGOs working on building political parties and election preparation issues. 3. U.S.-funded democracy promotion efforts should continue to focus on building democratic institutions and avoid the occasional perception of targeting or promoting political personalities. 4. The United States Ambassador to Cambodia has been encouraged to conduct a historical and current review of the scope and effectiveness of U.S.-funded NGO work, pertaining to democracy and good governance issues. 5. USG officials should recognize that effective promotion of democracy and good governance in Asia requires acknowledgement of cultural and national sensitivities. Definitions of democracy may vary. CENTRAL EUROPE In order to gain an appreciation of past U.S. efforts at democracy promotion, staff visited the so-call ``Visegrad Four'' countries of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, and also visited Moldova. Each of the V4 is a member of NATO and well on its way to cementing democratic and pluralistic governmental traditions in spite of recent internal political difficulties. While staff met with no one who expected or could even contemplate these polities sliding back to Soviet-style single party rule, genuine concern abounds regarding the pace and scope of their democratization. But, as one interlocutor told staff regarding the current political turmoil in his country, ``Having just held our breaths while we completed a marathon [by suppressing interparty squabbling in order to join the EU in 2004], we need a little time to exhale.'' Now is indeed the time for consolidation of the democratic reforms made since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the administration must keep a vigilant eye on each of the four to prevent any backsliding and ensure forward movement. To gain a different perspective, staff had intended to visit Belarus, labeled by Secretary of State Rice in 2005 as the ``last dictatorship in the center of Europe.'' And so it remains in 2006. Apparently afraid of outside attention to its affairs, Belarus denied staff a visa--the only visa denied in the entire scope of the committee's project. Such actions only reinforce the conclusions that have been drawn regarding Alexander Lukashenko's iron-fisted regime. Much more fruitful was a trip to Moldova, where a Communist Party candidate, freely elected in 2001, won re-election in 2005. Central Europe region recommendations 1. The USG should work with Central European NGOs to provide technical assistance regarding alternative funding sources readily available. As one example, few of the NGOs were aware of, or had thought to apply to the $43 million United Nations Democracy Fund, to which the United States has donated some $18 million to date. 2. The USG should promote more productive working relationships between NGOs and Central European governments by facilitating greater interactions between the two, whether at official embassy functions or, better yet, through the State Department's excellent International Visitor Program. Such programs, geared toward interactions with our own NGOs and government, will aid in cementing this critical relationship in these countries. 3. Lawmakers and the administration need to recognize that the ``War of Ideas'' was not won with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Rather, only one chapter was closed as the world still confronts dangerous ideologies antagonistic to free, democratic and open societies and economies. In order to foster the growth of these ideas, we must revisit the concept of U.S. government- staffed libraries and centers. In the view of staff, the current American Corners and Information Resource Centers fail to assist sufficiently in this effort. LATIN AMERICA Staff visited Chile, Peru, and Venezuela. These three countries vary considerably regarding the strength of democratic institutions, separation of powers between branches of government and the approach taken by their governments to encourage or discourage the independent development of an active civil society. Since the return to democratic rule in 1990, Chile has made significant progress toward rebuilding the institutions of democratic government, but more is possible. In particular, Chile's legislature lacks the capacity and resources to represent fully the interests of its people. Currently, elected officials rely heavily on think tanks and foundations for technical and political advice. Development of civil society and independent organizations is hampered by a law which requires that 30 percent of a private donation go to a government common fund, and not the intended recipient. This law has had the effect of discouraging private donations to nonprofit organizations. In Peru, civil society is threatened through a law passed in December, 2006, to strengthen government regulation of civil society groups. Despite public statements by President Alan Garcia that the NGO law would be ``improved,'' Garcia approved the law without significant changes only two days after congressional passage. The passage of this law could damage perceptions of Garcia's commitment to democratic progress in Peru. In the U.S. Congress, it could affect the fate of the pending Free Trade Agreement (FTA). But most disturbing are problems in Venezuela, which has taken a turn for the worse under the leadership of President Hugo Chavez, particularly regarding the separation of powers between the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. Pending legislation by the Venezuelan National Assembly to regulate and control the ability and work of NGOs is worrisome. Under Chavez, who was re-elected December 3, 2006, Venezuela has demonstrated a blatant disregard for independent civil society actors, any form of political dissent, and frowns on even the limited participation of civil society groups through organizations like the Organization of American States (OAS). In all three countries to varying degrees, political parties are somewhat distant from the people they represent. Throughout Latin America, the executive dominates over all other branches of government. In this regard, especially, NGOs would benefit from working together across borders on strengthening the ability of citizens to influence local governments and the legislative branch. This inability to adequately convert constituents' concerns into responsive laws and policies is one important factor driving the poor and the politically marginalized toward leaders who promise popular but often shortsighted solutions. While stronger and more active NGOs will not replace the need for purposeful and concerned political parties, it is important to encourage a climate of strong independent civic activism, which could force party activists toward more effective objectives and practices. Latin America region recommendations 1. The OAS should establish a separate channel for accredited civil society organizations to present issues of grave concern directly to the Permanent Council. A simple majority should be required to approve introduction by those accredited NGOs of any topic into the agenda of the Permanent Council. 2. USAID and the NED should give greater emphasis to working in partnership with Latin American NGOs, European governments, and international organizations, especially as it relates to developing cross-border agreements and coordination between Latin American NGOs. 3. Staff strongly encourages the Department of State and USAID to develop a mechanism for periodically evaluating democracy promotion projects in key Latin countries. Given the very real efforts by some governments in the region to persuade their citizens that the assistance provided to them by USG- funded NGOS is a form of American interventionism, policies toward these countries must be continually evaluated. APPENDIX I ---------- Complete List of Meetings AFRICA CHAD U.S. Embassy: Ambassador Marc Wall John O'Neil--Political Officer USAID Les McBride, Contractor Chad Officials and Opposition: Saindidi Mahamat, Secretary General of the National Assembly and ruling MPS party Nassingar Rimtebaye--Permanent Petroleum Committee Yoronjar N'Njarlugy Kodji, Action Front for the Republic, Opposition Leader Journalist and other Chadians: Nguemadji Djimasngar, Reporter and Editor, Notre Temps Delphine Djiraibe, National Coordinator, Committee for Peace and National Reconciliation U.S. NGOs: No presence due to lack of NGO interest rather than U.S. Government emphasis which is focused on education and grassroots efforts as well as support for international community efforts in political and institutional capacity building. World Bank: Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, Sr. Program Manager, Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Cluster, DC Mamadou Deme, Sr. Public Sector Specialist, Governance Unit, Chad ETHIOPIA U.S. Embassy: Charge d'Affaires--Amb. Vicki Huddleston Kevin Sullivan--Pol-Econ Officer Anthony Fisher--Public Affairs USAID Kevin Rushing, Deputy Mission Director USAID John Graham, Senior Policy Advisor USAID Mike McCord, Project Development Officer Ethiopian Executive Branch: Prime Minister Meles Ato Bereket Simon--Senior Advisor to President Meles with rank of Minister Ambassador to the U.S. Samuel Asseffa Ethiopian opposition political officials included: Merera Gudina, MP, UEDF Vice-Chairperson Temesgen Zewdie, MP, CUD Whip Ayele Chamisso, Addis Ababa City Council, CUDP Bulcha Demeska, MP, OFDM Chairperson Lidetu Ayalew, MP UEDP Secretary General Journalists and other Ethiopians: Three Ethiopian journalists A University professor A World Bank representative US NGOs: NDI and IRI and IFES were expelled from the country last year, thus unavailable and environment very dangerous for such work. KENYA U.S. Embassy: Ambassador Michael Ranneberger Deputy Political Counselor Craig White USAID Stephen Haykin, Mission Director USAID Jaidev ``Jay'' Singh, Sr. Regional Conflict, Democracy and Governance Advisor Kenyan Officials and Opposition: Unavailable Journalists: 2 locally based foreign correspondents Kenyan Community Leaders: Mohamed ``D'' and Juma Khamis, Mombasa youth leaders Hussein Khalid Muhuri, Muslims For Human Rights (MuHuRi) Mary Kavoo, MuHuRi, Finance and Administration Officer Murad Saad and Taib Abdul Rahman, Drug Rehabilitation Reach Out Trust Khalid Shapi, Managing Director, Muslim Education Welfare Association Fr. Wilbert Lagho, Islamic Scholar (Vatican trained) Kaari Murungi, Director, Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights U.S. NGOs: Peter Meechem, Director, IRI Sioghan Guiney, Resident Program Officer, IRI, Parliamentary Strengthening and Reform Moses Owuor, IFES, Program Officer--Capacity building programs with the Electoral Commission Fred Matiangi, Country Director, State University of New York, Parliamentary Strengthening and Reform NIGERIA U.S. Embassy: Russell Hanks--Political Counselor NGOs: Two U.S.-based democracy promotion groups ASIA Following are U.S. officials interviewed, and nongovernmental organizations whose representatives were either interviewed, or received a survey for this project. CAMBODIA U.S. Embassy: Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli Margaret McKean, First Secretary, USAID Reed J. Aeschliman, Director, Office of General Development NGOs: American Center for International Labor Solidarity American Institute for Research/World Education Development Alternatives, Inc. Documentation Center of Cambodia East West Management Institute International Justice Mission International Republican Institute International Labor Organization NATHAN--MSI Group National Democratic Institute PACT Cambodia Research Triangle Institute The Asia Foundation WildAid Economic Institute of Cambodia AMARA Village Support Group Community Economic Development Community Legal Education Center Women and Children's Rights Action Committee Cambodia Human Rights and Development Association Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights Human Rights Organization for Transparency and Peace Legal Aid of Cambodia Legal Support for Children and Women Cambodia Center for Human Rights Cambodian Women's Crisis Center Major General Chap Pheakday, 911 Brigade Commander SRI LANKA U.S. Embassy: Deputy Chief of Mission James Moore Michael R. DeTar, First Secretary, Political Section Helaena W. Rathore, Political Officer Sri Lankan Government Officials: Chrishanthe de Silva, Brigadier Geeta DeSilva, Ministry of Foreign Affairs official NGOs: Amnesty International Foundation for Co-Existence Human Rights Watch The Asia Foundation The Halo Trust RONCO Consulting Corporation Academy for Educational Development National Peace Council National Anti War Front Bandaranaike Center for International Studies Associates in Rural Development Transparency International Lawyers for Human Rights and Development Free Media Movement Institute of Policy Studies INDONESIA U.S. Embassy: Ambassador Lynn Pascoe Deputy Chief of Mission John A. Heffern Eric Kneedler, Political Officer, USAID William M. Frej, Mission Director USAID Larry Meserve, Director, Office of Democratic and Decentralized Governance USAID Kelley Strickland, Deputy Director, Office of Democratic and Decentralized Governance Indonesian Government Officials: Dino Djalal, Spokesperson to the President of Indonesia NGOs: American Center for International Labor Solidarity International Republican Institute National Democratic Institute Human Rights Watch The Asia Foundation Triangle Institute PERUDEM Pusat Studi Hukum & Kebijakan Indonesia The Indonesian Institute Center for Public Policy Research Yappika--Civil Society and Ethnic Relations Bandung Institute of Governance Studies Lembaga Studi Advokasi Masyarakat--Criminal Code/Human Rights Indonesia Corruption Watch Institute for Rural Empowerment Yayasan Visi Anak Bangsa--Media/Press Freedom Thailand For the purpose of protection from possible reprisal, no names of persons/organizations contacted in Thailand will be provided. CENTRAL EUROPE POLAND U.S. Embassy: Ambassador Victor Ashe Polish Government Officials: Krzysztof Wieckiewicz, Director of the Department of Public Gain in the Ministry of Social Policy NGOs: Justyna Janiszewska, Program Coordinator, Education for Democracy Foundation Maciej Tanski, Director, Partners Poland Tomasz Schimanek, Director, Polish Charity Organization Krzysztof Filcek, Deputy Director, Polish-Ukrainian Cooperation Foundations (PAUCI) Jakub Michalowski, Jan Kecik and Ignacy Niemczycki, Members Free Belarus Eugeniusz Smolar, President of the Center for International Relations CZECH REPUBLIC U.S Embassy: Ambassador Richard Graber Deputy Chief of Mission Cameron Munter Jim Davison--former Peace Corps official Political, Public Affairs and Consular Officers Czech Officials: Vaclav Bartuska, Czech Ambassador on Energy Security Gabriela Dlouha, Director of MFA's Transition Cooperation Unit (TRANS) Petr Fleischmann, staffer of Senate Foreign Relations Committee NGOs: Tomas Kraus, Executive Director Federation of Jewish Communities Tomas Habart, Program Manager of PartnersCzech Jan Marian, Consultant, Prague Security Studies Institute Jiri Kozak, Project Manager of CEVRO-Liberal Conservative Academy Assistant Professor Lubomir Lizal, Director of CERGE-EI Assistant Professor Libor Dusek, Deputy Director for Development and Public Relations Beth Portale, Chief of Staff of RFE/RL David Stulnik, Senior Program Director for Eastern Europe, People in Need (PIN) Nikola Horejs, Program Director for Cuba, PIN Megan King, Senior Program Director for Middle East, PIN SLOVAKIA U.S. Embassy: Deputy Chief of Mission Lawrence R. Silverman Economic, Political, and Public Diplomacy Officers Public Affairs and Consular Officers U.S. NGOs: Jan Surotchak, Resident Director, International Republican Institute Patrick Egan, Director Regional Program for Central and Eastern Europe NGOs: Boris Strecansky, Ekopolis Lota Pufflerova, Citizens and Democracy Dusan Ondrusek, Partners for Democratic Change Alena Panikova, Open Society Foundation Journalists and other Slovaks: Pavol Demes, German Marshall Fund Ms. Emilia Beblava, President, Transparency International Slovakia HUNGARY U.S. Embassy: Ambassador April Foley Deputy Chief Phil Reeker USAID Regional Director Ray Kirkland Political, Public Affairs and Consular Officers NGOs: Anita Orban, International Center for Democratic Transition Peter Akos Bod, Hungarian-American Enterprise Fund Annamaria Kekesi, Executive Director, Foundation for Development of Democratic Rights Katerina Hadzi-Miceva, Legal Advisor at European Center for Not for Profit Law Kristie Evenson, Director, Freedom House Europe Balazs Kovacs, Program Director of Freedom House MOLDOVA U.S. Embassy: Ambassador Michael Kirby Deputy Chief of Mission Kelly Keiderling USAID, Peace Corps, PAO, CONS, ECON, RLA, POL, Officers U.S. NGOs: Michael Getto, Country Project Manager, International Republican Institute Alex Grigorievs, Country Project Manager, National Democracy Initiative NGOs: Roman Purici, Information Resource Center Director Viorel Margineanu, Director, IMPACT Ala Mindicanu, Professor of Journalism, ULIM Olga Manole, Promo-Lex Vitalie Nagacevschi, Lawyers for Human Rights Igor Botan, Director, Association for Participatory Democracy (ADEPT) Paul Strutescu, Executive Director, League for Defense of Human Rights in Moldova (LADOM) Stefan Uritu, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights Sorin Mereacre, Country Director, Eurasia Foundation Ludmila Bilevschi, Director, Alumni Resource Center USG Journalists and other Moldavians: Petru Macovei, Executive Director, Independent Newspaper Association (API) Petru Macovei, Executive Director, Independent Newspaper Association Dumitru Ciorici, Director, Young Journalist Center Corina Cepoi, Executive Director, Independent Journalism Center (IJC) Nicole Negru, Media Analyst, Independent Journalism Center Cornelia Cozonac, Director, Investigative Journalism Center Alexandru Dorogan, Director, Association of Electronic Media LATIN AMERICA CHILE U.S. Embassy: Ambassador Craig A. Kelly Deputy Chief of Mission Emi Yamauchi Juan Alsace--Econ-Pol Counselor Harry Kamian--Econ-Pol Officer Vince Campos--Consular Officer Jeremiah Knight--Consular Officer Tim Strater--Information Officer Michael Orlansky, Cultural Affairs Officer Monica Alcalde Jessica Patterson Chilean Officials: Minister Alejandro Foxley, Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcos Robledo, International Affairs Advisor to President Michelle Bachelet Francisco Estevez, Director, Division of Social Organizations, Ministry Secretary General of the Government Diputado Marcelo Forni Union Democrata Independiente (UDI), Member of the House of Representatives, Foreign Relations Committee Sergio Bitar, President of Partido Por La democracia (PPD) Party Carlos Larrain, President, Renovacion Nacional (RN) Party Sebastian Pinera, Renovacion Nacional (RN) Party Carlos Tudela, Christian Democrat International Relations Committee (DC) Esteban Tomic, Christian Democrat International Relations Committee (DC) Fancisco Cruz, Christian Democrat International Relations Committee (DC) NGOs: Jose Antonio Viera Gallo, President, Corporacion Proyectamerica Ricardo Brodsky, Executive Secretary, Corporacion Proyectamerica Claudio Store, Head of Program, ``Joevenes al Servicio de Chile,'' Fundacion Jaime Guzman Batrice Corbo, Public Policy Advisor, ``Joevenes al Servicio de Chile,'' Fundacion Jaime Guzman Nicolas Figari, Legislative Advisor, ``Joevenes al Servicio de Chile,'' Fundacion Jaime Guzman Martita Fresno Mackenna, Public Relations, ``Joevenes al Servicio de Chile,'' Fundacion Jaime Guzman Maria de los Angeles Fernandez, Acting Director, Fundacion 21 Gonzalo Vargas, General Manager, Fundacion Paz Ciudadana Andrea Sanhueza, Executive Director, Participa Silavana Lauzan, Project Coordinator Acting Director of the Center of Strategic Leadership, University Juan Enrique Vargas, Center for Justice Studies of the Americas (CEJA) Other Chileans: Lecture to 30-40 young leaders, who were identified as the 100 Top Young Leaders in Chile. Adolfo Ibanez University Fifteen Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLASCO)- affiliated analysts; political scientists; and two congressional staffers. Jorge Schaulson General Juan Emilio Cheyre (Retired) Raul Sohr Felipe Edwards Christian Maquiera PERU U.S. Embassy: Ambassador J. Curtis Struble Deputy Chief of Mission Phyllis Powers Alexis Ludwig--Political Officer David Boyle--Political Officer Kenny Jackman, Political Officer Adam Shub--Economic Officer Dan Martinez--Public Affairs Garace Reynard--Narcotics Affairs Section Commander Dominic Dixon--Military Assistance and Advisory Mission USAID Paul Weisenfeld, Director USAID Susan Brems, Deputy Director USAID Larry Sacks, Control Officer Catie Lott Claudia Rohrhirsh Sobeida Gonzales Peruvian Officials: Luis Giampietri, First Vice-President Ambassador Nestor Popolizio, Under Secretary of the Americas, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Euguenia Chiozza, Director General, North America Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Carols Briceno, First Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Beatriz Merino Juan Carlos Eguren Jorge Avendano Rosa Urbina Juan Manuel Chau NGOs: Ambassador Jorge Valdez, Institute for Liberty and Democracy Dr. Jose Miguel Morales, President, Confederacion Nacional de Instituciones Empresariales Privadas (CONFIEP) Ricardo Vega Llona, former President, CONFIEP Wilson Gomez Barrios, Securities Expert Pepi Patron, President, Asociacion Civil Transparencia Hans Landolt, Director, Instituto de Defensa Legal (IDL) Ernesto de la Jara, Director, Justicia Viva David Lovaton, Project Director, IDL Sofia Macher, Responsible for Governance and Human Rights area, IDL Alfredo Villavicencio, Coordinator, Justicia Viva Ana Maria Tamayo, Responsible for Defense and Military Reform area Thomas K. Reilly, Chief of Project, Pro-Decentralization Program (PRODES) Elena Conterno, Institutional Strengthening Expert, PRODES Pablo Valdez, PRODES Percy Medina, General Secretariat, Asociacion Civil Transparencia Kristen Simple, Program Officer for the Andean Region, IDEA International Diego Garcia Sayan, General Director, Comision Andina de Juristas (CAJ) Enrique Bernales, Executive Director, CAJ Journalists and other Peruvians: Enrique Zileri, Director, Carteras magazine Bernardo Roca Rey, Director, El Comercio Bruno Rivas, Internacional Reporter, El Comercio Dr. Lourdes Flores Nano, Dr. Lourdes Flores Nano (Law firm Dianne Vazquez) VENEZUELA U.S. Embassy: Ambassador William Brownfield Deputy Chief of Mission Kevin Whitaker Ben Ziff--Public Affairs Brian Penn--Public Affairs Robert Downes--Political Officer Dan Lawton--Political Officer Adam Center--Political Officer Melissa Rhodes--Political Officer Andy Bowen--Economic Officer Colonel Passmore--U.S. Military Group Colonel Bauer--Defense Attache Officer USAID Miguel Reabold Venezuelan Officials: Jorge Valero, Vice Foreign Minister for North America Saul Ortega, Deputy of the National Assembly (meeting requested and confirmed) NGOs: Humberto Prado, Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones Carlos Correa, Espacio Publico Ewald Sharfenerg, Instituto Prensa y Sociedad Maria Corina Machado, SUMATE Marino Alvarado, El Programa Venezolano de Educacion-Accion en Derechos Humanos (PROVEA) Liliana Ortega, COFAVIC Journalist and other Venezuelans Pedro Pablo Penaloza, El Universal Maria Gabriela Ponce, Universidad Catolica Andres Bello APPENDIX II ---------- Democracy Survey
APPENDIX III ---------- Regional Notes AFRICA The Republic of Chad: Chad gained its independence from France in 1960 but then suffered three decades of civil warfare as well as invasions by Libya before finally achieving a measure of peace in 1990. Following the drafting of a democratic constitution, Chad held flawed Presidential elections in 1996 and 2001, both won by Lieutenant General Idriss Deby. In 1998, a rebellion broke out in northern Chad, which sporadically flares up despite several peace agreements between the government and the rebels. But a more serious threat to the governing regime now emanates from the east. Following Chadian support for Sudanese rebels in the Darfur region of Sudan, new rebel groups emerged to threaten President Deby in 2005 and continue to threaten his tenure. For instance, rebels launched an assault on the capital, N'djamena, in the weeks prior to the May 2006 Presidential election. France, as a former colonial power, exerts considerable influence and is reported to sustain the Deby regime with the rationale that there is no better alternative available. The President was elected to serve a 5-year term in an election held May 3, 2006, after getting term limits removed from the constitution. Deby was reelected President with 64.7 percent of the vote against no true opposition due to a boycott by most major opposition parties. The opposition rejects the result, raising the prospect of future instability. A largely powerless legislature is only partially constituted: The National Assembly, whose 155 members are elected by popular vote to serve 4-year terms, most recently held an election in 2002, with another scheduled for 2007, but the Senate has yet to be created. There are more than 200 ethnic groups among Chad's 9 million people, with those in the north and east being primarily Muslim, and southerners comprising the majority of animist and Christians. There has been a long religious and commercial relationship with Chad's northern and eastern neighbors bringing an Arabized culture to Chad's eastern and central regions where Arabic is spoken and the people engage in many other Arab cultural practices. The French colonial influence is felt most in the south and continues to ebb. Beyond the rebellions and wars, refugees and poverty, Chad suffers from the common malaise of resource-rich African countries: Incredible potential without optimism. Chad is manipulated by its own repressive leadership, which is in full control of its vast mineral wealth. The international community is not, in Chad's case, a bystander. The World Bank supervised the financing of the Chad-Cameroon pipeline, which carries oil from Chad's land-locked fields to the sea, to try to ensure that the economic gain would flow toward development. Instead, once the oil began to flow, President Deby began to dismantle the international revenue agreement. Civil society representatives expressed great frustration with the lack of development in Chad--slipping from 8th to 3rd to last in poverty--despite the proceeds from oil since 2003. Such a problematic landscape makes it difficult to pursue genuine civil society capacity-building and democratic reforms. Since USAID departed the country in 1995, the United States has limited development assistance. Most U.S. assistance today is humanitarian and goes to assist over 200,000 refugees of the Darfur crisis in eastern Chad. Additional U.S. assistance is being directed toward counterterrorism efforts through training and equipping Chadian forces. The only USAID effort now consists of an individual contractor, well informed and experienced, working to harmonize limited resources in a very unsettled situation. U.S. NGOs concentrating on democracy building overseas have not prioritized Chad nor pursued US government resources to support programming there. Nonetheless, the Embassy country team has tried to sustain what small efforts are possible given available resources. The emphasis has been on democracy skills at the village level and human rights. For example, the passage of legislation critical of female genital mutilation was an instructive exercise in the democratic process. Education is also considered an effective arena. Funding is available for textbooks, which enables training and builds some measure of trust at the grass roots. Embassy personnel report that there is limited civil society and parliamentary training due to the limited resources, but, that the government of Chad does not appear averse to greater democracy capacity-building. The French are perceived as ambivalent to reform in Chad; in fact, they have publicly scolded independent media, which has further alienated the local population. The United States continues to seek opportunities but has not devoted the resources to effect much positive change. There is a risk, however, that the emphasis now being placed on military training and an increased U.S. military presence will gradually diminish current popular support for the United States in Chad. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia: In 1991, the Derg military junta, ruling Ethiopia as a socialist state, was toppled by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). A constitution was adopted in 1994, and Ethiopia's first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A border war with Eritrea late in the 1990's ended with a peace treaty in December 2000, though final demarcation of the boundary is currently on hold due to Ethiopian objections to an international commission's finding requiring it to surrender sensitive territory and Eritrea's refusal to negotiate further. Following the adoption of its constitution in 1994, Ethiopia is ostensibly a democracy. It is ruled by a Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, who is selected by the party in power following legislative elections. The most recent elections occurred in May 2005 and were marked by an encouraging early phase, only to devolve into violent protest during which security forces used excessive force to quell demonstrations. Further, Prime Minister Meles has influenced the ``independent'' commission looking into the violence, and has imprisoned many of the opposition without due process and with little concern over international discontent. The bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Federation (Upper Chamber) with 108 seats whose members are chosen by state assemblies to 5-year terms and the House of People's Representatives (lower chamber) with 547 seats and whose members are directly elected by popular vote to 5-year terms. The next election is to be held in 2010. In the most recent election, the ruling EPRDF won 327 seats to the CUD with 109. This was a dramatic increase for the opposition from the previous election. Nonetheless, irregularities and subsequent violent assaults by security forces and arrests by the government have tainted the outcome. Opposition parties had been split on whether to contest the election and subsequently those that did win seats in the National Assembly rejected taking their seats to protest the alleged massive fraud by Meles' government. This was compounded by the violent response taken by security forces against protesters supporting the opposition. Many opposition candidates wound up in jail amidst reports of abuse and one elected member was killed in the violence. Violence erupted in June and again in November 2005. A supposedly independent Commission of Inquiry looking into the election violence identified triple the number of fatalities originally reported to have been inflicted by police and military forces. U.S. democracy programs in Ethiopia are rather new thanks to a shift in focus from emergency humanitarian relief to root causes and strategic interests. The needs are daunting: Free media, political party finance which is nonexistent, parliamentary law which is very slow to develop, as well as electoral board reform and strengthening. It is also seen as essential that some points of mediation are settled upon so that the recent confrontation does not lead to civil war. The Meles government also has its own internal enemies to contend with, some due to the marginalization of segments of the population by the ruling minority Tigray ethnic group. The northern border tension with Eritrea has political overtones and ethnic undertones as well. Prior to the May, 2005, election, three U.S. NGOs working on democracy and governance were ordered out of the country and have not been allowed back. This expulsion was apparently legally based. Although the NGOs were tolerated and permitted to operate for several months, none had received appropriate registration to work in Ethiopia, due to a reported lack of responsiveness by the Ethiopian bureaucracy. Nonetheless the expulsions were suspect, coming immediately prior to the elections. According to one group, this was the first-ever expulsion of these organizations under such circumstances. Though not saying so explicitly, the government has implied that one of the three was working too closely with an opposition party. When the Meles regime felt that particular group had gone too far, all three organizations were expelled. The incident places a more difficult burden on the USAID mission in Addis Ababa to work with others in a constrained environment. Ethiopia presents a typical set of diplomatic difficulties. It has proven to be a reliable partner in the Global War on Terror, yet the last election cycle showed that the country does not appear prepared to continue moving toward democracy. U.S. foreign policy must grapple with this apparent contradiction. The Republic of Kenya: The President is elected by popular vote for a 5-year term and is eligible for a second term. The Presidential candidate must win 25 percent or more of the vote in at least five of Kenya's seven provinces and one area to avoid a runoff as well as receiving the largest number of votes in absolute terms. The Vice President is appointed by the President. The last election was held December 2002. President Mwai Kibaki was elected in 2002 with 63 percent of the vote while his prime challenger Uhuru Kenyatta received 30 percent. The legislative branch consists of a unicameral National Assembly or Bunge with 224 seats--210 members are elected by popular vote to serve 5-year terms, while 12 ``nominated'' members are appointed by the President (but selected by the parties in proportion to their parliamentary vote totals), and 2 ex-officio members. The last elections were held in December 2002. Kenya is one of the most democratically developed countries in Africa and certainly the most democratic of the four African countries discussed here. It has shown the ability to establish institutions run by civilians and conduct national elections that are considered relatively free and fair by the international community. A recent poll initiated by the International Republican Institute (IRI) indicated that the majority of Kenyans (67 percent) polled expressed approval of their government's performance. On the other hand when queried about their confidence in the Parliament they were split at 49 percent approving \3\. Democracy NGOs are prevalent and are not hampered significantly by government regulation or restrictions. Local and national media is apparently open and free, and has proved an effective tool in exposing graft. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \3\ International Republican Institute poll conducted on behalf of IRI by Strategic Public Relations and Research, a survey firm based in Nairobi, Kenya. From November 3-7, 2006, 3,008 people were interviewed in all regions of Kenya. The margin of error does not exceed +/- 2 percent. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The real measure of Kenya's continued success in democratic reform and good governance will be its ability to curtail rampant corruption, both in government ministries and in day- to-day interactions of the police and other civil servants. A Kenyan reported that ``the most feared and loathed threat to civilians is the police force, whose harassment and extortion abuses the people at every opportunity.'' The same November IRI-sponsored poll showed ``a majority of respondents (56.8 percent) believed that corruption had increased or remained the same since the 2002 elections, yet a slight majority, 52.1 percent, believes that the government is committed to the fight against corruption.'' \4\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \4\ Ibid. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The President, Mwai Kibake, sets the tone in Kenya, given the very strong position granted by the constitution. Kibake won election over the hand-picked successor to former President, Daniel Arap Moi, in 2002, to a great extent by promising reform of systemic corrupt practices. With his election in 2002, the expectations for reform were significant but President Kibake has proven unable or unwilling to sustain sufficient pressure to build anticorruption momentum. The majority of U.S.-funded democracy efforts are coordinated through the USAID office in Nairobi. They are considered by local media and other observers to be part of a coherent overall program that has shown more success than those of other donors. USAID ensures their partners work with multiple organizations and is consistent across them. They are also well coordinated with the many other international efforts. U.S. programs partner with local organizations, which also lends a positive perception of independence. Political regression or back-sliding has been avoided by democracy advocates by ensuring clear and practical association with Kenyans in control of the programs. Civil society in Kenya appears to be a viable, if still underdeveloped, means by which the people can identify and hold accountable their government officials. Although Kenya appears to be in transition, the advance toward sustainable democracy could go either way. Each election, Kenyans are more inclined to ``throw the bums out,'' all of them.\5\ Thus, efforts at reform must be sustained with each new crop of parliamentarians who have not yet realized their responsibility to the constituencies from which they hail. Exchanges of officials and visits to the United States have been of considerable value in the effort to educate and build a broader institutional understanding. Broadening exchanges to include parliamentary staff and political party representatives was thought to be of value by those interviewed. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \5\ Upward of 60 percent of all incumbents are replaced each election according to local reports. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- U.S. democracy promotion programs work to a great degree in building political party capacity. Within the political party realm, ethnic coalitions rather than ideological conviction appear to dominate. Rather than highlighting and competing between ethnic groups, the embassy team tries to build confidence in broader platforms and then to translate such policy positions into effective communication to the constituency. There is a notable lack of legislative activity to support such platforms, however: There are only three or four bills introduced per session of Parliament. Embassy efforts are focused on capacity building in the capital, Nairobi. Limited efforts to ensure that democracy and governance programs reach populations further a field are now being pursued. Such programming appears essential for the coast region of Kenya, a primarily Muslim area. Coast region believes itself marginalized despite its important economic role as the location of the key East Africa trading port of Mombasa. This small city has also been the target of terror attacks in recent years and is just down the coast from Somalia's chaotic southern regions. Several NGOs in Mombasa complained that ``MPs do not work with local communities, they consider the state money as their own to use as they see fit.'' In fact, they point out that in one study, fully 95 percent of coast funds that were monitored did not end up being used as originally intended. Efforts to effectively engage all Kenyan groups in U.S. Government democracy-building will better ensure sustainability and support for U.S. efforts in Kenya and the region. Nigeria: Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa (with a population of about 140 million, one in five Africans is Nigerian), about evenly split between Muslim and non-Muslim, giving it the largest Muslim population of any country outside Asia. It is a major oil producer and one of the most important oil suppliers to the United States. Despite its oil wealth, Nigeria has a per capita GDP of less than $2 a day, and the country has suffered the classic ``resource curse''--per capita income today is a quarter what it was 30 years ago, infrastructure and social services have collapsed since the 1980s, and corruption and crime are rampant. Much of the economic collapse can be laid at the feet of the authoritarian, usually military, governments that have run the country for much of its post-independence history. The most notorious recent example was Gen. Sani Abacha, who after his ill- explained death in 1998, reportedly by heart attack, was accused of looting some $4 billion from government coffers. Since 1999, the country has been led by Olusegun Obasanjo, a former general and one-time coup leader who became a reformer and the first democratically elected President in 16 years. He was re-elected in 2003, in an election marred by violence and numerous irregularities, and this year he was blocked in an attempt to change the constitution so he could run for a third term. Although he is viewed by many outsiders as a leading African statesman, thanks to his efforts at promoting democracy and peacekeeping through the African Union and economic progress through ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), within Nigeria he has come to be regarded as ineffectual and unable to combat corruption, and his popularity is low. While Obasanjo has improved human rights and democratic institutions, democracy's roots are considered shallow, and in light of persistent ethnic, communal and political violence in various regions of the country, few observers are convinced that elections will take place as scheduled next spring. Representatives of two U.S.-based NGOs who have been operating in the country since the restoration of democracy agreed that in general the country has a relatively free press, relatively open political debate, and that their work is openly embraced and encouraged by the elected members of the legislative branch, the National Assembly. They could point to examples of where legislative hearings have been held as a result of NGO efforts, where NGO representatives have been invited to attend important political, cultural and social events, and where NGOs have received awards from the National Assembly. At the same time, both said their relationship with the bureaucracy is more strained, and while neither feels they are being targeted specifically, both are being harassed by the government for infractions of regulations, which in one case could result in the bank account of the organization being closed. Details below. Nigeria is a generally pro-American country, and the representatives said work of the NGOs is welcomed by the public and by civil society organizations. ``We're not seen as an irritant,'' one said. ``The National Assembly seeks our imprimatur.'' The other added, ``Being American is not a problem, often it's a positive. Most Nigerians look at the United States with admiration.'' Both groups work to build the capacity of all the political parties, including Obasanjo's People's Democratic Party, and unlike in some countries, are not seen as working with opposition groups against the ruling party. ``The ruling party has always been part and parcel of our program,'' one said. At the same time, they do feel the scrutiny of the Independent National Electoral Commission, which runs the elections (and not always well, according to outside observers) and does not have a good relationship with the political parties. Despite its name, INEC has been accused of being too close to the executive branch. One group characterized INEC's hostility as typical of ``a part of the government that has something to hide.'' They also said that they've been the subject of disparaging comments from the Nigerian diasporas in the States, members of which have written letters to the INEC. Both representatives said that many of their training sessions are monitored by agents of the State Security Service (SSS). But they've faced no direct interference from the security forces, and the greatest obstacle to doing their work is simply the widespread crime that makes it dangerous to travel anywhere in the country, and the frequent roadblocks that are used to harass everyone in Nigeria. Both said their organizations generally work well with local civil society groups. The United States NGOs have been criticized, however, for taking money away from indigenous prodemocracy groups. This is especially true in some of the northern Muslim areas. ``They say, `Why is the U.S. Government funding these U.S. groups if you're trying to build Nigerian democracy?' '' one said. By the same token, they have found that they cannot push an aggressive branding strategy as some in the U.S. aid community would like. ``In some of our work in democracy promotion, it just doesn't work to advertise, `This law brought to you by the United States.' We don't want to claim U.S. ownership; we want to promote Nigerian ownership.' '' Ultimately, the two groups' effectiveness, and their ability to operate freely, turns on whether Nigeria is truly a nascent democracy, or instead an essentially authoritarian regime seeking to gain legitimacy through a democratic facade, what the recent NED report prepared for Chairman Lugar called a ``hybrid regime.'' One of the representatives who had read the report said, ``I don't think Nigeria is a hybrid regime.'' The other representative was slightly more skeptical: ``I'd say it is more a democracy with an asterisk.'' However, in sharp contrast to this generally rosy picture of a relatively benign working environment, both representatives said their organizations are currently in some kind of trouble with the government. In the more serious case, the organization is in danger of having its bank account closed down because it is in violation of the registration laws. The case is complex, but in a nutshell, as it was understood by staff, thanks to a bank consolidation and a tightening of laws for antimoney-laundering purposes, the organization is in danger of losing the resident permit it needs to maintain a bank account because it does not have an independent local board, as the law requires. Apparently, this organization's policy is not to have independent local boards. The representative reluctantly agreed that technically speaking, they were therefore in violation of the law. (Later, the Embassy political counselor said that he expected that this problem would quietly go away in a few months, as things often do in Nigeria, and that it appeared to be an instance of low- level harassment). When asked whether he felt this was simply the bureaucratic machinery at work, or whether his organization was being specifically targeted, he said he did not feel that the registration law was being misused to block the work of the NGO, nor did he say that he felt they were being specifically targeted because of their prodemocracy work. (SFRC staff is skeptical). The other organization had a more arcane--and more easily fixed--problem: Some words in its name are not permitted for general use in Nigeria because they have specific meanings in public life for which they are not appropriate in this context. He expects the solution will be simply to use the group's acronym as the official name, and call themselves XXXX- Nigeria. He believes they are not being targeted. ASIA Thailand: Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary form of government. The King is Chief of State, and the Prime Minister serves as head of government. King Bhumipol commands enormous respect and loyalty from the Thai people, and continues to influence Thai politics. Now that the democratically elected government of Thaksin Shinawatara has been overthrown by the September 2006, Thai military coup, (with the reported acquiescence of the King), U.S.-funded NGOs promoting democracy are once again able to operate freely and without intimidation or harassment. However, the full limits of freedom in operation may not be fully actualized until martial law is lifted. Challenges to the work of NGOs are bureaucratic, as opposed to the interim (military- installed) government seeking to subvert or impede their work. One U.S.-funded NGO representative informed staff that his colleagues' phones were tapped, and that they were ``under constant surveillance by Thai police authorities,'' under the Thaksin regime. Another NGO official stated that his staff was followed by police, and phones tapped as well during the Thaksin administration. As the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reported, the coup followed 8 months of political turmoil. Widespread protests against Thaksin, (mostly focused on the tax-free sale of his family's telecommunications firm to a Singaporean government holding company), led the Prime Minister to call for a new round of parliamentary elections in April of this year. After a less-than-convincing victory by his Thai Rak Thai party, Thaksin resigned; however he quickly assumed the position of ``caretaker'' Prime Minister. (The opposition boycotted the election). After King Bhumipol asked that the courts resolve the crisis, the Constitutional Court ruled the elections invalid. New elections were set for this November. In the months leading up to the coup, the uncertainty of the future of Thai politics impacted the confidence of foreign investors and raised doubts about the durability of Thailand's democratic institutions. Military leaders took special notice as the Prime Minister reportedly considered intervening with the selection of persons for key military positions. According to Human Rights Watch, a ``steady erosion of respect for human rights . . . characterized the administration . . .'' of the former Prime Minister. In a letter to Mr. Thaksin, which summarizes some of the key concerns on the part of many human rights advocates and organizations, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Brad Adams wrote, Since your government assumed power, Thai security forces have increasingly used excessive force and operated with impunity, particularly in southern Thailand. There has been no accountability for over two thousand extrajudicial executions carried out by security forces in the ``war on drugs'' launched by your government; there has been no accountability for the unnecessary use of lethal force by security forces who killed some 110 militants armed only with machetes, most aged between 15 and 20, in Kruesi Mosque in southern Thailand; and there has been no accountability for the March 18 ``disappearance'' of Somchai Neelapajit, a prominent human rights lawyer representing two Thai Muslims facing terrorism charges, who is strongly suspected of having been abducted and killed by security forces. Amnesty International reports that ``almost 20 (human rights defenders), were killed or disappeared,'' during the Thaksin administration, and ``the authorities have not properly investigated these abuses.'' According to the CRS, ``During Thaksin's rule, detractors consistently voiced concern that his strongman style threatened Thailand's democratic institutions. Charges of cronyism and creeping authoritarianism grew increasingly louder as his political power strengthened. Previously independent watchdog agencies reportedly weakened under his watch, and some commentators alleged that Thaksin undermined anticorruption agencies by installing political loyalists to protect the business interests of his family and members of his cabinet-- sometimes one and the same, as Thaksin has a record of appointing relatives and friends to prominent posts.'' The military coup and suspension of U.S. military aid may impact the traditionally strong bilateral relationship with Thailand. During staff's visit with Lieutenant General Naraset Israngkura, Deputy Director General for the Office of Planning and Development, Ministry of Defense, in Bangkok, staff questioned the General as to the timetable for lifting martial law, and stressed that members of the Foreign Relations Committee were looking for positive benchmarks from the military, toward restoration of democracy in Thailand. Thai military officials have committed to a process that will produce a new constitution for the country. There is concern that the final product may be drafted with intent to exclude certain persons or parties from being eligible or qualified to participate in the future political process in Thailand. U.S. officials in Bangkok report that the political party processes continue to be reasonably strong in Thailand. One official stated, ``When the coup leaders took over, they issued a proclamation that the law on political parties remains in effect, although political party activities were also restricted by martial law and associated measures. There is widespread expectation that political parties will be able to resume regular activities soon. There's also a definite expectation that parties will play the leading role when the next round of elections are held.'' The interim government is allowing for the development and preservation of independent civil society actors. Cambodia: A constitutional monarchy, Cambodia's Constitution provides for a multiparty democracy. The executive branch includes the King, as head of state, an appointed Prime Minister, dozens of Deputy Prime Ministers, senior Ministers and Ministers, as well as numerous ``Secretaries of State and Under Secretaries of State.'' Political parties remain very weak, despite years of effort by IRI and NDI toward capacity-building Political activists and parties work in an environment permeated by corruption at various levels of government and society. However, as one NGO leader commented, ``. . . as the middle class is developed; people will expect more from their government.'' The good news is that U.S.-funded NGOs are working a variety of projects to empower Cambodian citizens at the grassroots level. From utilization of radio broadcasts, to developing women's multiparty leadership caucus, to encouraging citizen participation at the village level, a comprehensive approach of promoting democracy and good governance is clearly underway. NGO survey responses are mixed on the points as to whether the government allows NGOs to participate freely in society and whether NGOs face many bureaucratic obstacles that deliberately prevent NGOs from functioning. Government officials have been discussing the possibility of legislation to regulate NGOs. While NGOs do not object to registering with the government, the possibility of a law has raised concerns. The majority of survey respondents agreed that corruption is not taken seriously as an issue in government, and that citizens are afraid to report corrupt businessmen, government officials and politicians. The sustainability of the present level of U.S. funding for NGOs in Cambodia is unknown. It is also unclear that other donors would match U.S. contributions in the event the U.S. funding level is diminished in the future. One U.S. official stated that in the event the U.S. Government withdrew a large share of its funding, a ``consolidation of NGOs'' and ``shrinking of civil society'' might occur. Indonesia: Containing the world's largest Muslim population, Indonesia continues down the relatively new road to democracy. The President and Vice President were elected by popular vote for the first time in 2004. The U.S. funds a wide array of democracy promotion and democracy support/good governance projects, including antitrafficking in persons; justice sector reforms; legislative strengthening; mitigation of conflict and support for peace; local reform and good governance support; and media development. U.S.-funded NGOs promoting democracy report they face few or no obstacles with their work, and often operate with full support of the Indonesian Government. One U.S. official noted, however, ``When we've worked on some sensitive issues, such as human rights or special autonomy for Aceh or Papua, some parts of the Government of Indonesia always seem to have suspicions, but such work has usually been done through local NGOs.'' Others report that, ``the government has clearly indicated particular areas which it considers to be `out of bounds,' for attention by international NGOs. The frequent use of libel suits reduces options available for many organizations conducting anticorruption campaigns in both the public and private sectors.'' There is also ``occasional harassment by local police who continue to enforce old regulations no longer on the books, which until eight years ago required obtaining local police permission for all organizational meetings.'' IRI and NDI are able to register under the USAID umbrella rather than filing individually, which would subject the NGOs to financial disclosure requirements, including salary levels of all domestic/foreign staff. The Government of Indonesia takes an active role in soliciting assistance and facilitating some NGO programs. As one example, an NGO official reports that the National Chief of Police recently hosted a dinner, to which he gathered all main international donors to police reform efforts, thanked the donors for their assistance, and presented an outline of what all the police needed and how they can further integrate international development assistance into the police reform program. It is often more effective for the U.S. Government to work indirectly in Indonesia. As one NGO official stated, ``. . . unfortunately in the current environment, direct U.S. assistance is sometimes viewed through a lens of concern related to a range of international affairs issues of immense concern to Indonesians. Indonesian recipients are pragmatic in that they know and acknowledge the source of funding, for example, but prefer the intense programmatic interaction, planning and implementation, to be with familiar and nonpolitical organizations and NGOs. Then there is the question of aid effectiveness, and from my perspective, it appears much easier for the USG to administer programs via U.S.-funded NGO partners, as opposed to their own bureaucracy.'' Increased anti-American sentiment is now being realized in Indonesia. As one U.S. official noted, ``. . . more recently, one almost gets the sense that the amount of anti-American sentiment among some Indonesian officials has increased, which seems related to Middle East issues. Local civil society partners, political parties and government institutions, do not want to openly acknowledge U.S. Government assistance.'' In addition to U.S. funding of NGOs promoting democracy/ good governance, it should be noted that the U.S. Government provides approximately $3 million in assistance to the DPR. The United States is also working with the DPR to identify future opportunities for further assistance. For example, DPR Members insist they need more staff and research assistance. Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka's multiparty democracy has been largely stable despite high levels of violence; however, the ongoing conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan Government is now a situation on the verge of civil war. As the State Department reports, Sri Lanka's two major political parties--the UNP and the SFLP--``embrace democratic values, international nonalignment, and encouragement of Sinhalese culture. Past differences between the two on foreign and economic policy have narrowed.'' A U.S. official working in Sri Lanka noted, ``Political parties are well-entrenched, have adequate bureaucratic capacity, and engage in a variety of activities without undue obstacles. There is strong awareness of the role of a robust opposition party in parliament. Most major elections in Sri Lanka have been broadly free and fair, with wide participation by political parties with freedom to campaign. Parliament encompasses a broad spectrum of opinions, from Sinhalese nationalists and Muslim parties, to Tamil Tiger sympathizers.'' The LTTE continues to engage in terrorist activity, intended to destabilize Sri Lanka. While staff was meeting with a U.S.-funded NGO representative, a Tamil Member of Parliament was assassinated a few miles from the meeting location. Weeks earlier, he had met with the President to express concern about abductions and extrajudicial killings, some of which fall under the category of political assassinations. Some insist that the Government of Sri Lanka, through elements of the military, is engaging in acts of state terrorism against Tamil and other representatives of the population; and that the government is sponsoring paramilitary operations. Abductions of persons are increasing. Some are killed. If the overall human rights situation continues to deteriorate, and pressure mounts on media freedom, ``these trends . . . will eventually have an impact on political parties' ability to organize and express themselves freely.'' according to a U.S. official. NGOs surveyed were not in agreement that the Sri Lankan Government provides ample space in which they can operate within the country. In addition, there was not shared consensus that ``Watchdog organizations fear being coerced politically, economically, or physically.'' There was agreement that the government does not take corruption seriously as an issue. Central Europe Visegrad Four: Most of the USG funding for democracy promotion in the countries of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary (the ``Visegrad Four''--V4) has, rightly and understandably, been shifted to more pressing U.S. priorities in the Caucuses, Central Asia, and the Middle East. However, while there has not been the same backlash against civil society NGOs as is currently ongoing in Russia, it is clear that the governments of Central Europe remain skeptical regarding the positive role such NGOs provide democracies. This tradition, long since deeply rooted in our political consciousness, has yet to take hold in ``new Europe.'' NGOs are viewed either, at best, as nuisances to be tolerated because of current or past U.S./EU support or, at worst, as single-issue campaigns conducted by disgruntled and marginalized malcontents. In addition to trying to solidify their role in society, NGOs in Central Europe must also expend tremendous energy and hours on funding. Having graduated from USAID assistance [Czech Republic (1997), Hungary (1999), Poland (2000) and Slovakia (2000)], self-sustainability is now one of their most pressing concerns. While the European Union has filled in somewhat on this issue, NGOs reported to staff that EU funding regulations, restrictions and effectiveness are such that most NGO staff encountered longed for the ``good old days'' of USAID assistance. EU funding is generally only provided for the first 25 percent of any grant, with the remaining 75 percent to be remitted once costs have been vouchered back by the NGO to EU headquarters. Thus many NGOs now find themselves having to borrow to cover costs until repaid by the European Union, turning NGOs, in essence though not fact, into for-profit operations in order to cover these borrowing and interest costs. While financial transparency must remain one of the cornerstones of any NGO-donor relationship, these EU funding mechanisms are burdensome and time-consuming, sucking resources away from core operations and objectives. It is in our own interest to assist many of these NGOs in their quests for funding as they not only seek to promote like- minded civil society goals in their own countries, but often do so in third countries as well. Staff met with numerous dedicated V4 NGOs who conduct significant work in countries where we are neither welcome nor often able to conduct much activity beyond our Embassy compounds. Such countries include Belarus, Burma, and Cuba. Activities vary from raising money for dissidents forcibly dismissed by governments for their prodemocracy activities to providing activists with organizational and information dissemination advice and equipment. V4 NGOs not only help move those societies closer to joining the world's democracies, they provide perspectives that U.S.-based NGOs cannot. Having survived themselves for years under repressive and undemocratic rule and then been integral to the transformation of their governments to democracy, they have a historical perspective and moral voice that gives them added credibility. As one V4 NGO representative told staff, ``When we bring people from these dictatorships to our country, they can't believe the transformation, especially those who visited Central Europe during the 1980s. Mind you, because they have been fed so many lies by their leaders, they still think of us in those terms--that our societies and our economies haven't progressed since the end of the cold war. Then, when they get here, they can't believe the changes, and I'm not just talking about the types of cars we can now drive, but the political and press freedoms that we enjoy, as well.'' The passion for freedom and democracy these dedicated NGOs bring to democracy promotion deserve greater USG support. Clearly, such support must be calculated so as not to draw too much attention as in some circumstances this would greatly decrease their effectiveness. Nonetheless, the additional leverage they provide to our own foreign policy efforts in these countries should be recognized, particularly in their home countries. Such appreciation, recognition, thanks and respect for their efforts would provide easy public diplomacy opportunities in countries that have traditionally been supportive of the United States, but who in recent times have begun to gravitate more and more to the European Union. Moldova: Moldova remains on the front line of Russian attempts to return to the days of the Soviet Empire, of which Moldova was once a part, particularly through its meddling in the eastern region of Transnestria where a vocal Russian minority has cowed and coerced the rest of the Romanian and Moldovan population into adopting a resolution calling for independence and union with Russia. Given this and Moldova's status as the poorest nation in Europe, the decision to cut U.S. assistance this year by some 10 percent from the previous year (FY06 $17.82M; FY07 $16) is troubling. Any reduction in assistance will only likely contribute to the worsening of her economic situation. Moldova's high poverty rate is the single biggest contributing factor to the country's human trafficking crisis. Staff heard from trafficking officials that many villages are over-run with children whose grandparents attempt to provide a stable home environment when their fathers leave for construction jobs in Western Europe and whose mothers are lured away by bogus offers of domestic employment overseas. These victims are trafficked throughout Europe and the Middle East, increasingly to Turkey, Israel, the U.A.E., and Russia. Additionally, this reduction in U.S. aid sends the signal that we are abandoning Moldova to Russia and its desire to recreate its spheres of influence through outright aggression and intimidation via its agents in Transnestria, or through its economic embargoing of Moldovan wine (the country's single largest export) and other agricultural products. Some argue the Millennium Challenge Corporation's (MCC) recent award of some $25M to Moldova will more than make up for this shortfall. However, this funding is targeted at supporting anticorruption activities in order to make Moldova fully eligible for inclusion in the Millennium Challenge Account Compact, not to improve the economic situation. While possible future funding offered by the MCC would provide long-term benefits to the country, there is a more immediate need for economic assistance through USAID. Likewise, the announcement of the anticorruption funding award was met with much skepticism inside the country and must be carefully monitored in order to ensure it is transparently apportioned. The administration would clearly gain easy public diplomacy credits for maximizing the exposure involved in the auditing and overseeing of the expenditure of these funds, and would demonstrate to the average citizen that the United States remains committed to Moldova's future and to her eventual full integration into Europe. That said, Moldova and the rest of the GUAM nations (Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, and Moldova) are clearly eager for EU membership and the concomitant economic and political benefits. However, recent statements by the European Union that further expansion is ``on hold'' sends a dangerous message to these fledgling democracies and will only slow the pace of further democratic and economic reform in them. Without the hope of EU accession, GUAM governments will be under little pressure both from within their own societies and from Western democracies to continue down the democratic road. The administration needs to pressure EU member states to reverse this ``closed door'' policy. Latin America Chile: NGOs agree that progress has been made regarding developing stronger institutions of democracy since the return to democracy (1990). While the Government of Chile (GOC) is seeking to broaden citizen input, NGO leaders feel the effort is too top-down, without sufficient dialogue with civil society. Many argue that the Chilean Congress's over-reliance on party-affiliated foundations and think tanks limits Members' ability to respond to constituent wishes (Congressmen and Senators have few advisors and personal staff). Moreover, donations to nonprofit organizations have been on the decline since a new law that increased government's role in distributing charitable contributions (30 percent of a tax deductible donation goes to a government-controlled common fund that is distributed to other charities.) A former Senator from Chile's center left government coalition (Concertacion\6\) who now heads an NGO said that NGOs function freely in Chile. While there are some conflicts between the government and environmental NGOs, there is no persecution of NGOs that hold views different from those of the government. The former Senator acknowledged that many think tanks and foundations have ties to political parties, but this support is not automatic and that such NGOs do criticize the government. It was also noted that NGOs can register as nonprofit ``foundations'' or ``corporations'' and receive tax exempt status. The most pressing issue for many NGOs is financing, in part because there is no culture of philanthropy in Chile. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \6\ The Concertacion de Partidos por la Democracia (Spanish ``Coalition of Parties for Democracy'') is an alliance of center-left political parties in Chile. The coalition (in various forms) has held the Chilean Presidency since military rule ended in 1990; the elected Presidents have been Patricio Aylwin, Eduardo Frei, and Ricardo Lagos. Michelle Bachelet from the PS/PPD was the candidate for the 2005 Presidential election. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Many NGOs depend on foreign funding or private contributions. Following the end of the government of Augusto Pinochet, millions of dollars in funding from the United States and Europe dried up. The former Senator explained that many NGOs also rely on government contracts to provide products or services. This former Senator argued that despite broad participation in civic organizations and volunteer groups, civil society is weak because of the excessive reliance on a strong executive branch, the Catholic Church and private companies. ``NGOs are an Anglo-Saxon phenomenon,'' he said. Representatives from a think tank on the right expressed concerns about the independence of NGOs affiliated with the ruling Concertacion government. The two representatives stated that NGOs on the left are well organized and receive financing from Europe, notably France and Belgium, and to a lesser extent Mexico. They noted that Members of the Chilean Congress have limited staff, which has increased their reliance on party- affiliated think tanks and foundations for information and analyses. They claim that while Concertacion-affiliated NGOs are often invited to comment on the GOC's legislation at Congressional hearings, think tanks and foundations from the right are not. While there is more transparency than 10 years ago, representatives cautioned that there is a perception of widespread corruption, as demonstrated by the recent government scandals in which administrators allegedly funneled funds to Concertacion electoral campaigns. They likewise expressed disappointment over the new Donations Law, with its 30-percent cut for the government, which has hurt private giving and in their view affects more NGOs on the right than the left. Government officials noted that President Bachelet wants to expand the participation of civil society in decisionmaking-- one of her top campaign promises. As part of this effort, officials highlighted a $1.8 million fund for strengthening social development organizations. The GOC assigns sums of money to NGOs involved in development projects based on a competitive bid process. Government officials cautioned that reforms aimed at increasing citizen participation take time and are difficult to implement and stated that Chile has a strong executive with a top-down framework emanating from Pinochet's 1980 Constitution. Compared to other countries, Chile is behind in revising its Constitution, the official said. The official said Chileans do not have the right to hold plebiscites or referendums, and there is no ombudsman, but this could change under the Bachelet administration. With regard to declining donations to nonprofit organizations, Concertacion officials defended the government's new law on donations. They argued that it is not fair, for example, that a company makes a tax-deduction donation that benefits only one entity when there are more needy recipients. The 30-percent allocation to a common fund and distribution by the government is more beneficial to society, they claimed. The majority of think tanks and foundations, on both the left and the right, criticized the new Donation Law, arguing it hurts well-known organizations such as Chile's Municipal Theatre and the Catholic Church-affiliated NGO ``Hogar de Cristo'' \7\. Most NGO representatives supported the idea that donors should be able to provide full funding to the NGO of their choice without government direction. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \7\ Hogar de Cristo is the largest nongovernmental, nonprofit social organization, working with over 4,000 volunteers to serve 70,000 people throughout Chile. They are dedicated to serving and caring for ``the poorest of the poor'' with dignity and compassion. They have many sites throughout Santiago (and the rest of the country) with numerous programs. Possibilities for projects are endless. It is easiest to imagine students integrating themselves into the direct services of the sites and complementing the services with educational workshops and activities. Other alternatives, including needs assessment and program planning or evaluation, tend to be developed when the possibility of carrying them out becomes a reality. Peru: Peru is a multiparty republic that recently emerged from more than a decade of authoritarian rule and is undergoing a process of economic and democratic transformation. Over the last decade, the Government transformed a heavily regulated economy into a market-oriented one. The country's population was approximately 27 million. Gross domestic product grew 4.8 percent during the year, compared with only 0.2 percent growth in 2001. Inflation, which was 0.1 percent in 2001, stayed under 1.5 percent during the year. Major exports include copper, gold, and other minerals, fishmeal, textiles, and agricultural products. Close to 54 percent of the population lives in poverty, earning less than $1.25 per day; about 15 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty, unable to meet the most basic food, shelter, and clothing requirements. The government of President Alan Garcia is perceived as respectful of the human rights of its citizens; however, in the past there were serious problems in some areas, particularly regarding allegations of unlawful or unwarranted killings by police. Staff's visit was heavily focused on proposed legislation that would give the Government of Peru (GOP) authority to control NGO activity, particularly those working on human rights issues and receiving international assistance. The law would force nongovernmental organizations and their international donors to register with Peru's Agency for International Cooperation (known for its acronym in Spanish, APCI \8\), the state watchdog, and give details of their funding and activities. APCI would also have responsibility for ``harmonizing'' the groups' activities ``in line with national development policy and the public interest.'' --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \8\ Agencia Peruana de Corporacion Internacional. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- More than 3,000 NGOs operate in Peru, with a total annual income estimated at $500m for the sector. APCI--whose board of directors is presided over by the Prime Minister and includes the Foreign and Finance Ministers-- would be able to punish groups it judges to have acted not in the national interest. The proposed NGO law has generated an enormous amount of controversy, with front-page articles and a host of almost unanimously critical editorials. Peruvian NGOs have threatened to take the matter to the Constitutional Tribunal. Peru's Ombudsman called into question the law's constitutionality. The overwhelming response highlights the strength of Peru's democracy, particularly the civil society sector. In a late October 2006 vote, the Peruvian Congress voted in favor of the legislation, which needs to be approved in a second congressional vote before being sent to the President for consideration (which had not occurred at the time of staff travel to Peru). In many of the meetings NGO representatives focused on proposed legislation which would give the government authority to, in effect, direct foreign assistance. NGO representatives worried that the government was attempting to exert greater control over civil society and to curtail freedom of expression. There was widespread speculation as to hidden motives behind the proposed legislation. Some suspected an alliance of expediency between the APRA (the government party) and Fujimorista parties, arguing that the law sought to curtail NGOs that were seeking the extradition of former President Alberto Fujimori from Chile and that also hounded President Garcia for alleged human rights violations during his first term. Others saw an effort to limit the activities of groups that are critical of the operations of Peru's powerful mining and gas interests and to target environmental NGOs suspected of deliberately exacerbating mining conflicts. The GOP defended the proposed law. In addition to assuring transparency, officials argued, the proposed legislation targets illicit groups, such as narco-traffickers and terrorist organizations. One official claimed the bill was not put forward by the government party (APRA), but said it sought to ensure the activities of NGOs in Peru did not harm national interests. Venezuela: Venezuela has between 4,000 and 5,000 NGOs, including President Chavez' own partisan support groups. All foreign donations are disclosed on annual tax statements to the Government of Venezuela (GOV). Though aware of all activities, personnel and funding sources, the GOV claims that NGOs which receive American financial assistance have a clandestine purpose to advance the interests of the USG. Government efforts to interfere with NGO donations or limit their freedom to communicate or receive funding hurts the NGOs' ability to educate voters, promote balanced, nonpartisan institutions and services, conduct advocacy for special-interest groups, and enrich public discourse. In today's Venezuela, media outlets self-censor to keep their licenses from being revoked. Meanwhile, a rubber-stamp National Assembly bows to Chavez's wishes. Staff visit was heavily focused on deep concern regarding the proposed International Cooperation Law and harassment facing certain NGOs. The proposed law could increase existing regulation of NGOs, both local and international. Civil society would be subject to considerable restrictions, with government allowed to interfere in their activities and funding sources. While the GOV has the right to regulate institutions operating within its country, the text of the proposed bill is ambiguous, leaving ample room for further restrictions at the government's discretion. An alarming aspect of the bill is the proposal for a Fund for International Cooperation and Assistance. It is unclear whether funds received by civil society would end up being managed by the government through this fund. The bill also requires all organizations to register with the government, and its scope would be defined directly by the Presidency under a regulation outside of legislative procedure. In meetings with human rights NGOs, staff primarily discussed the obstacles the proposed International Cooperation Law would present to the NGOs' continued operation. The proposed international cooperation agency, whose ostensible purpose would be to catalog foreign investment in NGO operations, would, in fact, be able to regulate and exercise decisionmaking authority, staff was told. One NGO representative said that most NGOs would not be opposed in principle to some sort of government clearinghouse requiring disclosure of finances. What was objectionable was the concept of having to reregister with the GOV as a civil society entity and be subjected to programmatic scrutiny. Efforts to force NGOs to ``reregister'' their existence would likely lead to GOV stalling tactics, forcing extant NGOs to operate underground. This eventuality would provide the GOV a pretext to say certain NGOs are operating illegally, since they were not properly registered. Regarding foreign assistance, NGO representatives stated that the current regime has made receiving any assistance very difficult. ``They either physically harass you or accuse you of treason.'' Representatives agreed that the best form of assistance would be to help push other diplomatic missions to become more involved. One representative emphasized that a regional (Latin America wide) effort was needed. In meetings with an academic who is in the spotlight due to opposition to many government policy initiatives, notably changes to the law on higher education, staff learned that the original impetus for the NGO law was the elimination of electoral NGO Sumate, the election watchdog which led an unsuccessful recall drive against Chavez. He has called the group's leaders ``conspirators, coup plotters and lackeys of the U.S. Government.'' The professor said, ``With Chavez, if one NGO is bad, all are bad. There is no gray, everything is black or white.'' When staff asked NGO representatives to describe their current standing in front of the Chavez administration, one representative answered, ``endangered''; another replied, ``threatened.'' Another prominent human rights NGO representative told staff about the ongoing personal harassment members of his organization face at the hands of the GOV, including threats of bodily harm. He explained that the GOV is accusing them of fabricating the threats and is trying to get Venezuelan courts to overturn the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ruling that the GOV must provide protective detail for them. Staff was scheduled to meet with the Movimiento Quinta Revolucion (MVR) \9\ National Assembly Deputy Saul Ortega, Chair of the Assembly's Foreign Relations Committee, to discuss the proposed ``international cooperation'' law. Ortega arrived late for the meeting due to traffic issues, just as staff and Ambassador were departing. In the interim, staff had a productive discussion with senior National Assembly staffers involved in the drafting and floor management of the draft law. The Assembly staffers indicated that the bill would not be passed until after the December 3 Presidential elections. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \9\ Movimiento Quinta Republica (MVR--Fifth Republic Movement) is the political party founded by President Chavez. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ortega's staff said that the government was concerned that it did not know what NGOs were doing and emphasized the need for the government to ``control and monitor'' NGO activities. They indicated the law was modeled after a Spanish NGO law and was intended to improve international cooperation, not to attack NGOs. The Ortega staffer claimed that elements of the bill had been misinterpreted. One of the bill's articles (article 10), creating a government fund to aid cooperation that organizations could contribute to, would not, as the press had reported, require all funds to pass through it, he said. Ortega staff again emphasized the importance of having a registry so that NGOs can be tracked and monitored. The government would not control the transfers of money to registered NGOs, he said, but the process of moving money would be transparent and reported. APPENDIX IV ----------
APPENDIX V ---------- Idea to Reality: A Brief History of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) BY DAVID LOWE (1) The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was launched in the early 1980s, premised on the idea that American assistance on behalf of democracy efforts abroad would be good both for the U.S. and for those struggling around the world for freedom and self-government. This paper offers a brief history of the Endowment, including the events and circumstances that led to its creation, its early legislative battles, more recent legislative success, institutional growth and innovation, and its efforts to help bring democracy foundations into existence in other countries. Although the U.S. experience is undoubtedly unique, the model of a non-governmental organization that receives public funding to carry out democracy initiatives should be considered by other countries that appreciate the benefits of participating in this significant worldwide movement. The desire of Americans to share with other countries the ideas that helped bring about their own successful democratic transition dates almost as far back as the country's founding over two centuries ago. As Seymour Martin Lipset has pointed out, throughout American history democratic activists abroad as diverse as Lafayette, Kossuth, Garibaldi and Sun Yat Sen have looked to the U.S. as a source of both ideological and material assistance. (2) Much of the pioneering work in the area of political assistance has been carried out by the American labor movement, which was active in international affairs before the turn of the 20th century. Origins In the aftermath of World War II, faced with threats to our democratic allies and without any mechanism to channel political assistance, U.S. policy makers resorted to covert means, secretly sending advisers, equipment, and funds to support newspapers and parties under siege in Europe. When it was revealed in the late 1960's that some American PVO's were receiving covert funding from the CIA to wage the battle of ideas at international forums, the Johnson Administration concluded that such funding should cease, recommending establishment of ``a public-private mechanism'' to fund overseas activities openly. On Capitol Hill, Congressman Dante Fascell (D, FL) introduced a bill in April, 1967 to create an Institute of International Affairs, an initiative that would authorize overt funding for programs to promote democratic values. Although the bill did not succeed, it helped lead to discussions within the Administration and on Capitol Hill concerning how to develop new approaches to the ideological competition then taking place between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Interest in American involvement in the promotion of human rights was intensified during the Administration of President Jimmy Carter, who made it a central component of American foreign policy. In the late 1970's America became committed to the process of monitoring the Helsinki accords, especially that ``basket'' dealing with human rights. In 1978 Congressmen Fascell and Donald Fraser (D, MN) proposed a ``QUANGO'' (i.e, quasi-autonomous non-governmental organization) whose mission would be the advancement of human rights. The bill they introduced would have created an Institute for Human Rights and Freedom to furnish technical and financial assistance to nongovernmental organizations that promote human rights abroad. By the late 70's, there was an important model for democracy assistance: the German Federal Republic's party foundations, created after World War II to help rebuild Germany's democratic institutions destroyed a generation earlier by the Nazis. These foundations (known as ``Stiftungen''), each aligned with one of the four German political parties, received funding from the West German treasury. In the 1960's they began assisting their ideological counterparts abroad, and by the mid-70's were playing an important role in both of the democratic transitions taking place on the Iberian Peninsula. Late in 1977, Washington political consultant George Agree, citing the important work being carried out by the Stiftungen, proposed creation of a foundation to promote communication and understanding between the two major U.S. political parties and other parties around the world. Headed by U.S. Trade Representative William Brock, a former Republican National Committee Chairman, and Charles Manatt, then serving as Democratic National Committee Chairman, by 1980 the American Political Foundation had established an office in Washington, D.C. from which it provided briefings, appointments, and other assistance to foreign party, parliamentary, and academic visitors to the U.S. Two years later, in one of his major foreign policy addresses, President Reagan proposed an initiative ``to foster the infrastructure of democracy--the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities--which allows a people to choose their own way, to develop their own culture, to reconcile their own differences through peaceful means.'' He noted that the American Political Foundation would soon begin a study ``to determine how the U.S. can best contribute--as a nation--to the global campaign for democracy now gathering force.'' Delivered to a packed Parliamentary chamber in Britain's Westminster Palace, the Reagan speech would prove to be one of the central contributions to the establishment of a U.S. democracy foundation. The American Political Foundation's study was funded by a $300,000 grant from the Agency for International Development(AID) and it became known as ``The Democracy Program.'' Its executive board consisted of a broad cross- section of participants in American politics and foreign policy making. The Democracy Program recommended establishment of a bipartisan, private, non-profit corporation to be known as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The Endowment, though non-governmental, would be funded primarily through annual appropriations and subject to congressional oversight. NED, in turn, would act as a grant-making foundation, distributing funds to private organizations for the purpose of promoting democracy abroad. These private organizations would include those created by the two political parties and the business community, which would join the regional international institutes of the labor movement already in existence. Legislative Action The House Foreign Affairs Committee included a two-year authorization for the proposed National Endowment for Democracy at an annual level of $31.3 million as part of the FY 84/85 State Department Authorization Act (H.R. 2915). The Reagan Administration had originally proposed a larger ($65 million) democracy promotion initiative to be known as ``Project Democracy'' and coordinated directly by the United States Information Agency (USIA). When the Foreign Affairs Committee reported out H.R. 2915, it did not include funding for ``Project Democracy,'' making clear its preference for the non- governmental Endowment concept. The Administration then voiced support for the creation of NED. The legislation, which was included in the authorization bill for the State Department and USIA, spelled out the following six purposes of the proposed Endowment: encouraging democratic institutions through private sector initiatives; facilitating exchanges between private sector groups (particularly the four proposed Institutes) and democratic groups abroad; promoting nongovernmental participation in democratic training programs; strengthening democratic electoral processes abroad in cooperation with indigenous democratic forces; fostering cooperation between American private sector groups and those abroad ``dedicated to the cultural values, institutions, and organizations of democratic pluralism''; and encouraging democratic development consistent with the interests of both the U.S. and the groups receiving assistance. The bill spelled out the procedures by which the funding would flow from USIA to NED and the mechanisms for insuring financial accountability. (3) Included in the legislation were earmarks of $13.8 million for the Free Trade Union Institute, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO incorporated in 1978 that would serve as an umbrella for labor's regional bodies operating in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe; $2.5 million for the proposed affiliate of the National U.S. Chamber Foundation; and $5 million for each of the two proposed party institutes. When the authorizing legislation for the Endowment reached the floor of the House, an effort to eliminate all of its funding as proposed by the Foreign Affairs Committee failed by a small margin. Nonetheless, the idea of providing funding for party entities remained a concern for many members. Congressman Hank Brown (R, CO), who had sponsored the earlier amendment, was able to exploit those concerns by proposing that the section of Title VI providing earmarked funding for these party institutes be eliminated. This amendment was passed by a vote of 267-136. Describing the proposed Endowment as ``an idea whose time has come,'' the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Charles Percy (R,IL), introduced NED's authorization on the floor of the Senate three months after the House vote. Percy, who had participated in some of the discussions of the ``Democracy Program,'' expressed his conviction that the legislation was ``arguably the most important single U.S. foreign policy initiative of this generation.'' On September 22, 1983, the Senate rejected by a vote of 42-49 an amendment by Senators Zorinsky (D, NE) and Helms (R, NC) to strike the authorization for the Endowment. (4) The conference report on H.R. 2915 was adopted by the House on November 17, 1983 and the Senate the following day. On the one major substantive issue on which the two Houses differed, the conferees agreed to maintain the House's deletion of the earmarks for the party institutes, but pointed out that this was ``without prejudice to their receipt of funds from the Endowment.'' Getting Organized On the day the Senate approved the conference report, articles of incorporation were filed in the District of Columbia on behalf of the National Endowment for Democracy. The Endowment was established as a nonprofit organization under section 501c (3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code. NED's original Board of Directors, limited to three three- year terms of service, included party activists, representatives of the U.S. labor, business and education communities, foreign policy specialists, and two members of Congress. Following a brief stint by Congressman Fascell as acting chairman, the Endowment appointed as its first permanent Chairman John Richardson, a former Assistant Secretary of State with many years of involvement in private organizations involved in international affairs. For President, the Board chose Carl Gershman, previously the Senior Counselor to the U.S. Representative to the United Nations. NED's creation was soon followed by establishment of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), and the National Republican Institute for International Affairs (later renamed the International Republican Institute or ``IRI''), which joined the Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI) as the four affiliated institutions of the Endowment. (FTUI was later reorganized as the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, also known as the ``Solidarity Center.'') This structure had been recommended by the Democracy Program for three basic reasons: first, because of the wide recognition of the parent bodies of these new entities as national institutions with a public character, an important asset for this non-governmental foundation; second, because they represent sectors of political life fundamental to any strong democracy; and third, to insure political balance. The Endowment would serve as the umbrella organization through which these four groups and an expanding number of other private sector groups would receive funding to carry out programs abroad. Although the original authorized level for NED was $31.3 million, its appropriation was later set well below this level at $18 million, reflecting in part the fact that the new institution would not be fully organized until well into the year. As President Gershman would later point out in congressional testimony, the Endowment devoted considerable attention in its early months to the task of putting into place ``sound administrative, financial, and reporting procedures.'' A procedures manual that included grant guidelines and selection criteria for grants was approved, and a Statement of Principles and Objectives adopted. Because the Endowment had been funded at less than 60 percent of the authorized level, the Board decided to allocate less than the full earmarked amounts to the labor and business Institutes. This would enable it to fulfill that part of the NED Act mandating that grants be made to other private sector groups as well. (5) During the consideration of the appropriation for NED's second year held in May, 1984, the Endowment's opponents went on the offensive and persuaded the House to eliminate all funding for it. (6) A similar effort failed in the Senate, which then voted to reduce the proposed $31.3 million level by $10 million and to explicitly prohibit the party Institutes from receiving any of this amount. The conference committee agreed to a funding level of $18.5 million and maintained the ban on funding the party Institutes. NED's appropriation was not to reach the original authorized level for another 10 years. Reauthorization The second NED authorization for FY 86 and 87 set a ceiling of $18.4 million and the final version contained neither earmarks nor prohibition on funding the party Institutes. Additional language was added to the NED Act that: 1) codified the Board's prohibition on the use of funds for partisan political purposes, including funding for national party operations; 2) mandated that NED grantees consult with the State Department (which would continue to have no veto over grants) prior to commencement of program activities; 3) moved the required date of reporting to the Congress on all grants from December 31 to February 1; 4) required that the Endowment, despite its nongovernmental status, comply fully with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act; and 5) made all financial transactions of the Endowment for each fiscal year subject to a possible USIA audit. (This section was amended in a subsequent authorization to require such audits.) Since the issuing of the conference report for the second reauthorization covering FY 86 and 87, Congress has not included earmarks in any NED-related legislation. A provision in the Foreign Relations Act of 1995 recommended equal funding of the four institutes and a capping of the total amount reserved for them at 55% of the appropriated amount. (7) At several points in NED's budget process, legislative report language has recognized the importance of the Endowment's discretionary program of grants to indigenous groups working in such areas as human rights, independent media, civic education, and strengthening democratic culture and values. For example, the FY87 conference report on NED's appropriation directed that not less than 25% of the program dollars (i.e., the total appropriation less the amount spent on administration) be used for discretionary grants. And when Congress appropriated a $5 million increase in FY 94, conference report language instructed the Board to use the increment to enhance the discretionary program. (8) From time to time Congress has provided special appropriations to the Endowment to carry out specific democratic initiatives in countries of special interest, including Poland (through the trade union Solidarity), Chile, Nicaragua, Eastern Europe (to aid in the democratic transition following the demise of the Soviet bloc), South Africa, Burma, China, Tibet, North Korea and the Balkans. With the latter, NED supported a number of civic groups, including those that played a key role in Serbia's electoral breakthrough in the fall of 2000. More recently, following 9/11 and the NED Board's adoption of its third strategic document, special funding has been provided for countries with substantial Muslim populations in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Although the Foreign Relations Act of 1992 declared it to be the sense of the Congress that the Endowment supplement its congressional appropriation with funding from the private sector, Congress has rejected any requirement that NED's grantees raise matching funds. It did, in the FY 93/94 authorization, ask the Administration to study the desirability of such a requirement, a notion that was strongly rejected. The argument made by Hank Brown (who had moved from the House to the Senate) that NED's founders intended for its original funding to serve as ``seed money'' that would enable it to become fully privatized was researched by the Congressional Research Service and found to be without any foundation. (9) In FY93, the Endowment began compiling an annual report of cash and in-kind contributions raised by all of its grantees to supplement their NED funding. The report for FY 99 indicated that for every program dollar spent from NED's congressional appropriation, its grantees raised over $.65 in ``counterpart resources.'' Congressional Support NED's congressional support has grown steadily during its first twenty years. From the early days of close and frequent votes on its authorizing and appropriating legislation, it has moved beyond survival to widespread bipartisan endorsement on the Hill. In fact, identical Senate and House resolutions (S. Con Res 66; H. Con Res 274) commending the National Endowment for Democracy ``for its major contributions to the strengthening of democracy around the world on the occasion of the 20th anniversary'' of its establishment, and endeavoring ``to continue to support [its] vital work'' were passed in October, 2003. The Senate resolution was passed by unanimous voice vote; the House resolution sailed through on a roll call vote of 391-1. Both resolutions had strong, bipartisan co- sponsorship. (10) These votes were a reflection of how far the Endowment had come over the years in establishing not only its legitimacy but also the widespread bipartisan approval of its work. But the road had not always been a smooth one. Apart from the tenuous situation the Endowment faced following the successful floor amendment by its House opponents in 1984, its closest call came in the summer of 1993. Responding to a recommendation of the new (Clinton) Administration, the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved an increase in NED's authorized level from $30 to $48 million. But the relatively large percentage increase, combined with the infusion of large numbers of freshmen in both parties committed to deficit reduction, put the Endowment's supporters on the defensive. On June 20, 1993, an amendment to kill the authorization sponsored by Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D, PA) succeeded by a vote of 243-181. However, the following month the Senate voted by a solid 74-23 margin for a somewhat scaled down increase (to $35 million), a vote that was later affirmed by the House (259- 172), thereby reversing its earlier position. The most recent vote on the Endowment's appropriation in the House came in June, 1994 after the Appropriations Committee had recommended--for budgetary reasons--a slight decrease in NED's budget to $33 million. An amendment by Congressman Joel Hefly (R, CO) to eliminate all funding was defeated by a vote of 89-317. (11) In July, 1997, the Senate overwhelmingly repudiated the recommendation of its Appropriations Committee that NED not be funded in FY 98. The Appropriations Committee was following the lead of Senator Judd Gregg (R, NH), one of the early critics of NED when he was in the House, who had ascended to the chairmanship of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Endowment at the end of 1995. On a vote of 72-27, NED supporters overcame a number of procedural obstacles that face any effort by supporters on the Senate floor to restore a funding cut in committee. Two years later, when the subcommittee tried again to eliminate NED's funding, the action was reversed on a voice vote on the Senate floor. This followed a spirited defense of the Endowment's work by Senator Richard Lugar (R, IN), a member of the NED Board, who appealed to his colleagues ``to stand up and be counted on whether they feel passionately, as I do, and I think many of us do, about democracy and human rights and what can be done about it effectively.'' Prior to the vote, a ``Dear Colleague'' letter calling for a restoration of funding had been signed by nearly half the Senate. The vote in 1999 marked the last time the Endowment's appropriation was debated on the Senate floor. Since 9/11, previous critics, including Senator Gregg, have come to understand the Endowment's work in the context of critical national security issues, a topic that forms the basis of the Board's third strategic plan adopted at the end of 2001. In 2003, the core appropriation exceeded $40 million for the first time. In addition, special funding for congressionally mandated countries and regions (see above) totaled over $10 million. The early opposition to the Endowment on the Hill tended to focus on four basic factors: 1) its structure; 2) its independence; 3) its purported redundancy, and 4) its mission. (12) Structure From the original congressional consideration of NED, the Endowment's relationship with the four core groups that played a role in its founding became a central focus of the funding debate. Even some who favored the Endowment's program questioned why--contrary to American political tradition-- organizations affiliated with America's two political parties should receive federal funding. And ideological opponents of labor and business also weighed in against the funding arrangement. (13) Some of the debate over NED's structure in the beginning related to the composition of the Endowment's Board of Directors, which originally included representatives of the four Institutes. But this argument became moot by the beginning of 1993, at which time an entirely new set of directors had replaced the original Board as the result of the term limits provision written into the Endowment's by-laws. (Because the turnover was staggered, new Board members began taking their seats in FY 1990.) The new group of Board members was carefully balanced in terms of party and ideology, but they were not representing the Institutes and, except in a few cases, were not closely linked to any of them. Indeed, by the time Congress amended the NED Act in 1992 to preclude anyone from serving on the NED Board who was in the leadership of any organization receiving more than five percent of the Endowment's program funds, the provision no longer had any particular relevance. Two other arguments related to the Institutes have been advanced: first, that these are ``special interests'' that can and should be funded privately, and second, that they receive Endowment funding on a ``non-competitive'' basis. The first argument tends to ignore the independence of these groups from their better known parent organizations and the fact that, like the Endowment itself, their work serves America's national interest. The charge about the lack of competitiveness is based upon a fundamental misunderstanding about how the Endowment operates. It is true that the Institutes are given target allocations to help them plan a worldwide program on an annual basis. But the criticism often overlooks the fact that the Endowment's independent Board has to review and vote on all Institute projects, which are subject to the same oversight procedures as those that affect all other grantees. In fact, the entire concept of ``competitiveness,'' as applied to NED's relationship with the Institutes, is misguided. The Endowment does not operate by deciding what democracy projects should be funded and then sending out requests for proposals. Rather, it responds to the needs of democratic groups abroad and funds those requests that fit into its program priorities. Surely it is difficult to quarrel with the strong track record established by Institute programs in countries as diverse as Poland, Peru, Bulgaria, the Philippines, Chile, South Africa, Mexico, and the former Yugoslavia. Independence NED's authorizing legislation spells out its non- governmental status, namely that ``Nothing in this title shall be construed to make the Endowment an agency or establishment of the United States Government.'' (14) Board members are not selected by the President and those who are appointed to serve in the Executive Branch relinquish their Board membership. It is sometimes contended that without this official status, the Endowment lacks accountability. This charge overlooks the fact that NED is answerable to a wide array of overseers in both the Executive and Legislative Branches. As Senator Percy remarked when introducing the original NED legislation in the Senate, ``The Endowment will come under continuous and extensive scrutiny in the appropriate committees of both Houses of Congress. The additional provisions for GAO oversight, as well as the terms of the USIA grant agreement under which it will function, assure a convergence of oversight procedures virtually unique among grantees of federal funds.'' (15) NED's non-governmental status has a number of advantages (see below) that are recognized by those institutions that really do carry out American foreign policy. As pointed out in a letter signed by seven former Secretaries of State in 1995, ``We consider the non-governmental character of the NED even more relevant than it was at NED's founding twelve years ago.'' (16) NED frequently consults with relevant policy makers about its work, going well beyond the level of contact required by its authorizing legislation. Redundancy The charge that NED is no longer needed since the American government has its own democracy promoting capability through AID and other agencies ignores the reality that its work is of a vastly different character from these official institutions. Much of this difference stems from NED's independence, which gives it an ability to work in situations that official bodies (justifiably) avoid, but also its non-bureaucratic character, which enables it to move quickly in rapidly changing situations. A good example is the West Bank, where both Institute and discretionary programs were on the ground shortly following the signing of the Middle East peace accords in Washington in 1993. A number of studies have shown the redundancy argument to be without merit. One was commissioned by Congress in the FY 94/95 State/USIA authorization, which requested the Administration to conduct an inventory of democracy funded programs and to identify areas of duplication. The resulting report to the Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee submitted by the State Department highlighted the comparative advantages to the different approaches and orientations of those agencies and organizations receiving federal funding. (17) A similar request to GAO by members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in April 1992 led to a long review process that ended in June, 1996, when the leadership of GAO concluded that it was not necessary to make any recommendations to the Hill vis-a-vis the current structure of democracy-funded programs. GAO's conclusion was based in part on the results of a study by AID and NED staff of every democracy-related grant awarded by each institution in FY 1994. The review indicated that the programs of NED and AID are not duplicative but complementary, and spelled out various procedures that have been implemented to insure that the two organizations continue to share information about their projects. (18) Left/Right Opposition NED's very mission, particularly in its early days, was challenged on ideological grounds. Opponents on the far left believed that promoting democracy was tantamount to interfering in the internal affairs of other countries in the service of U.S. foreign policy interests. Although a few antagonists continue on occasion to voice opposition, their numbers have dwindled, particularly with changes after the Cold War in attitudes on the left toward U.S. internationalism. More significant opposition to the Endowment was voiced in the early years by some elements of the human rights community, who occasionally mischaracterized NED's natural interest in free and fair elections as its sole focus, while arguing that such elections do not necessarily guarantee the protection of basic rights. NED's programmatic emphasis on long-term democratic development, the building of civil society, and funding indigenous human rights groups has won over many of these early critics, and in fact has led to a substantial coalescence of interest between NED and the human rights community. Within certain elements of the right, there have been allegations from time to time that the Endowment is promoting a ``social democratic'' agenda. These are based largely upon the prominent role played by the labor movement, as well as the social democratic background of NED's President. (19) Nonetheless, over the years mainstream conservative activists and thinkers have been among the most outspoken advocates on behalf of the Endowment. Endorsements of NED have been offered by the leadership of such stalwart conservative organizations as the Heritage Foundation and Empower America, and favorable editorials have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times and National Review. Strategic Planning A 1991 GAO report recommended that the Endowment adopt a more systematic approach to planning program objectives and assessing program results by identifying more specific and measurable goals and priorities. In response, the Endowment's Board adopted a number of new procedures, including the development of target funding goals for each country in its annual planning document; the hiring of an evaluation specialist to work with grantees in drawing up evaluation plans for each project and to commission independent evaluations by outside experts; and the drafting of strategic plans to focus on long range goals and objectives. The first strategic plan, drafted by the Board in 1992, was designed as a blueprint for program activity over the next five years. In it the Board sought to address two key issues: first, what role the Endowment should play in a post-Cold War world, and second, how to address the fact that the U.S. Government, primarily through AID, had entered the field of democracy promotion. The Board recommended that the Endowment play to its strengths, i.e. take advantage of those institutional features that set it apart from others moving into the democracy field: its status as a non-governmental organization, its ``multi- sectoral'' character; and its role as an organization whose sole mission is to promote democracy. As a non-governmental organization, it could provide political assistance to democratic forces in repressive or other sensitive political situations where U.S. Government support, even where channeled through intermediary institutions that were non-governmental, would be diplomatically or politically unfeasible. With its special relationship with the four Institutes and its discretionary grants, it could provide a ``full package'' response to the complex needs of emerging democracies. And as an institution whose sole mission is to promote democracy, the Endowment could serve as a center of democratic activity, bridging the gap between activists and students of democracy. (20) The latter role had been served by a biennial global conference of democratic activists, many of them Endowment grantees, which was begun in 1987. It was also highlighted by publication of the quarterly Journal of Democracy, whose first issue appeared in January 1990. The Journal's editorial Board consisted of the leading thinkers on democracy in the world, and it quickly established itself as the major publication for examining the central issues related to democratic ideas and institutions. From the outset, the Journal's funding came primarily from private sources. In implementing the third pillar of the strategy document, a subcommittee of the Board (which included both NED and Journal Board members) proposed establishment of a forum for bringing together scholars and practitioners on a regular basis and for developing a data base for democratic projects around the world. The plan received a strong endorsement from USIA as well as approval from GAO, which noted in a ruling that the forum idea was fully consistent with the Endowment's authorizing legislation inasmuch as it would serve not as a ``program'' but rather an important function that would ultimately strengthen the grants program. (21) Since its creation in 1994, the International Forum for Democratic Studies has become an important center for analysis of the theory and practice of democratic development worldwide. Although it is part of the Endowment structure and receives some funding from the NED appropriation, most of its budget has been provided by private foundations, which have helped fund the Democracy Resource Center, a variety of research conferences on democratic themes, and a small fellowship program. The Forum also encompasses the Journal of Democracy, now published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and has produced a diverse array of democracy-related books based upon Journal articles and the papers presented at the Forum's research conferences. In 2001, the Endowment, with funds authorized by Congress and provided by the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, established the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program, which provides support annually for a dozen or so democracy activists, practitioners, scholars and journalists from around the world to deepen their understanding of democracy and to enhance their ability to promote democratic change. The Endowment's Board of Directors adopted a second strategic plan at the beginning of 1997. With its federally funded budget dropping in FY 96 to $30 million and frozen for the foreseeable future, the Board chose to emphasize how the Endowment could maximize its impact during a time of fiscal austerity: first, by expanding programs that promote cross- border and intra-regional activity among grantees (such as the highly successful NED-funded ``East to East'' programs in the former Soviet Bloc); second, by integrating networks of grantees to maximize their impact within countries such as China and Burma, and third, by encouraging the growth of new counterpart organizations. (22) Counterpart Institutions Five years after the creation of NED, the Canadian Parliament established the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, which became operational two years later from its headquarters in Montreal. During the planning phase for the new Centre, members of a Parliamentary task force consulted with the leadership of NED. In 1992, the Westminster Foundation was established in Great Britain. More than the Canadian Centre, it used NED as a model, with a portion of its grants set aside for programs administered by party affiliated organizations. (23) But there are differences with NED as well, since the Foundation does not fund programs that have a business orientation (such as those operated by the Center for International Enterprise) and has more of a quasi-governmental character through its relationship with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Foundation's grants have been heavily concentrated in Eastern Europe (where Canada's Centre does not operate) and former Commonwealth countries. In report language accompanying the Endowment's FY 93 appropriation, the Appropriations Committee recognized the existence of democracy promotion foundations in Germany, Canada, and Great Britain and recommended that NED consider convening a ``democracy summit'' to review issues of mutual concern. The Endowment took up the suggestion, convening a group of foundation representatives in February, 1993 at Airlie House outside of Washington, D.C. The group has expanded since that time to include foundations in other European countries (several related to political parties) and Australia. Since the initial meeting convened by NED, the group has met subsequently in Germany, England, Canada, and, most recently (2003), in France. Working with Taiwan's Institute for National Policy Research, with whom the International Forum co-sponsored a research conference in 1995 on ``Consolidating the Third Wave Democracies,'' NED convened a meeting in Taipei in October, 1997 to promote the concept of establishing new democracy foundations. Some twenty countries were represented at the meeting. In November, 2002, the Endowment was invited by a consortium of three Japanese organizations, the Committee to Aid Democracy for Peacebuilding (ADP), the Diet League to Aid Democracy for Peacebuilding, and the Ozaki Yukio Memorial Foundation to participate with other democracy foundations and local NGOs in a two-day conference seminar in the Diet on establishing a Japanese foundation. And, in June, 2003, following a period of consultation with NED, Taiwan launched the Taiwan Democracy Foundation, which has the strong endorsement of President Chen Shui Bien. A related development that emerged from NED's efforts to stimulate international cooperation in the promotion of democracy has been the creation of the World Movement for Democracy. The Movement is a ``network of networks'' that connects and unites people and organizations around the world who are working on a daily basis to promote democratic values and build and strengthen democratic institutions in their respective countries. The Movement, for which NED serves as the secretariat, is directed by an international Steering Committee of distinguished democratic activists and thinkers. It has held four World Assemblies funded largely outside of NED's congressional appropriation: New Delhi, India in 1999; Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2000; Durban, South Africa in 2004; and Istanbul, Turkey in April, 2006. Conclusion To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of NED's establishment, the Board of Directors issued an invitation to President George W. Bush to make a major statement about democracy. In his address, one of the most significant of his Presidency, he articulated his vision of a more democratic Middle East, the one region of the world where democracy has failed to take hold. Much of his speech echoed one of the major themes of the Endowment's third strategy document, which calls for promoting democratic institutions and values in the Muslim World, while maintaining NED's global grants program. The National Endowment for Democracy has grown from a simple but powerful idea into a multi-faceted institution with a wide-ranging program, solid bipartisan support, and an ambitious agenda. In the President's 20th anniversary address, he paused to pay tribute to the Endowment, its staff, directors, and global program: By spending for and standing for freedom, you've lifted the hopes of people around the world, and you've brought great credit to America. Notes 1. Vice President, Government and External Relations, National Endowment for Democracy 2. Seymour Martin Lipset, ``Democratic Linkage and American Aid,'' The Washington Times, June 11, 1995. 3. The question of whether NED was financially accountable to USIA was not resolved until 1985, when the GAO ruled that the agency did have financial (but not programmatic) oversight over the Endowment. 4. Congressional Record, September 22, 1983, pp. 12703-22. Interestingly, a number of those Senators voting for the amendment would eventually become strong supporters: Biden, Domenici, Kassebaum, Murkowski, Roth, Rudman, Simpson and Wallop. 5. The General Accounting Office, while finding this action ``understandable,'' subsequently ruled that the earmarks should nonetheless have been followed. It recommended no retroactive corrective measures. 6. The vote was influenced by a New York Times article published three days before the vote reporting that some funding from the labor institute had been used in the Presidential election in Panama. NED's Statement of Principles and Objectives, adopted later that year, asserts that ``No Endowment funds may be used to finance the campaigns of candidates for public office.'' 7. Although the bill was vetoed by President Clinton (for reasons unrelated to NED) and did not become law, the Board decided to follow its provision regarding equalization of the target figures for the four Institutes. This policy has been maintained since then.The proportion of funding reserved for Institute projects is currently at the 55% maximum contained in both the 1995 and 1997 State Department authorization bills. 8. In doing so, the committee cited the fact that some of the Institutes had begun to receive substantial amounts of funding from AID. See Conference Report to accompany H.R. 2519, October 14, 1996, p. 105. 9. ``National Endowment for Democracy: Policy and Funding Issues,'' Congressional Research Service, August 2, 1996, p. 5. 10. In the Senate: Frist, Daschle, Lugar, Biden, Graham, Bayh, Kyl, Hatch, Leahy, Hagel, Levin, McCain, McConnell, and Sarbanes; In the House: Hyde, Lantos, Cox, Payne, Berman, Bereuter, Cardin, Chabot, Crowley, Diaz-Balart, Dreier, Engel, Gallegly, (Mark) Green, Houghton, (Patrick) Kennedy, Kingston, Kirk, Lowey, Meeks, Menendez, Napolitano, Pitts, Rohrabacher, Ros-Lehtinen, Royce, (Christopher) Smith, and Ackerman. 11. A conference committee restored $1 million of the $2 million cut from the appropriation. 12. A fifth issue that is often raised when the Endowment is debated is the cost to the U.S. treasury. Given the modest size of the NED budget, it is clear that this ``issue'' is used tactically by critics to increase support among so-called ``deficit hawks'' and is not what stimulates them to take up the cause. 13. This has been mitigated somewhat on the right by the AFL-CIO's strong anti-Communist orientation in its international work. The other aspect of the early criticism of the Endowment's funding of the labor institute was its disproportionate allocation vis-a-vis the other core grantees prior to 1995. Many of those making this criticism were unaware of the fact that it was a congressional earmark that created the original imbalance. 14. 22 USC 4412, Sec. 503 (c). 15. Congressional Record, September 22, 1983. P. 12714. 16. The seven were James Baker, Laurence Eagleburger, George Shultz, Alexander Haig, Henry Kissenger, Edmund Muskie and Cyrus Vance. 17. See ``Democracy Promotion Programs Funded by the U.S. Government,'' A Report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. Congress, as requested in P.L. 103-236, Section 534. 18. See ``A Review of Democracy Programs Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the National Endowment for Democracy,'' March 1, 1996. 19. See ``Paying Big Labor to Export its Agenda,'' Insight, July 12, 1992. 20. National Endowment for Democracy, ``Strategy Document,'' January 1992, pp.6-12. 21. General Accounting Office, Decision B-248111, September 9, 1992. 22. National Endowment for Democracy, ``Promoting Democracy in a Time of Austerity: NED's Strategy for 1997 and Beyond.'' 23. Before the Foundation became fully operational, NED hosted a series of meetings for its acting Executive Director and a founding Board member in Washington, where they were familiarized with the Endowment's structure and procedures. The two organizations have maintained a close relationship since that time.