Inter-American Foundation

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The Inter-American Foundation (IAF), "established in 1969 through an act of Congress to support international development by funding community-based projects" [1] during the administration of Richard M. Nixon, was "created as an experimental U.S. foreign assistance program." [2] (See 22 U.S.C. 290f.)

The IAF was co-founded by Augustin S. Hart, Jr., former vice-chairman of the Quaker Oats Company and an "early authority on Latin America, [who had] served on the Business Advisory Council's (web) Latin America committee from 1950-58", who also served as IAF Chairman 1970-1978. [3] William Dyal, Jr., who co-founded IAF with Hart, served as the founding president. [4][5] Rep. Dante Fascell (D-Fla.), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, was "the presiding figure behind the IAF’s founding." [6]

"Between 1972 and 2002, the IAF approved more than 4,400 grants totaling $538 million to support more than 3,500 organizations." [7] According to a February 2006 IAF news release, since 1969, "the Inter-American Foundation has awarded 4,578 grants worth more than $586 million." [8]

The IAF is "an independent agency of the United States government that provides grants to nongovernmental and community-based organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean for innovative, sustainable and participatory self-help programs. The IAF primarily funds partnerships among grassroots and nonprofit organizations, businesses and local governments, directed at improving the quality of life of poor people and strengthening participation, accountability and democratic practices. To contribute to a better understanding of the development process, the IAF also shares its experiences and the lessons it has learned," its website states. [9]

Grassroots Development Journal is the journal of the Inter-American Foundation.


During the Reagan (Iran-Contra) era

Projects Funded

In 2006, Formación Solidaria (FORMASOL) in Bolivia received $140,348 (over two years) to "strengthen radio programs for 20,000 indigenous Chiquitanos and Guarayos, offer workshops for 42 community leaders, and develop a Web site, all directed at promoting broader awareness of indigenous rights, enhancing technical skills and building a democratic culture." [10]

Funding

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) reported in 1984 that IAF received "half of its funds from Congress," the other half coming from the Inter-American Development Bank. In "recent years", the IAF "disbursed an average of $20 million annually to projects throughout Latin America." [11]

"Congress annually appropriates funds for use by the IAF pursuant to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1969, as amended. The IAF’s other primary funding source is the Social Progress Trust Fund administered by the Inter-American Development Bank and consisting of repayments of loans originally made by the U.S. government under the Alliance for Progress to various Latin American and Caribbean governments," according to the IAF. [12]

The IAF "enjoys a fat income, officially supplied by the Cuban-American lobby created 15 years ago by Ronald Reagan, president at the time," Gabriel Molina wrote May 22, 2001, for Digital Granma Internacional (Cuba).

In September 2005, Bryan Zepp Jamieson, writing about the "major budget revisions" being made by the Republican Study Committee, said:

"America already has a reputation for being the chintziest rich bastards in the world when it comes to foreign aid, and let’s face it, with this administration it’s not like America is making any friends anyway, so the Committee went after it in a big way, freezing funds for peacekeeping operations, Global AIDS Initiatives, the Inter-American Foundation, the African Development Foundation, USAID, of course, the Peace Corps. They even want to cut funds for the drug war, but that’s only .3% of the proposed cuts in foreign aid."

Defense of Biopiracy

In 1986, Loren Miller, director of International Plant Medicine Corporation based in California, took from an indigenous Ecuadoran community, without permission from anyone, a sample of a long cultivated medicinal vine which has been used as a sacred plant in the Amazonian basin since the pre-Columbian era.

Miller subsequently was able to obtain a US patent on this vine, Banisteriopsis caapi, also known as Ayahuasca and Yage. Under US patent law, he was able to acquire a patent on the plant without first improving or cultivating the vine in any way.

The Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), which represents indigenous people in the Amazon region in nine countriesBolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Peru, Surinam, and Venezuela—vocally denounced the patent. COICA then issued a public resolution proclaiming Miller to be an "enemy of indigenous peoples," and that "his entrance in any indigenous territory should be prohibited."

The Inter-American Foundation, which had previously supplied over one million USD in grants to the indigenous Amazonian people, claimed that this was an attack on an American citizen, and demanded, under threat of stopping all future aid, a retraction. COICA refused, and the IAF stopped funding.

In November 1999, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), acting on a request for reevaluation of the patent by COICA, the Amazon Alliance for Indigenous and Traditional Peoples, and lawyers at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), canceled the patent.

Taken from Inter Press Service, April 1998; Reuters, 1998; and Environmental News Service, November 1999.

Board of Directors

"The Inter-American Foundation is governed by a nine-person Board of Directors appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Six members of the board are drawn from the private sector and three from federal agencies concerned with Inter-American affairs. The Board appoints a president who serves as the Inter-American Foundation's chief executive officer." [13]

Bush Administration Cronyism and Recess Appointments

As noted above for President Ronald Reagan, filling a majority on the IAF Board of Directors has proven to be difficult. The New Internationalist wrote in August 1983 that it took Reagan three years to accomplish the task. [14] Additionally, it appears that Reagan made additions to the IAF Board in September 1983 via two recess appointments. [15]

Several of the board members nominated by President George W. Bush—namely Adolfo Alberto Franco, Roger Noriega, Jack C. Vaughn, Jr., and Roger W. Wallace—have likewise served on the board due to recess appointments without receiving confirmation in the U.S. Senate.

Also, on August 6, 2004, Public Citizen noted that two IAF officers were large contributors to Bush's re-election campaign who had been placed on the Board in recess appointments, thus avoiding Senate oversight (as stated).

  • Roger W. Wallace "as chairman of the board for the Inter-American Foundation. The IAF is a U.S. government agency that funds non-governmental and community-based development programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. Wallace, a Ranger and 2000 Pioneer from Texas, headed the International Trade Administration as a deputy undersecretary in the Commerce Department under the first President Bush. Since then, he has been a lobbyist and consultant specializing in Latin American trade issues."
  • Jack Vaughn "as a member of the IAF board of directors. Vaughn is vice president of Vaughn Petroleum Inc., a Texas company that develops oil fields. A 2000 Pioneer who isn’t listed among Bush’s top fundraisers for the current election cycle, Vaughn was previously appointed by Bush to serve on the Energy Department transition team."

2006

According to the U.S. Senate schedule for December 4, 2006, the following nominations to the IAF Board of Directors were "Passed by Unanimous Consent" by the Senate (as stated): [16]

Note: Of those individuals nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate, the tenure of one (Arnold) will extend half way into the next presidential term and three (Salazar, Shannon, and Vaughn) will continue until the end of the next presidential term, unless terminated. Additionally, it would be possible for President Bush to nominate and achieve confirmation for the remaining members prior to his exit from office in January 2009.
  • Adolfo A. Franco, of Virginia, for a term expiring September 20, 2008
  • Roger W. Wallace, of Texas, for a term expiring October 6, 2008 (Reappointment), to which position he was appointed during the last recess of the Senate
  • Kay Kelly Arnold, of Arkansas, for a term expiring October 6, 2010 (Reappointment)
  • Gary C. Bryner, of Utah, for a term expiring June 26, 2008
  • Thomas Joseph Dodd, of the District of Columbia, for a term expiring June 26, 2008
  • John P. Salazar, of New Mexico, for a term expiring September 20, 2012
  • Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, for a term expiring September 20, 2012
  • Jack Vaughn, of Texas, for a term expiring September 20, 2012 (Reappointment)

Nominations for the following individuals were discharged November 17, 2006, by the U.S. Senate as IAF directors:

  • Kay Kelly Arnold
  • Gary Bryner
  • Thomas Joseph Dodd
  • Adolfo Franco
  • John P. Salazar
  • Thomas A. Shannon
  • Roger Wallace
  • Jack Vaughn

On September 20, 2006, the name of Nadine M. Hogan was withdrawn from Executive Nomination: "for a term expiring June 26, 2008, to which position she was appointed during the last recess of the Senate. Received message of withdrawal of nomination from the President." [17]

On September 20, 2006, the name of Hector E. Morales, of Texas, was before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations "for a term expiring September 20, 2010." [18]

2005

As of September 30, 2005, the following were members of the IAF Board of Directors (as stated): [19]

  • Roger W. Wallace, Chairman
  • Kay K. Arnold
  • Adolfo Alberto Franco [20]
  • Nadine M. Hogan
  • Roger Noriega, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.—See below.
  • Jack C. Vaughn, Jr., Managing Member, Vaughn Petroleum, LLC, Dallas, Texas

On January 4, 2005, the name of Adolfo A. Franco, of Virginia, was before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: "for a term expiring September 20, 2008." [21]

On January 24, 2005, the name of Roger W. Wallace, of Texas, was before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: "for a term expiring October 6, 2008." [22]

On February 14, 2005, Roger Francisco Noriega, of Kansas, was appointed by President Bush "for a term expiring September 20, 2006", and Adolfo A. Franco, of Virginia, was appointed "for a term expiring September 20, 2008." [23]

On November 25, 2005, Roger Noriega's name was withdrawn from Executive Nomination: "for a term expiring September 20, 2006, to which position he was appointed during the recess of the Senate from January 6, 2005, to January 20, 2005. [The Senate] Received message of withdrawal of nomination from the President."

2004

In recess appointments, on July 30, 2004, President George W. Bush appointed "Roger Wallace and Jack Vaughn of Texas and Nadine Hogan of Florida, members of the board of directors of the Inter-American Foundation." [24]

2003

The following names were submitted October 1, 2003, to the Senate (as stated): [25]

Note: All three of the listed nominees were currently serving under the authority of recess appointments.
  • Jose A. Fourquet, of New Jersey, "for a term expiring September 20, 2004, vice Mark L. Schneider, term expired, to which position he was appointed during the last recess of the Senate."
  • Adolfo A. Franco, of Virginia, "for a term expiring September 20, 2008, vice Jeffrey Davidow, resigned, to which position he was appointed during the last recess of the Senate."
  • Roger Francisco Noriega, of Kansas, "for a term expiring September 20, 2006, vice Harriett C. Babbitt, term expired, to which position he was appointed during the last recess of the Senate."

On March 24, 2003, Roger F. Noriega "was nominated by President George W. Bush for Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs on March 24, 2003; he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 29, 2003." Noriega was also nominated "to the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Foundation. He currently is an ex-oficio member of the Board of Directors of the Pan American Development Foundation." [26]

2002

On January 31, 2002, President Bush nominated the "following three individuals to serve as the Government Representative Members of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Foundation" (as stated): [27]

  • Roger Francisco, United States Ambassador to the Organization of American States
  • Jose Angel Fourquet, United States Executive Director of the Inter-American Development Bank
  • Adolfo Alberto Franco, Counsel for the Majority, House International Relations Committee

2001

  • Frank D. Yturria was designated chair of the board of directors of the Inter-American Foundation by President George W. Bush in May 2001, while serving his second term on that board. [28] Note below that his term was to expire in June 2002.
  • Yturria "was named Board member and Chairman of the Inter-American Foundation by President George Bush in 1990, reappointed as Board member by President William J. Clinton in 1997 and renamed Chairman of the Board by President George W. Bush in 2001. He is the only Board member in the Inter-American Foundation's history to serve two consecutive terms." [29]
  • Patricia Hill Williams was "appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Vice-Chair, Inter-American Foundation, an independent agency that provides Congressional funding to small projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Previously, President Clinton appointed her to the IAF where she has served for six years." [30] Note below that her term expired in 2000.

2000

According to General Services Administration records, the following three individuals were members of the IAF Board. The remaining Board positions were vacant. [31]

  • Kay Kelley Arnold, term expired October 6, 2004.
  • Patricia Hill Williams, term expired September 20, 2000.
  • Frank D. Yturria, term expired June 25, 2002.

Staffing & Personnel

According to the 2001 IAF Audit Report, the organization is "staffed with about 46 employees. The Foundation has no overseas staff. It obtains in-country services by contracting with local professionals to provide technical assistance to Foundation grantees and evaluations of grant results." [32]

Former Personnel and Directors

Advisory Council 2004

Austin, Texas

  • Al Zapanta - President and Chief Executive Officer, U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.

Source

Contact Information

Inter-American Foundation
901 N. Stuart Street
10th Floor
Arlington, VA 22203
Phone: 703 306-4301
FAX: 703 306-4365
E-mail: info AT iaf.gov
Website: http://www.iaf.gov

External links

General Information

IAF Reports

Articles & Commentary