NED is funded annually by grants from the US Congress and State
Department, with a 2006 global budget of $80 million, an increase of $20
million from 2005. For years the group has played a controversial
role-with lopsided funding of elections in foreign countries-in
promoting pro-US candidates and policies friendly to US interests. Most
recently, the NED has been accused of attempting to destabilize the
Regine Alexandre, whose name appears as an AP by-line at least a
dozen times starting in May of 2004, and appears as a contributor to two
NY Times stories, is a part of an NED "experiment" to place a
representative on the ground in countries where the NED has funded
"This is almost like an experiment for us," said Fabiola Cordova, a
Haiti program officer with the NED in Washington D.C. on December 6th.
"The NED usually doesn't have a field presence and most of the work from
our side takes place here in D.C. Then once the grants are approved it's
really very much on the grantees' leadership and initiative to
'implement their programs.'"
Cordova said the NED tries to monitor the programs from DC and to
provide some financial oversight, but "a lot of the organizations in
Haiti really need a lot of hand-holding, so we hired this person to be
part-time NED staff on the ground, and she's helped us, well, both
identify new grantees and to respond to any specific questions they're
going to have on the ground."
Cordova said the relationship between NED and Alexandre has worked
out well. "I think it has been very helpful, and over time as they get
more used to having her there, they will use her more effectively too.
It works out well for us," said the NED program officer, "because we
don't need a full time person. Like I said, it's an experiment, NED has
never had like a field presence like this before, but we really wanted
to expand our Haiti program so we thought it was really necessary to do
Cordova said that Alexandre "was already in Haiti doing some other
freelance work" and the NED hired her part time where she "works as a
consultant." As a follow up, NED's Haiti program officer forwarded in a
December 6, 2005 eMail the direct contacts for Regine Alexandre
including her phone and eMail address. "Nice talking to you today,"
wrote Cordova, "As promised, attached is the information on our Haiti
grantees, and the contact information on our part-time field rep in
Haiti. Her name is Regine Alexandre. I will drop her an e-mail and to
let her know you might be in touch."
In recent years, NED funding for Haiti has skyrocketed from $0 in
2003, before the forced departure of elected President John Bertrand
Aristide, to $149,300 in 2004 to its current level of $541,045 in 2005
(8 grantees). NED spending in Haiti is at its highest level since 1990,
the year Aristide was first elected.
Alexandre denies working for the NED, but said she has met with
several NED grantees and was considering working for NED but then
decided not to. "All I can tell you," she said in a phone interview from
Port-au-Prince on December 27th, "I met with NED, I was going to work
for them, and I didn't know much about NED and I decided not to work for
them. I remember meeting with two, maybe three of the grantees and
that's it, but I do not work for NED."
In response to queries to AP about Alexandre's links to NED, Jack
Stokes of the Associated Press, Corporate Communications, replied that "Regine
Alexandre, a freelance reporter for AP, says that at no time has she
been an employee of the National Endowment of Democracy. Alexandre, who
is also a development consultant in Haiti, says that at the request of
NED she did meet briefly with some Haitian non-government organizations
to provide them with contact information for NED, and was reimbursed by
NED for travel expenses. She says she was unaware that NED had any U.S.
government links. The AP is continuing to look into the matter," the
Stokes statement concluded.
For their part, the New York Times has been avoiding comment for
days. After dozens of calls to several offices at the Times, we were
told that they were still looking into it, and that their reporter in
Haiti, Ginger Thompson, who used Alexandre as a stringer, had no
information about whether Alexandre was working with the State
Department. When I pointed out we were talking about the NED, and not
the State Department directly, the deputy Foreign Desk Editor for the
Times, Ethan Bonner, said the Times will look into the matter further
and get back to us. Mr. Bonner acknowledged that it could present a
"conflict of interest," depending on the situation, but he had no idea
whether this particular case would be a problem, or whether the Times
would be utilizing Regine Alexandre again or not.
In a follow up interview on 12/30/2005, Times Deputy Foreign Editor,
Ethan Bonner, stated that Thompson had caught up with Alexandre for a
brief cell phone conversation and Alexandre assured her, as in the case
of AP, she received expenses for travel, which includeed air-fare to
Washington D.C. for a job interview with the NED, but then turned it
down. Bonner said that the NY Times believed that Alexander was not
working or consulting with the NED when she was reporting for the paper.
He said in her interview with Thomson that Alexandre denied being an
employee for the NED, but the line went dead before Thompson could
follow up as to whether Alexandre was on the NED payroll, either
directly or as a consultant or being paid by NED grantees with NED
"Conflict of interest" would be to put it mildly. "The NED was
created in the highest echelons of the US national security state,"
writes William Robinson in Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, US
Intervention and Hegemony. "It is organically integrated into the
overall execution of US national security and foreign policy. In
structure, organization, and operation, it is closer to clandestine and
national security organs such as the CIA than to apolitical or
humanitarian endowments, as the name would suggest."
Other groups that have worked with Alexandre include RANCODHA, a
Haiti-based group, also working around the elections. RANCODHA was the
recipient of a $41,220 grant from the NED, according to documents
obtained from the NED. Gadin Jean-Pierre, a spokesperson for the group,
said in an interview from Haiti on December 27th that Alexandre has been
in regular touch with the group, as a representative of the NED. "She's
keeping in touch with us, and we keep her informed about our activities
that we are doing now with the project. I have had a meeting with her
already, and she keeps in touch with us."
In a second interview, Jean-Pierre again confirmed Alexandre's work
for the NED. "NED is the organization funding our program...We get
funding from NED and we are working in close collaboration with Regine
Alexandre. She will meet tomorrow with us, at 9:00; we have the
evaluation of the program of the last module we have done. She will be
with us tomorrow (Thursday,December 29th)."
Hans Tippenhauer, director of Fondation Espoir (Hope Foundation), the
recipient of a $132,970 NED grant, also confirmed that Regine Alexandre
was working for the NED, and acted as a "contact officer" between his
organization and NED. In an interview from Haiti Tippenhauer said "Yes,
she is a contact person" for Fondation Espoir, and added that "the
reality is our last program was approved before she was in charge, so
now she is just a contact officer for us, but we are working directly
with, I mean we had previous engagements with NED in Washington..."
Maryse Balthazar is the coordinator of the Association of Haitian
Women Journalists or AMIFEH. The group received a $16,815 NED grant for
2005. Balthazar said she last met with Regine Alexandre on December 8th.
She says that she first started working with Alexandre in September
2005. Part of AMIFEH's work is to train Haitian journalists how to cover
elections. "Yes," she said in an interview on 12/29/2005, "I work with
Alexandre." Balathazar said the last meeting she had with Alexandre was
"before the Session of the North department," on December 8th, and that
she had commenced working with her in September of 2005.
Later, we received a phone call from New York Times Deputy Foreign
Editor, Ethan Bonnar. He stated that a spokesperson for the NED
confirmed that, in fact, Regine Alexandre is an employee of the NED.
Bonnar asserted that it is his understanding that she was not an NED
employee at the same time she was a stringer for the NYT.
When asked if she was paid indirectly - through another agency -
Bonnar replied, "...that is a deeper question..." that he would have
to look into it further:
Bonnar further stated that Regine Alexandre has been freelancing
for the NYT for some time going back into the 1990's. Additionally, he
suggested that she may have "fed into" stories filed by
Polgreen and David Gonzales. Bonnar said that the NYT is not yet
where the AP is in announcing that it is severing all ties, but he
said that if the Times confirmed that Alexandre was in fact lying
regarding her work with the NED, then they would not be able to work