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Azerbaijan: GONGOs

Blogs dealing with democracy across the globe continue to discuss last week's controversial visit to Azerbaijan by Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. Democracy Digest is the latest and says that the embarrassing event at least exposed the existence of government-organized NGOs (GONGOs) in authoritarian countries. The blog also says that there are suggestions that some of Plouffe's $50,000 speaker's fee should be donated to the families of imprisoned journalists in the country.


  • Ani

    Sort of a combination of Robin Hood/Holy Fool–I wonder if he could do this a few more times around the world?

  • Ani

    The New York Times touched on this trip today, in an article about the Obama’s administration’s attitude toward democracy initiatives:

    Fresh from orchestrating a historic victory, President Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, headed to the remote seaside town of Baku for a lucrative speech. For Mr. Plouffe, it was a chance to pocket an easy $50,000. But for the authoritarian government of Azerbaijan, it was a chance to burnish the reputation of a harsh system headed by the son of a K.G.B. general.

    An outcry forced Mr. Plouffe to donate the cash to pro-democracy groups in the former Soviet Union, but to some policy experts it spotlighted a shift in American attitudes toward advancing the cause of democracy abroad. Mr. Plouffe did not intend to give succor to a despot, friends said, but evidently did not think to determine whether the supposed civic group forking over the money had ties to an anti-democratic regime.

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