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A critic says U.S. pro-democracy groups trying to smuggle cell phones and DVDs into Cuba may do more harm than good.

Ted Henken of Baruch College in New York told The Washington Post dissident groups look like U.S. tools when they receive the equipment.

There are also questions about financial controls. Spending on private pro-democracy groups increased 10-fold from 2000 to 2008 to $45 million in the last year of George W. Bush's presidency.

A former employee of one group pleaded guilty in 2008 to embezzling $600,000.

Audits have also found the groups spending government money on dubious items like high-end chocolates.

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, wants a review of the Cuba program.


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