News reports that Peace Corps volunteers and a Fulbright scholar were asked last year by a U.S. Embassy official in Bolivia "to basically spy" on Cubans and Venezuelans in the country have reverberated in the media, around the internet, and within the Peace Corps community for the past two weeks. (Click here for the ABC News Exclusive: Peace Corps, Fulbright Scholar Asked to 'Spy' on Cubans, Venezuelans)
As an organization whose goal is to promote the vitality of the Peace Corps and the application of its values, NPCA finds these reports very troubling.
“It is incredibly important to keep Peace Corps and other U.S.-funded programs that are designed to promote understanding (like the Fulbright) clear, distinct and separate from any and all intelligence-gathering and agencies," says NPCA President Kevin Quigley. "Failing to do that will jeopardize the effectiveness and perhaps even safety of serving volunteers.”
In 2005--for these same stated reasons--NPCA led a successful advocacy effort on Capitol Hill to remove Peace Corps service as an option under the “National Call to Service” military recruitment program. President Bush approved this change on January 6th, 2006 when he signed into law the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006." More recently, NPCA testified in favor of the Peace Corps Volunteer Empowerment Act.
NPCA will continue to speak out for a strong and independent Peace Corps.