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Venezuela: The Birth of an Alliance for a Coup

AVN

March 17, 2012

Less than a month before a coup d’état staged against the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in Caracas was born a civil association named Alliance for Freedom, aimed at fighting communism “radically” and destabilizing the country.

This way was stated in the local newspaper El Universal, on March 17th, 2002, in an article titled “Alliance for Freedom to face the Left.”

In an opening ceremony, the Alliance’s coordinator and former political party leader Agustin Berrios said they would “battle to get rid of Chavez” and the causes “that brought us to Chavez,” reported the mentioned newspaper.

The goals of the Alliance for Freedom were once again exposed when former chief of the state oil company PDVSA, Andres Sosa Pietri, who attended the ceremony, defended the idea that PDVSA would change into “a public enterprise with private shares.” Such option allows to begin a process of undercover privatization, as one denounced several years ago in the Mexican oil company Pemex.

But the birth of the Alliance for Freedom was not an isolated fact. Days earlier, statements and calls for unrest added up: on March 15, Eddie Ramirez -director of Pamalven, PDVSA subsidiary- called to “a peaceful resistance” after President Chavez appointed a new board of directors for the company; on March 13, PDVSA managers began their first actions against the Executive; throughout the month, private newspapers called openly or undercover, through articles, opinion and even ads, to remove President Chavez from office.

“Radically opposed to communism and overall leftism and with a proposal marked by liberal democracy, the rule of law and market economy” were the “ideals” of the organization, according to El Universal report.

Since President Hugo Chavez took office in 1998, simultaneously began the US financing of civil associations and non-governmental organizations that were the spearheads of the opposition against the Bolivarian Revolution.

In December 2007, the website Cubadebate interviewed US researcher Jeremy Bigwood, who had released some papers about the White House financing to Venezuelan NGOs.

The analyst explained that before the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) installed a seat in Caracas, there had already began “a financial support” to those associations, aimed at “speeding up the transition of the Chavez Administration to other government.”

Documents released by Bigwood show that OTI spent 26 million dollars in Venezuela between 2002 and 2006.

Meanwhile, researcher Eva Golinger said that OTI “installed illegally in Venezuela in 2002 to encourage actions against the Hugo Chavez Government,” that it also channeled “multimillionaire funds” for opposing parties, including the private organization Sumate, headed by current rightist deputy Maria Corina Machado.

Connie Mack’s Staff Tied to Anti-Hugo Chavez Group

By John Bresnahan

Politico

NJ.com

July 30th 2012

For years in the House and in his current bid for Senate, Florida GOP Rep. Connie Mack has attacked Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez with a zeal possibly unmatched in Congress. Chávez, the congressman says, is a “thugocrat” and serious national security threat to the United States.

But the full story of Mack’s anti-Chávez campaign doesn’t end there. In a little-noticed and highly unusual episode, a trio of Mack staffers worked with a secretive nonprofit group whose sole purpose appears to be promoting the congressman’s crusade against Chávez. It’s not clear who provided the $150,000 used to bankroll the group, which apparently did little else than produce a 30-minute documentary that aired on a Houston TV station and consisted almost entirely of a Mack speech bashing Chávez.

The bizarre sequence of events could prove significant given the highly charged politics surrounding Chávez among Florida’s large Latino electorate — which Mack is aggressively courting — and the controversial role of outside groups in the Sunshine State’s political universe. Recent polls have shown Mack in a tight race with Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, whom Mack has attacked for being soft on Chávez. Mack has shown strong support among different Latino communities, fueled at least in part by his unrelenting criticism of Chávez.

The Committee to Free Venezuela Foundation, a nonprofit group, was founded in Aug. 2010 in Delaware. The organization is “dedicated to educating the American public and policymakers about the dangers posed by Venezuela’s Socialist Dictator Hugo Chávez,” according to its Internal Revenue Service filings.

Convincing Proof Against USAID

Juan Carlos Zambrana Marchetti

Newspaper Cambio

July 28,2012

As hard as we try to expose all of the mechanisms of interventionism, these are so diverse that some of them slip through our fingers after we have had the evidence in hand. This is the curious story of how, after more than a year, I was able to tie down the loose end that had escaped me when I denounced the event called Danger in the Andes: The Threats to Democracy, Human Rights, and Inter-American security.

A few days ago I was interviewed by the renowned journalist Jorge Gestoso for his program, De Frente. With a sharpness of thought perfected through his years of experience, he had made a connection that escaped me. Attempting to give me the opportunity to correct the oversight, he read the following fragment from my article: “During the second panel, on terrorism, the panelists demonized Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador as anti-American, and they described the end of the world caused by those three countries with nuclear arms built with the support of Iran. Obviously, they did not allow me to ask any more questions because Jose Cardenas, the moderator of the first panel, had already passed on the information about me to Otto Reich, the moderator of the second.” After explaining that Otto Reich was the former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs during the government of George W. Bush, Gestoso raised his head and asked me, point-blank: “Who is Jose Cardenas?”

I was dumfounded, not knowing what to answer, because it had not even crossed my mind that the name could be as relevant as that of the other big shots on whom I had concentrated more that afternoon at the Capitol, when I found myself surrounded by the most radical of the Republican hounds who were preparing the invasion of Latin America. I did not remember the name, because in my article I had mentioned him only as the moderator of the first panel, and had bypassed the details of who Jose Cardenas might have been in his professional life. In order to finesse the predicament, I answered with what I had thought when I was writing the article: he is just another politician, of Latin American origin and rightist. I saw the disappointment in Jorge’s face, but, with the professionalism that characterizes him, he let the awkward moment pass. From then on, the interview was somewhat uncomfortable for me, because I could not stop thinking about why the name of Jose Cardenas had not led me to recall anything of relevance.

When I got home, I retrieved the recording of the event and paid attention to the introduction made on behalf of the sponsors –the Hudson Institute, a committee of experts (think tank) in Washington dedicated to “global security, prosperity, and freedom.” It was explained that the event was divided into two panels. The first of these would focus on the internal dangers for three Latin American countries: Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. The second would focus on the external threats to democracy for those same countries, dangers that, according to them, derived from links with the radical Islamism of Iran, drug trafficking, and terrorism.

Jose Cárdenas was the moderator of the first panel, for whom the internal threats to democracy in the mentioned countries were, supposedly, violations of the freedom of the press, violations of human rights, and the concentration of power in the hands of the president. Cardenas explained it this way:  “let me start by saying that we really want to recognize the courage of many of the speakers here today, who actually live in the countries they will be talking about… because many of this speakers that we reached out to have expressed to us a concern, a fear of  speaking out in public for fear of retribution when  they return to their countries. And, just keep that in mind as a backdrop as to why we are here to discuss the internal situation in those countries. Think of it as ostensibly (ph) a democracy where citizens have an overt fear of speaking out in public, for fear of retribution.”

I was surprised at the immense capacity for manipulation shown by the gentleman, and the shamelessness of using such a grotesque lie to influence from the start the receptivity of the audience. In retrospect, his falsity can be demonstrated by the fact that none of the panelists, despite their open campaigns of slander against the mentioned leftist governments, has been persecuted, and far less have there been any attempts against their lives.

The panelists whom Mr. Cardenas presented to prove the internal threat of the democracies in “the Andes” were the following. Guillermo Zuluaga spoke in the name of freedom of the press, and denied his political campaign of media manipulation against President Chávez. The supposed violations of human rights were denounced by Javier El-Hage, speaking for the Human Rights Foundation, an NGO that was involved with the separatism of Santa Cruz through his support for Cruzan rightists in their campaign for autonomy. The accusation of concentration of power was handled by Luis Nunez, President of the Civic Committee for Santa Cruz, an institution opposed to President Morales and linked not only to the dictatorships of the past but also to the right-wing governments and to the secret societies that controlled power in Santa Cruz. The said Civic Committee was also linked to the same movement for autonomy that resulted in the attempted coup d’etat, the planned assassination of President Morales, to the case of terrorism, and the separatism of the eastern departments.

All of these “dignitaries,” who created a Dantesque vision of reality, were being praised, defended, justified, and even portrayed as victims by the moderator of the panel, Mr. Jose Cardenas. It was time, then, to turn to the official document of the event and look for the professional past that I had failed to notice. Jose Cardenas was USAID’s sub-regional director for Latin America during the administration of George W. Bush, but also a member of the National Security Council at the White House during that same administration that made history by adopting the policy of “preemptive strike,” which can be interpreted as the right to attack, without warning or provocation, any country that develops weapons or mechanisms perceived by Washington as dangerous for its “national security.”

How to explain such diversity in the talents of José Cardenas? On one hand, at USAID he carried out the “humanitarian” functions of helping our countries to conquer poverty, but, at the same time, he was part of the National Security Council that granted itself the power of attacking the whole world? We know, according to the same event at the Capitol, that national security is simply another of the excuses with which the United States intends to invade Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. But that’s no surprise, because that has been the Trojan horse of the wars of the United States. What is new in this case is for those plans to be connected openly with USAID, which supposedly carries out only humanitarian functions.

Perhaps the organizers of the event intended to keep hidden USAID’s political-military goal of facilitating in Latin America the dark projects of the “national security” of the United States. But resorting to dividing the panel into two parts and to leave Cardenas in charge of only the first part, was not enough to hide forever the evidence that USAID, unquestionably, functions as one more of the mechanisms for intervention of the United States. Further, it coordinates everything that it does with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the governmental agency that promotes a democracy complacent with U.S. interests, and with the NGOs through which it channels ample resources for the same purposes. Those three mechanisms for intervention acted in unison in the incessant campaign of destabilization against the process of change in Bolivia, and they continue to do it in the sister nations that advance similar processes.

The regional decision to expel USAID definitively must materialize as soon as possible, because this agency of the U.S. government serves as a Trojan horse designed to destroy from the inside the governments of its former area of influence, which now resist its policies. Its mask of humanitarianism allows it to draw close to its victims, and to gain the trust of the most humble sectors, in order to make way for the invasion of those same peoples. The case of Jose Cardenas, providing services in two organizations with goals officially so opposed, is also proof of the notorious system of the revolving door, by means of which are rotated in their different organizations the representatives of the different power groups that defend the status quo, which defends by any and all means the interests of capital against the interests of the peoples. USAID must be expelled as soon as possible from Latin America.

 

FLASHBACK: Venezuela: Human Rights Watch Versus Democracy

by Francisco Domínguez / September 27, 2008

21st Century Socialism

The US-based NGO Human Rights Watch has issued a new report on Venezuela. The report blatantly distorts the truth in order to promote the regime-change agenda of the United States administration.

On Sept 18th 2008, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report entitled ‘Venezuela: Rights Suffer Under Chavez’. The report has been characterised by the Venezuelan government as biased and inaccurate.

The HRW report comes in the wake of an intensification of attacks on Venezuela by various branches of the US administration. These include:

• the re-establishment of the Fourth Fleet – previously decommissioned in 1952, the Fourth Fleet is reportedly made up of 25 warships, deployed around South America; and about which, several Latin American countries, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela, amongst them, have expressed deep concerns;

• John Walters, the US drug Czar, has accused Venezuela of inaction in the war on drugs;

• the US State Department recently discussed the possibility of adding Venezuela to the list of nations that sponsor terrorism;

• the allegation that the Venezuelan government was behind the suitcase stuffed with US$800,000 brought into Argentina by Venezuelan-American citizen, Antonini Wilson, but, which, in reality, was denounced by Chavez and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, as a dirty operation, about which nothing has been conclusively demonstrated, but which has become the focus of intense media attention. Despite repeated requests by both Argentina and Venezuela, US authorities have refused to extradite Antonini to face questions;

• sanctions by the US Treasury of several Venezuelan officials over unproven allegations that they aided the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) of Colombia.

Most recently, following the expulsion of the US Ambassador from Bolivia over his relations with right wing extremists, Venezuela expelled its US Ambassador in solidarity, and the US responded by expelling the Venezuelan Ambassador from the USA.

On 10th September 2008, a plot to assassinate President Chavez and carry out a military coup was exposed. The plot was led by high level retired and serving military officers.

This is the context, one of of acute tensions between Venezuela and the US, for the publication on 18th September of the Human Rights Watch report on Venezuela. Its key theme, as outlined by José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at HRW, is as follows:

“Ten years ago, Chávez promoted a new constitution that could have significantly improved human rights in Venezuela. But rather than advancing rights protections, his government has since moved in the opposite direction, sacrificing basic guarantees in pursuit of its own political agenda.”

The 230-page Report makes the charge that “Discrimination on political grounds has been a defining feature of the Chavez presidency.” Although Venezuela under President Chavez is by no means perfect, it bears no relation to the country depicted in HRW’s 2008 Report.

The key allegation, that discrimination on political grounds has been a defining feature of the Chavez presidency, looks absurd when it is understood that the civil service remains largely full of supporters of the old regime, some of whom have allegedly engaged in criminal actions, such as the destruction of key operational facilities of the national oil company PDVSA during the oil lock-out that brought the country’s economy to near collapse.

The lock-out took place almost immediately after the short-lived overthrow of President Chavez in a military coup in April 2002. The coup was backed by the military high command, the main private media, the national employers’ organisation and the old discredited trade union federation CTV.

Following the coup, there was a campaign to oust Chavez through a recall referendum in 2004. When that failed, the opposition boycotted the 2005 parliamentary election in order to try to question the legitimacy of the government. Throughout these tense events, opposition politicians and private media talked openly of violently overthrowing the government and adopted an intensely confrontational attitude.

The recently revealed plot for another coup attempt and plans to assassinate President Chavez, just before regional and local elections in November, are in line with the stance taken by the opposition at crucial moments.

Expanding democracy

Contrary to HRW’s allegations that the Venezuelan government practices ‘political discrimination’ against the opposition, the government’s attitude to the opposition’s persistent efforts to use violent and unconstitutional means to overthrow it, has been one of tolerance and magnanimity. Last year, President Chávez pardoned political opponents who backed the failed 2002 coup against his democratically-elected government. “It’s a matter of turning the page,” Chávez said. “We want there to be a strong ideological and political debate – but in peace.”

In this spirit, the government has often welcomed input from the opposition, for example, inviting the leaders of student protests to address the National Assembly. Not a common occurrence anywhere else in the world.

All political parties in Venezuela operate without any constraints. The majority of these parties are in the opposition; their difficulty is that they do not enjoy the high levels of support of the fewer pro-government political parties.

Opposition parties in Venezuela can and do organise public meetings, rallies, demonstrations, street marches; their spokespersons speak regularly on TV and radio – and they never moderate their language, their criticism, or their opposition to the government. They stand candidates for elections, hold national party events, issue proclamations, statements, hold press conferences, publish books, pamphlets, disseminate anti-government propaganda – in the streets and through the media, without any governmental sanctions whatsoever.

The great majority of private newspapers and television stations in the country support the Opposition and they face no restrictions other than the normal ones that exist in any democratic country, such as those governing libel and defamation. No Venezuelan newspaper has ever been subjected to any censorship by the Chavez administration. There are no political prisoners of any kind in Venezuela.

With regard to the judiciary, contrary to the 2008 HRW report’s contention, under Chavez the independence and probity of the judiciary has been significantly strengthened by dealing with the corruption with which it was previously riddled. HRW’s own 2004 report recognized this:

“When President Chávez became president in 1999, he inherited a judiciary that had been plagued for years by influence-peddling, political interference, and, above all, corruption…In terms of public credibility, the system was bankrupt.”

At the same time, all democratic institutions have been strengthened in Venezuela, exemplified by the internationally verified efficiency and scrupulous fairness of the National Electoral Council, which has had no hesitation in upholding electoral results unfavourable to the government such as the defeat of the 2007 constitutional referendum – a result accepted immediately by President Chavez and his government.

HRW’s assertion that the Venezuelan media balance is shifting in favour of Chavez is misleading. In fact, the opposition media enjoy unrestricted freedom but they are increasingly seen as grossly biased and as having lost the political argument. The reality remains that the private media, which largely supports the opposition, controls the largest share of the airwaves, and there are no major pro-government
national daily newspapers.

HRW’s allegation that the government “has sought to remake the country’s labor movement in ways that violate basic principles of freedom of association,” also bears no relation to reality.

There are six national trade union federations in Venezuela (CTV, CUTV, UNT, CODESA, CGT, and CST), all of which function with total freedom and without the kind of draconian anti-trade union legislation which disfigures the USA and many of its allies.

Industrial relations are evolving positively. Furthermore, the level of trade union membership is rising – before Chávez came to office in 1999, 11% of workers were in unions; the figure now is estimated to be over 20%. Thus, HRW’s allegation that the government violates basic principles of union association is not borne out by the facts.

The charge of the HRW 2008 report that the Chávez government has an “aggressively adversarial approach to local rights advocates and civil society organizations” is equally false. With varying degrees of success, the government has been empowering millions of hitherto excluded people through an array of social organizations, such as – tens of thousands of – communal councils, which aim to democratize local government.

There are also 200,000 cooperatives, women’s organizations, indigenous organizations, Afro-descendants organizations, organizations of gays and lesbians, and so forth. The numbers of these organizations have mushroomed because their rights have, for the first time ever, been either enshrined in the 1999 constitution or are being actively promoted and the government has been keen to assist them.

Additionally, as part of the implementation of the principles of participatory democracy enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, the government has made successful efforts to enfranchise ever larger layers of the traditionally excluded.

In terms of the traditional electoral process, the number of registered voters has increased phenomenonally. When Chávez was first elected President in 1998 the number of registered voters was 11,013,020. This has increased to 16,109,664 (a staggering 60% increase) by the time of the 2007 Constitutional Referendum.

At the same time, Venezuela has held more internationally recognized democratic elections than virtually any other country in the world in the decade Chávez has been in office.

To argue, as does the HRW, that this situation corresponds in any way to stifling civil society is to deny reality.

US-funded opposition

The government, however, has had serious concerns about illegal activity by a relatively small number of NGO-type bodies funded by the USA, which engage in campaigns to subvert the constitutional order. The US funded SUMATE ‘NGO’, for example, centralized the collection of signatures to unseat Chavez in 2004, and its leader, Corina Machado, endorsed the 2002 coup.

The publicly acknowledged funding of such so-called NGOs comes from US government sources including the infamous National Endowment for Democracy, USAID, the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity and the Centre for International Private Enterprise. The government of Venezuela charges that these organisations are channels for the covert funding of opposition groups to seek to undermine democratic institutions and the elected government.

This charge is amply confirmed by international experience. One example illustrates this. On hearing of the ousting of Chávez in April 2002, International Republican Institute President, George A. Folsom, issued the following statement:

“Last night, led by every sector of civil society, the Venezuelan people rose up to defend democracy in their country. Venezuelans were provoked into action as a result of systematic repression by the Government of Hugo Chavez. Several hundred thousand people filled the streets of Caracas to demand the resignation of Lt. Col. Chavez.”

The chairman of the IRI since 1993 has been the current Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who has made no bones about his intense antagonism to progressive governments in Latin America, especially, Chavez. His campaign website even featured an online petition calling for support in his quest to “stop the dictators of Latin America.” The petition called for the removal of Chávez “in the name of democracy and freedom throughout our hemisphere.” Although the petition was taken down, it is an indication of his thinking, as leader of this NGO funder and a possible future president of the USA.

In a similar vein, several months after the failed 2002 coup, the US State Dept established an Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) in Caracas, with money from USAID and which operates out of the US Embassy with, among other stated objectives: “to provide fast, flexible, short-term assistance targeted at key transition needs.” ‘Transition’ has to be seen in the context of the US administration’s doctrine of its right to seek to externally promote ‘regime change’ in countries which it perceives as pursuing policies against the interests of the sections of the US it represents.

The Chávez government has been expanding democracy and social progress to unprecedented levels. And in truth, there is no serious evidence of any systematic effort or policy aimed at attacking human rights; in fact, all evidence points in the opposite direction. Therefore, it is difficult not to conclude that HRW’s 2008 report, as on previous occasions, does not have the purpose of constructive criticism of shortcomings or possible flaws in the process of social progress and democratization underway in Venezuela – which would be welcome – but that it distorts reality to depict a country on the verge of becoming a nasty dictatorship.

The imbalance in the  HRW report is evident in that, for example, it does not even mention the substantial progress that has been made in improving the human rights of the immense majority of the population by such means as:

• the reduction of poverty (by 34%);

• the eradication of illiteracy;

• the expansion of education from 6 million people participating in education in 1998 to more than 12 million in 2008;

• the access to free health care increased to the great majority of the population, about 20 million people, by 2008;

• the provision of subsidized food benefiting 12-14 million people in 2008;

• the reduction in unemployment to historic low levels of around 7% in
2008;

• the promotion of a far greater role of women in society and the economy; and

• the dramatic increase in social spending that has taken place in Venezuela since the election of Chavez.

The unbalanced and plain misleading character of HRW’s reports on Venezuela has been consistent and has coincided uncannily with the run-up to important electoral contests such as the forthcoming November elections this year. It issued a communiqué on Venezuela with similar unsubstantiated themes in June 2004, just two months before the recall referendum against Chavez. In October 2007, it published a statement expressing similar preoccupations just two months before the constitutional referendum. And HRW published its 2008 report on 18th September, just two months away from regional and local authority elections in Venezuela in November 2008.

All these reports have echoed US anti-Chavez propaganda: ‘a dictatorship is in the making in Venezuela’. Back in June, John McCain said in a speech to the Florida Association of Broadcasters: “Hugo Chavez has used the cloak of electoral legitimacy to establish a one party dictatorship in Venezuela.”

The question presents itself: who stands to gain from Human Rights Watch activity in Venezuela – the population of the country or the Washington administration seeking to undermine an elected government seen as breaking free of its traditional economic and political domination?

Dr Francisco Domínguez is head of the Centre for Brazilian and Latin American Studies at Middlesex University, UK.

 

U.S. Orchestrated Color Revolutions to Sweep Across Latin America in 2013-2014

Evo Morales, 2010, The People’s Summit, Cochabamba, Bolivia

Destabilizing Arsenals Concealed in US Embassies

Nil NIKANDROV | 02.04.2012

Strategic Culture Foundation

Over the past years, it has been happening with frightening regularity that U.S. diplomats and CIA agents were caught pulling off operations involving illicit weapons supply in Latin America. The inescapable impression is that the U.S. Department of State has irreversibly learned to regard the Vienna Convention and various national legislations as rules which it has unlimited freedom to overstep.

Pressing for unchallenged hegemony in the Western Hemisphere, Washington keeps the populist regimes in Latin America under permanent pressure. Outwardly, the U.S. Administration pledges not to resort to military force to displace the ALBA governments in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, or Cuba, but in reality Washington’s efforts to undermine them are a constant background of the continent’s political picture. The activity began under president G. Bush and shows no signs of subsiding under president Obama. Supposedly, plans are being devised in the White House that a series of color revolutions will erupt across Latin America in 2013-2014 and derail the continent’s advancement towards tighter integration in the security and other spheres. As the fresh experience of Libya showed with utmost clarity, Washington’s new brand of color revolutions will – in contrast to the former coups which used to be accompanied with outpourings of pacifist rhetoric – involve ferocious fighting and massive fatalities.

Laws vs. Color Revolutions in Latin America | ALBA

March 10, 2012: Thousands of Chávez supporters held demonstrations on to show support for their ailing leader while he recovers from cancer surgery. Photograph: Fernando Llano/AP

Strategic Culture Foundation

Nil NIKANDROV | 11.03.2012

The US intelligence is making systematic efforts to energize the political opposition in Latin American countries deemed unfriendly in Washington. The strategy encompasses the radicalization of the existing political parties and groups plus the creation of new ones pursuing ever more aggressive agendas, and the formation of a network of seemingly harmless NGOs ready to launch massive attacks against the regimes in their respective countries whenever their sponsors and curators chose to unleash them. It is a reality that newspapers and electronic media in Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela shower their audiences with allegations that the ruling populists are completely unable to tackle the problems of corruption and drug-related crime or to modernize the economies of the countries where they are at the helm.

Estimates show that at least 80% of the media in ALBA countries are slamming the nations’ leaders in a permanent information warfare campaign and providing a propaganda backing for pro-US and pro-Israel NGOs. In fact, the standoff between the ALBA governments and their opponents – the Washington-controlled fifth column and the NGOs – is in many regards a unique phenomenon. While Latin American populist leaders Rafael Correa, Evo Morales, and Hugo Chavez strictly abide by their countries’ constitutions, the camp challenging them does not recognize legal constraints in principle, especially when the situation holds the promises of a color revolution. For most of them, the escalation of a revolt into a full-blown civil war appears to be the optimal scenario since a bloody conflict would provide a pretext for a US military intervention.

US Subverting Latin America: Bolivia and Venezuela Top Targets of Financially Backed Myriad of NGOs

Map Source: http://combatingglobalization.com/

November 6, 2011
Nil NIKANDROV
Strategic-Culture.org

US President John Kennedy Established USAID – the United States Agency for International Development – in November, 1962as an organization charged with an essentially humanitarian mission of providing economic and other support to struggling countries around the world. The agency’s stated goals therefore include conflict prevention, the expansion of democracy, humanitarian assistance, and human resources training, but the truth which is not deeply hidden is that the USAID activities tend to be tightly interwoven with those of the US Department of State, the CIA, and the Pentagon.

In Latin America, any illusions concerning the agenda behind USAID interventions proved to be short-living. A string of unmaskings of FBI and CIA agents who operated under the USAID cover were so fabulous that the actual character of the agency became impossible to conceal.Nevertheless, the USAID activity clearly got a boost over the first decade of the XXI century… In Haiti, for example, CIA operatives hosted by USAID coordinated and backed financially myriads of NGOs that in 2003-2004 were instrumental in toppling president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. For several days protesters in Haiti vandalized city streets, attacked government institutions, and showered Aristide with allegations of corruption and complicity in the drug business. A curious brand of rebels dressed in US military uniforms entered the stage shortly thereafter and occupied most of the country, eventually laying siege to its capital and the presidential palace. Aristide was arrested by US marines, taken to the airport, and – with no formalities like a court procedure – flown to South Africa. The warning issued to the displaced country leader in the process was that attempts to escape would earn him yet bigger trouble.

USAID also played the key role in organizing the June, 2009 coup in Honduras, where CIA agents under the USAID guise similarly guided and sponsored puppet NGO escapades, spread the myth of Honduran president M. Zelaya’s and Venezuelan leader H. Chavez’s joint communist conspiracy, and commanded the country’s army officers. The coup culminated in the arrest of Zelaya who, like Aristide, was forcibly taken to another country – Costa Rica in this case – and threatened that re-entering his home country would be lethal. As a result, Washington was happy about the resulting termination of Honduras’ drift towards the Latin American populist camp, the media pretended to stay unaware of the terrorist war on Zelaya’s supporters unleashed by the butchers marshaled by Honduran “de facto” new president R. Micheletti, and the USAID/CIA operatives who engineered the coup got their bonuses and promotions.

There is ample evidence that USAID is used extensively as a tool for inciting color revolutions and revolts in defiant countries across the Western hemisphere, especially in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua…As for Cuba, USAID has been pulling off secret operations there for decades, but most of the agencies efforts aimed at planting in the country “independent” media and “alternative” political organizations in the form of trade unions or protest groups were remarkably unsuccessful. Cuba’s counter-espionage agency must be credited with enviable efficiency, while infighting occasionally erupts in the ranks of the opponents of the Cuban regime over the money poured in by the US. The permanent impression is that a considerable portion of the US funding supposed to help bring “democracy” to Cuba simply ends up in the pockets of CIA operatives and their local protégées. When leader of the Cuban opposition movement known as Ladies in White Laura Pollan died of natural causes recently, her co-workers initiated an inquiry into the group’s finances and discovered the disappearance of tens of thousands of dollars. USAID promptly hushed up the scandal, which was just one in a series of likewise incidents. The tendency for millions of dollars contributed by Washington to the anti-regime cause in Cuba to evaporate is widely attributed to the Cuban counter-espionage agency’s ability to cunningly divert USAID funds to its own needs.

US Trojan Horses in Venezuela

Nil NIKANDROV | 20.02.2012

Strategic Culture Foundation

Several days ago, representatives of 55 Venezuelan NGOs called the international community to rise to the defense of democracy in the country at a media event in Miami, charging Hugo Chavez with threatening democracy, neglecting human rights, and igniting a civilian conflict in Venezuela. The participants of the event pledged that the campaign built around the demand to put the Venezuelan leader on trial would continue in order to keep Chavez’s regime under permanent pressure, and its coordinator Carlos Fernandez announced that an appeal had been supplied to the Hague Tribunal to make Chavez face justice over nothing less than alleged crimes against humanity. At the moment, the key lines on the Venezuelan opposition’s grievances list are company nationalizations, the looming closure of the anti-Chavez Globovision TV channel, attempts to introduce Marxist instruction in Venezuelan schools, and crackdowns on the opponents of the current Venezuelan regime. Fernandez, who had been on the radical fringe during the 2002 outbreak of anti-government protests in Venezuela, urged the international community to act immediately and warned that failure to do so would result in the entrenchment of a militarist, Castro-communist regime in Venezuela for years. He also confided to the audience that an investigator was dispatched by the Hague Tribunal to Columbia to examine the files on the notebooks which belonged to slain FARC secretariat member and spokesman Raúl Reyes. Chavez would eventually face justice for his FARC connections, claimed Fernandez.

NGOs mushroomed in Venezuela after Chavez’s 1998 electoral triumph, and at the moment their number estimatedly reaches several hundreds. Back in 1998, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) enjoyed unlimited freedom of maneuver in the country and made full use of it to expand the influence of the US intelligence community over the Venezuelan society. The correspondence of the US embassy in Caracas, unveiled by WikiLeaks, left no doubts that the US Department of State, the CIA, the US Defense Intelligence Agency, and DEA had been taking advantage of the situation to make inroads into Venezuela.

Washington had to learn as the 2002 anti-Chavez coup collapsed that the Venezuelan leader was a serious opponent who would not crack under pressure and at all times remained a clever strategist. Chavez managed to handle successfully the recurrent conflicts with the Empire, while staunchly upholding his socialist project domestically and building ever stronger positions internationally. Given Chavez’s record which includes oil sector nationalization and the expulsion of the fifth column from the petroleum industry, the removal of conspiracy-prone officers from the army top command, and nationally oriented socioeconomic reforms, plans for his ouster in a violent putsch obviously stand no chance, and Washington therefore has to place its bet on a color revolution in Venezuela. This type of revolt in the country does not seem altogether impossible as the support for the opposition in Venezuela typically measures around 35% and the Venezuelan middle class, students, and intellectual circles for the most part do not favor Chavez. These are the communities currently comprising the audience of the Venezuelan NGOs and receiving from them perks in the forms of grants, travel support, and costly gadgets.  Color revolution champions are trained in Venezuela based on movies featuring the corresponding episodes from the recent East European history. As in Cuba, the white color is chosen as the hallmark of the Venezuelan protesters. What Venezuela’s NGOs must pretend to be oblivious to are Chavez’s achievements in fighting poverty, strengthening the national economy, and boosting the amounts of welfare for the population.

Naturally, Venezuela’s young are the NGOs’ main target audience. Student attack groups played the central role in the clashes between protesters and police in Venezuela in May, 2007 when the government revoked the license of the RCTV channel (the step was taken in connection with the fact that the RCTV broadcasting contract expired by the time). Chavez described the unrest as an attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan government and called the residents of low-income urban quarters and villages to resist what he termed a fascist offensive. In response, Andrés Bello Catholic University student leader John Goicoechea said that Chavez’ drumming up support among the more radical part of his constituency who were supposed to confront the violence-prone students was an irresponsible policy. Shortly thereafter, Venezuela’s state-run 8th TV channel demonstrated Goicoechea’s phone book with the US embassy phone and that of the US diplomat who worked with students. Goicoechea later stepped out of the spotlight, but there is surely still a place for him as a skilled color revolution activist in the CIA plans and we will see him stage a comeback. The US program of entraining students from affluent Venezuelan families stays on-line, though the tricks with white shorts, white paint on palms, etc. reflect a rather unimaginative attempt to replay past success stories.

NGOs like Provea, Cofavic, Centro de Derechos Humanos (in the Catholic University) Una Ventana a la Libertad, and Sinergia occupy the human rights advocacy niche. According to Chavez and his supporters, the groups, along with the opposition media, deliberately draw a distorted picture of what is happening in Venezuela, hammering just about every aspect of the country’s life, be it the situation within the army, the struggle against crime, the detention conditions, the workers’ employment terms, the environment, the Indian problems, etc. Activists from the above NGOs were spotted a number of times during transactions with CIA operatives who supply to them instructions and funds. The NGOs submit to the CIA lists of candidates for admission to courses teaching “self-defense” under the conditions of “instability”, which evidently means a provoked crisis.

The legitimacy of Venezuela’s electoral procedure is being permanently challenged. US puppeteers who used to say that Chavez had employed the national electoral council for ballot-rigging were instrumental in forming the NGO known as Sumate. María Corina Machado, a defeated candidate in the 2002 presidential race, headed Sumate in 2002. Predictably, she called into question the outcomes of essentially all elections and referendums in Venezuela, for example, that of the 2004 referendum in which Chavez smashingly won 60% of the vote. The image of Sumate suffered a heavy blow when it transpired that money – occasionally, tens of millions of US dollars – was fed to the group on a regular basis by NED. Chavez accused Sumate of conspiracy in the wake of the revelations. Machado personally met with US President G. Bush at the peak of her career, but her prestige was irreversibly eroded. In 2005, the Venezuelan office of the general prosecutor charged Sumate with exerting pressure on the authority and receiving funds from an organization controlled by the US Congress, but the case, after a series of re-openings, finally stalled in court.

The activity of NGOs in Venezuela continued completely unchecked over the first decade of Chavez’s rule, while the police and counter-espionage agency were constantly discovering that the confidants of the US and other Western countries in Venezuelan NGOs collected information of military importance across the country or surveyed its regions bordering Columbia, Brazil, and Guyana. It should also be noted that foreign intelligence services are keenly interested in Venezuela’s Amazonia, and environment-protection NGO activists are spying in the parts of the country formerly frequented by US preachers from the New Tribes Mission. Some 30 secret aerodromes in the zone of their activity were used to illegally carry out Venezuelan gold, diamonds, precious metals, and, according to several accounts, uranium. The latter circumstance may be paradoxically related to the concerns voiced by Bush’s and Obama’s Administrations over Venezuela’s allegedly existing secret uranium mines with Iranian workers on staff.

An end was put to the untamed activity of NGOs – the US Trojan Horses in Venezuela – in December, 2010 when the parliament of the country passed a law on the protection of political sovereignty and national self-determination. The legislation was backed by the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) and predictably met with resistance mounted by the opposition which actually thrives on foreign donations. By the law, groups are subject to sanctions for drawing money from abroad with the aims of destabilizing Venezuela or undermining the present authority. If caught red-handed, NGO activists would have to pay in fines twice the amount received from other countries or even face the loss of political rights for 5-8 years. Moreover, fines and deportation now await foreign nationals involved in funding subversive NGO activities in Venezuela.

With the financial transparency regulations for NGOs now in place, there is hope that the level of corruption in Venezuela’s politics will visibly go down, but it should be realized that the channels via which NED, USAID and their like pour millions of dollars into the country have not been fully severed. As noted by Eva Golinger, a person extremely knowledgeable about CIA operations against Venezuela, the easiest way to smuggle currency into the country is to have it delivered by diplomatic mail.

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2012/02/20/us-trojan-horses-in-venezuela.html

 

 

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