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Ex-CIA Agent Reveals how Venezuelan “Students” Get Putschist Training

Aporrea | News of  the Restless

March 25, 2014

By 

Entrevista a Raúl Capote

Who is this man, and why does the CIA fear him? Because they thought he was one of theirs, and it turns out he’s quite the opposite. And now he’s spilling the beans on them. Read on:

In a recent interview in Havana, a former CIA collaborator, Cuban Raúl Capote, revealed the strategy of the CIA in Venezuelan universities to create the kind of destabilizing opposition student movement the country is currently facing. He also discusses media manipulation, and alleges that one of the U.S. diplomats that President Maduro expelled from Venezuela last September was in fact a CIA agent. The following translation and notes were made by Sabina C. Becker. Original interview in Spanish here.

Raúl Capote is a Cuban. But not just any Cuban. In his youth, he was caught up by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). They offered him an infinite amount of money to conspire in Cuba. But then something unexpected for the US happened. Capote, in reality, was working for Cuban national security. From then on, he served as a double agent. Learn his story, by way of an exclusive interview with the Chávez Vive magazine, which he gave in Havana:

Q. What was the process by which you were caught up?

It started with a process of many years, several years of preparation and capture. I was leader of a Cuban student movement which, at that time, gave rise to an organization, the Saiz Brothers Cultural Association, a group of young creators, painters, writers, artists. I worked in a city in southern-central Cuba, Cienfuegos, which had characteristics of great interest to the enemy, because it was a city in which an important industrial pole was being built at the time. They were building an electrical centre, the only one in Cuba, and there were a lot of young people working on it. For that reason, it was also a city that had a lot of young engineers graduated in the Soviet Union. We’re talking of the last years of the 1980s, when there was that process called Perestroika. And many Cuban engineers, who arrived in Cuba at that time, graduated from there, were considered people who had arrived with that idea of Perestroika. For that reason, it was an interesting territory, where there were a lot of young people. And the fact that I was a youth leader of a cultural organization, which dealt with an important sector of the engineers who were interested in the arts, became of interest to the North Americans, and they began to frequent the meetings we attended. They never identified themselves as enemies, or as officials of the CIA.

Q. Were there many of them, or just always the same person?

Several. They never presented themselves as officials of the CIA, nor as people who had come to cause trouble, or anything.

Q. And who do you suppose they were?

They presented themselves as people coming to help us and our project, and who had the ability to finance it. That they had the chance to make it a reality. The proposal, as such, sounded interesting because, okay, a project in the literary world requires that you know a publisher, that you have editorial relations. It’s a very complex market. And they came in the name of publishers. What happened is that, during the process of contact with us, what they really wanted became quite evident. Because once they had made the contact, once they had begun frequenting our meetings, once they began to promise financing, then came the conditions for being financed.

Q. What conditions did they demand?

They told us: We have the ability to put the markets at your disposal, to put you on the markets of books or sculpture or movies or whatever, but we need the truth, because what we’re selling in the market, is the image of Cuba. The image of Cuba has to be a realistic one, of difficulties, of what’s going on in the country. They wanted to smear the reality of Cuba. What they were asking is that you criticize the revolution, based on anti-Cuba propaganda lines, which they provided.

Q. How big was these people’s budget?

They came with an infinite amount of money, because the source of the money, obviously, we found out over time from whence it came. For example, there was USAID, which was the big provider, the overall contractor of this budget, which channeled the money via NGOs, many of them invented just for Cuba. They were NGOs that didn’t exist, created solely for this type of job in Cuba, and we’re talking thousands and thousands of dollars. They weren’t working on small budgets. To give you an example, at one time, they offered me ten thousand dollars, just to include elements of anti-Cuba propaganda, in the novel I was writing.

Q. What year are we talking about?

Around 1988-89.

Q. How many people could have been contacted by these people, or captured?

In reality, their success didn’t last long, because in Cuba there was a culture of total confrontation with this type of thing, and the people knew very well that there was something behind that story of them wanting to “help” us. It was nothing new in the history of the land, and for that reason, it was very hard for them to get to where we were. In a determined moment, around 1992, we held a meeting, all the members of the organization, and we decided to expel them. They weren’t allowed to attend any more of our meetings. Those people, who were already coming in with concrete proposals, and also preconditioned economic aid they were giving us. What happened is that at the moment we did that, and rejected them, we expelled them from the association headquarters, then they started to particularize. They began to visit with me, in particular, and other comrades as well, young people. With some they succeeded, or should I say, they succeeded in getting some of them out of the country as well.

Q. What kind of profile were they looking for, more or less, if any kind of profile could be specified?

They wanted, above all at that time, to present Cuba as a land in chaos. That socialism in Cuba had not managed to satisfy the needs of the population, and that Cuba was a country that socialism had landed in absolute poverty, and which, as a model, no one liked. That was the key to what they were pursuing, above all, at that time.

Q. How long were you an agent of the CIA?

We were in this initial story until 1994. Because in 1994, I went to Havana, I came back to the capital and here, in the capital, I began to work for the Union of Cultural Workers, a union which represented the cultural workers of the capital, and I became more interesting yet to them, because I went on to direct — from being a leader of a youth organization with 4,000 members, to directing a union with 40,000 members, just in the city of Havana. And then, it gets much more interesting. Contacts followed. In that period there appeared a woman professor from a new university who came with the mission of kick-starting the production of my literary work, to become my representative, to organize events.

Q. Can you give her name?

No, because they used pseudonyms. They never used real names. And that type of work, promoting me as a writer, was what they were very interested in, because they wanted to convert me into a personality in that world. Promoting me now, and compromising me with them in an indirect manner. And then, in 2004, there arrived in Havana a person well known in Venezuela, Kelly Keiderling. Kelly came to Havana to work as Chief of the Office of Press and Culture. They set up a meeting. they arranged a cocktail party, and at that party I met with 12 North American functionaries, North Americans and Europeans. They weren’t only North Americans. All of them people with experience, some also inside the Soviet Union, others who had participated in training and preparation of the people in Yugoslavia, in the Color Revolutions, and they were very interested in meeting me. Kelly became very close to me. She began to prepare me. She began to instruct me. I began to receive, from her, a very solid training: The creation of alternative groups, independent groups, the organization and training of youth leaders, who did not participate in the works of our cultural institutions. And that was in 2004-5. Kelly practically vanished from the scene in 2005-6. And when I started to work, she put me in direct contact with officials of the CIA. Supposedly, I was already committed to them, I was ready for the next mission, and they put me in touch with Renee Greenwald, an official of the CIA, who worked with me directly, and with a man named Mark Waterhein, who was, at the time, the head of Project Cuba, of the Pan-American Foundation for Development.

This man, Mark, as well as directing Project Cuba, had a direct link to Cuba, in terms of financing the anti-revolutionary project, as well as being involved in working against Venezuela. That is, he was a man who, along with much of his team of functionaries of that famous project, also worked against Venezuela at that time. They were closely connected. At times it took a lot of work to tell who was working with Cuba, and who was not, because many times they interlocked. For example, there were Venezuelans who came to work with me, who worked in Washington, who were subordinates of the Pan-American Foundation and the CIA, and they came to Cuba to train me as well, and to bring provisions. From there arose the idea of creating a foundation, a project called Genesis.

Genesis is maybe the template, as an idea, of many of the things going on in the world today, because Genesis is a project aimed at the university youth of Cuba. They were doing something similar in Venezuela. Why? The idea was to convert universities — which have always been revolutionary, which have produced revolutionaries, out of those from which many of the revolutionaries of both countries came — and convert them into factories for reactionaries. So, how do you do that? By making leaders. What have they begun to do in Venezuela? They sent students to Yugoslavia, financed by the International Republican Institute (IRI), which was financed by USAID and by the Albert Einstein Institute, and sent them, in groups of ten, with their professors.

Q. Do you have the names of the Venezuelans?

No, we’re talking of hundreds being sent. I spoke with the professor, and watched one group and followed the other. Because they were working long-term. The same plan was also in place against Cuba. Genesis promoted, with in the university, a plan of training scholarships for Cuban student leaders and professors. The plan was very similar. Also, in 2003, they prepared here, in Havana, a course in the US Interests Section, which was called “Deposing a leader, deposing a dictator”, which was based on the experience of OTPOR in removing Slobodan Milosevic from power. And that was the idea, inside the Cuban university, to work long-term, because these projects always take a long time in order to reap a result. For that reason, they also started early in Venezuela. I believe as well — I don’t have proof, but I believe that in Venezuela it began before the Chávez government, because the plan of converting Latin American universities, which were always sources of revolutionary processes, into reactionary universities, is older than the Venezuelan [Bolivarian] process, to reverse the situation and create a new right-wing.

Q. Did the CIA only work in Caracas?

No, throughout Venezuela. Right now, Genesis has a scholarship plan to create leaders in Cuba. They provide scholarships to students to big North American universities, to train them as leaders, with all expenses paid. They pay their costs, they provide complete scholarships. We’re talking 2004-5 here. It was very obvious. Then, those leaders return to university at some time. They’re students. They go to end their careers. Those leaders, when they end their student careers, go on to various jobs, different possibilities, as engineers, as degree-holders in different sectors of Cuban society, but there are others who go on constantly preparing leaders within the university. One of the most important missions of the university leaders was to occupy the leadership of the principal youth organizations of the university. In the case of Cuba, we’re talking about the Union of Communist Youth, and the University Student Federation. That is, it was not to create parallel groups at that time, but to become the leaders of the organizations already existing in Cuba. Also, to form a group of leaders in the strategies of the “soft” coup. That is, training people for the opportune moment to start the famous “color revolutions” or “non-violent wars”, which, as you well know, have nothing to do with non-violence.

Q. What were they looking for in a professor, in order to capture them?

Professors are very easy. Identify university professors discontented with the institution, frustrated people, because they considered that the institution did not guarantee them anything, or didn’t recognize their merits. If they were older, even better. They didn’t specify. Look for older persons, so you can pick them. If you send a scholarship plan, or you send it and, first crack, they receive an invitation to participate in a great international congress of a certain science, they will be eternally grateful to you, because you were the one who discovered their talent, which has never been recognized by the university. Then that man you sent to study abroad, if you’re from his university, and participating in a big event, and publish his works, and constructing him a curriculum. When that person returns to Cuba, he goes back with a tremendous curriculum, because he has participated in a scientific event of the first order, has passed courses from big universities, and his curriculum reaches to the roof, then the influence he could have in the university will be greater, because he could be recognized as a leading figure in his specialty, even though in practice the man could be an ignoramus.

Q. And how effective were these types of captures, that type of missions they came to accomplish here?

In the case of Cuba, they didn’t have much of a result. First, because there was a most important reason, because I was the one directing the project, and I, in reality, was not an agent of the CIA, I was an agent of Cuban security, and so, the whole project passed through my hands, and they thought I was the one who would execute it. And the plan always passed through the work I was able to do, and what we did was slow it down as much as possible, knowing right away what was being planned. But just think, the goal of their plan, they were calculating for the moment in which the historic figures of the Revolution would disappear. They were figuring on a five- or ten-year term, in which Fidel would disappear from the political scene, and Raúl, and the historic leaders of the land. That was the moment they were waiting for, and when that happened, I was to leave university, with all the support of the international press and that of the NGOs, USAID, and all the people working around the CIA’s money, and that there would arise an organization which would present itself before the light of the public, as an alternative to what the Revolution was doing. That is what was to have happened with the Genesis Foundation for Freedom.

Q. What is that Foundation?

The Genesis Foundation for Freedom was to have a discourse, apparently revolutionary, but the idea was to confuse the people. The idea is that they would say they were revolutionaries, that what they wanted was to make changes in the government, but, when it comes to practice, when you get to the essence of the project, when you ask yourself “What is the project?” the discourse was, and the project was, exactly the same as those of the traditional right-wing. Because the changes they promoted, were the same that the right-wing, for a long time, has been promoting in the country. In practice, they almost had their big opportunity, according to their criteria, in 2006, when the news came out on TV that Fidel, for health reasons, was stepping down from his governmental responsibilities, and they have always said that the Cuban Revolution would die when Fidel died. Because the Revolution was Fidel, and on the day Fidel was no longer there, either by dying or leaving government, the next day the Revolution would fall. And they calculated that there would be internal confrontations, that there would be discontent with this or that. Calculations that I don’t know where they got them from, but they believed it. And in that moment, they believed that the time had come to act.

Q. We’re talking about 2006. What was the plan?

They called me automatically. We met, the CIA station chief and I, here in Havana. Diplomatic functionaries also showed up, and one of them said to me, we’re going to organize a provocation. We’re going to organize a popular uprising in a central neighborhood in Havana. There will be a person going there to rise up for democracy, and we’re going to execute a group of provocations, in different locations, in such a way that Cuban security forces will be forced to act against these people, and later we’ll start a big press campaign and start explaining how all of this will function. The interesting part of that, what really caught my attention, was this: How was it possible that a functionary of the US Interests Section could have the power to call upon the principal media, and that those people would obey with such servility? It was really attention-getting. The idea was — and I even told them this — what you’re telling me is just crazy. This man you mentioned to me, called Alci Ferrer — the guy they picked, a young agent, a doctor — they picked him to be the ringleader of the uprising. I told them, that guy won’t budge anyone. No one is going to rise up in the centre of Havana. The date they picked was none other than Fidel’s birthday, and they told me that day! And I said, Look, buddy, if that man, on that day, decides to go make proclamations, or to start some kind of uprising in the middle of Havana, the people are going to respond harshly. It’s even possible that they might kill him. Why, how could you put him in a humble working-class neighborhood to start those things, the locals…And he told me, flat out, the best thing that could happen for us is if they kill that man, it would be perfect, and they explained to me what would happen. All he had to do was provoke. They would go into the street, and there would be a clash there. If that happened, the press would do the rest, and they told me, we’re going to start a huge media campaign to demonstrate that there is chaos in Cuba, that Cuba is ungovernable; that in Cuba, Raúl is unable to hold the reins of government; that the civilian population is being killed; that students are being repressed in the street, and the people in the street, that the police are committing crimes. What a resemblance to Venezuela! It’s not a coincidence. It’s like that.

Q. So, what was supposed to happen in those circumstances?

Once all the opinion matrices were created, and all the media matrices had constructed that image, the whole world was supposed to have the image of Cuba as a great disaster, and that they’re killing the people, that they are killing them all. Then, my organization was to complete the final task.

Q. What was the final task?

Well, to gather the international press, in my capacity as a university professor, and as a writer, and as a leader of that organization, that I go out publicly to ask the government of the United States to intervene in Cuba, to guarantee the lives of the civilians and to bring peace and tranquility to the Cuban people. To speak to the country in the name of the Cuban people. Just imagine that!

That plan fell apart on them. It gave them no result, but as you could see, later, the way the war in Libya went, and the way it was set up. More than 80% of the information we saw, was fabricated. They’re doing the same in Syria, and they’ve done the same in Ukraine. I have had the opportunity to converse with a lot of Ukrainians, since they were in the bases. People in favor of uniting with Europe. I tried to talk with them these days. Trying to find out, what are those processes like? And they were surprised at the images which were transmitted around the world. What happened in Miami, and they themselves said so, but we’ve been protesting there, but those things that appear on TV, that was a group, or rather, there were sectors, there were places where there were right-wing groups, of the very far right, where there were incidents of that type, and where they burned things, but the greater part of the demonstrations didn’t have those characteristics. Or that this is, once more, the repetition of the scheme, using all the communication media.

Q. The relationship between the CIA and the embassies, in the respective lands, are they direct, then?

Yes, completely direct. In every embassy in Latin America, all the US embassies have CIA officials, working within them, using the façade of diplomatic functionaries.

Q. From what you know, is there a greater CIA presence in the region?

Well, at a certain moment, Ecuador was a major power in that, it had a strong concentration of them, and of course, Venezuela, because in 2012, when I attended the Book Fair in Caracas, all those people who had worked with me against Cuba, all the CIA officials, including Kelly Keiderling, were in Caracas at that time. And I was on a TV show, on VTV, where we talked about this subject, being very careful, because we were talking about two countries who have relations. That’s not the case with Cuba, or rather, Cuba has no relations with the United States. That’s a declared enemy. But we were talking about functionaries who had diplomatic relations, and it was very awkward to do it, without having concrete proofs you could present. However, the interview happened, and the denunciation was made of what was going on. Kelly Keiderling is an expert in this type of war. I have not the slightest doubt. When one follows the itinerary she has, in the countries where she’s been, and when I was in that type of conflict.

She has toured a series of countries in the world where very similar situations have occurred, like what she tried to do in Venezuela. And when you analyze Venezuela, and what has happened nowadays and the way in which she has acted, I think that in Venezuela, the characteristic that has been that they are tremendously aggressive in the manipulation of the information. Tremendously aggressive. To the point where you say it’s a blunder, because there are images which are so obviously not from Venezuela. I saw a very famous one, in which a soldier appears with a journalist, with a camera.They are Koreans. It’s an image from Korea. They’re Asian. They don’t look like Venezuelans at all. Also, the uniforms they wear. They’ve been very aggressive with that image which has projected what’s going on in Venezuela to the world. The greater part of the world’s people, this image is the one they’re seeing, of what they’re trying to say.

Q. They control the media. Do you know any case of any journalist which has been, as you have seen, known or unknown, which you have seen in the process of training?

No.

Q. CNN, for example?

No, there was a guy who had a lot of ties to me at the time here, who served as a link for meeting an official from the CIA., Antony Golden, of Reuters. But, all right, he was an element independent of Reuters. CNN has always been very closely linked to all these things. CNN, from its first moments of operation, above all this latest step, and above all, CNN en Español, has been an indispensable tool for these people, but the problem is that you have to understand one thing: to understand what’s going on, and to be able to mount a campaign, you have to understand that nowadays, there is no TV station that acts on its own. There are the conglomerates, and the communications conglomerates — who directs them? Because, for example, Time Warner and AOL, and all those big communications companies — cable TV, movie TV, TV in general — who is the boss, in the end? Here it’s Westinghouse, there it’s General Electric. The same who build warplanes, the same US arms industry, the same people who are the owners of TV networks, movie studios, publications, book publishers. So, the same guys who produce warplanes, the cookie you’ll eat at night, that presents an artist to you, are the same who rule the newspapers of the entire world. Who do these people answer to?

Q. When you see what’s happening in Venezuela, and you compare it with what you did here [in Cuba], what conclusion can you draw?

It’s a new strategy, which they’ve been developing based on the experience they’ve had all over the world, but I see, I’m convinced, that they’ve only gotten results when people in those places don’t support the revolution. They managed it with Milosevic, because Milosevic was a Yugoslavian leader whose image had fallen far, thanks to things that happened in Yugoslavia. The same happened in Ukraine, because Yanukovych was a man with very little popular support, and it has given results in other places where the governments had little support from the people. Wherever they have a legitimate government, a solid government, and people disposed to defend the revolution, the plan has failed on them.

Q. And what phase do they enter when the plan fails?

They’re going to keep on doing it, they’ll go on perfecting it. We are the enemy. That is, Venezuela, Cuba, everything going on in Latin America as an alternative. We are the dissidents of the world. We live in a world dominated by capitalism. Where that new capitalist way of being dominates, so that now one can’t even call it imperialist, it’s something new, something that goes way beyond what students of Marxism wrote in history years ago. It’s something new, novel. It’s a power, practically global, of the big transnationals, of those megalopolies they’ve created. Therefore, we are the enemy. We are presenting an alternative project. The solution that the world proposes to us, is not that. We know how to do it, and Cuba, Venezuela, the ALBA countries, have demonstrated that it can be done, that one or two days more are nothing. The Cuban revolution has been in existence for 55 years, and with political will, it has achieved things that the US government, with all the money in the world, has been unable to do. So that’s a bad example.

And I’ve told my students: Can you imagine that the Indignants in Spain, the thousands and millions of workers out of work in Spain, that the Greeks, that all those people in all the world, know what we’re doing? Can you imagine that these people get to know who Chávez is? Or who Fidel is? Or of the things we’re doing here? Or the things we’re doing with so few resources, only the will to make revolution and share the wealth? What will happen to capitalism? How much longer will capitalism last, which has to spend billions of dollars, every day, to build its image and fool the people? What would happen if the people knew who we really are? What is the Cuban Revolution, really, and what is the Venezuelan Revolution? Because, if you talked to a Spaniard and asked him about Chávez, and he gives you a terrible opinion of Chávez, because it’s what they’ve constructed in his mind/ And you meet an unemployed person who tells you that Chávez is a bad guy, because the media have convinced him of that, but if these people knew how things really were! So they can’t allow that such formidable enemies as ourselves should be there, at the door.

Q. From the viewpoint of the national sovereignty of our people, how can we stop the CIA? We’ve already talked about the consciousness of the people, which is fundamental in these types of actions, but, in the concrete, how does one foresee the CIA’s work? What can be done? What recommendations do you have?

I think of a thing that Chávez said, and that Fidel has always said, that is the key to defeating the empire, and that is unity. It’s not a slogan, it’s a reality. It’s the only way you have of defeating a project like that. A project that comes from the Special Services and from capitalism. One can only do it with the unity of the people.

Q. Are we talking about the civilian-military?

Yes, unity in all senses. Unity based in diversity, in the peoples, but unity as a nation, unity as a project. Wherever the people are divided, there is another reality.

Q. Where do they have to concentrate? In what area must they concentrate forces to defend us from this type of actions, this type of attacks?

The army to defeat that is the people. I believe that the Cuban experience has taught that very well. There are experiences in the world which mark you very clearly. What has happened in the world, when the people have not been protagonists in defence of the Revolution? And when the people have been protagonists, what happened? And there’s the case of Cuba. We have managed to defeat the CIA and the empire millions of times, because the people have been the protagonist.

Q. Does the CIA use the databases of the social networks, and that sort of thing, to define their plans?

They’re the masters. They’re the masters of that. Fine, there are the denunciations of Snowden and all that has come out of Wikileaks, and all those things that are no secret to anyone, because we suspected, but it’s been demonstrated. It’s been demonstrated that the servers, the Internet, are theirs. All the servers in the world, in the end, die in the North Americans’ servers. They are the mother of the Internet, and all the networks and services are controlled by them. They have access to all the information. And they don’t hesitate to record it. Facebook is an extraordinary database. People put everything on Facebook. Who are your friends? What are their tastes, what movies have they seen? What do they consume? And it’s a source of firsthand information.

Q. Have you been in contact with Kelly Keiderling, after what happened in Venezuela?

No, I haven’t had contact with her. I don’t know what was her final destination, after what happened (she was expelled from Venezuela for meeting with and financing terrorists).

Q. With the experience she has, how far was she able to penetrate into Venezuela, and Venezuelan universities?

I am certain that she got quite far. She’s a very intelligent agent, very well prepared, very capable, and very convinced of what she’s doing. Kelly is a person convinced of the job she is doing. She is convinced of the justness, from her point of view, of what she is doing. Because she is an unconditional representative of capitalism. Because she comes from capitalism’s elite. She is organic of the actions she is doing. There is no contradiction of any kind. And, based on the experience of her work, of her capability, I am sure that she managed to get very far, and gave continuity to a job which is not just for now, it’s a job she will go on doing for a long time, to reverse the process in Venezuelan universities. What’s going on is that up to whatever point they can reach, in the long term, that is what will show the Bolivarian process, in the measure of which the people are aware of what could happen. If that fascist right wing becomes uncontrollable, it could get into power again.

Q. What kind of person who has contacts, who could reach the people, such as by being an activist in a movement, could be captured by the CIA?

They will find them, they will try to do it. If it’s a young person and a leader, they will try to capture them for their interests. We have to train our leaders. We can’t leave that to spontaneity, we can’t leave that to the enemy. So, if we leave them to the enemy, those are spaces which the enemy will occupy. Any alternative project that we leave unattended, any alternative project that we don’t realize the necessity of getting close to, that is a project that the enemy will try, by all means, to take advantage of. Using the enormous amount of money they have for that, which has no limits, in terms of resources to be used, because they are playing with the future and, above all, the young are the key.

The good thing is that the young are the present of Latin America. The Latin American revolution which is there, which is everywhere, is of the young. If not, fine, it will never have results, and if you manage to make young people think differently, if you succeed in getting these youngsters to believe that savage capitalism is the solution to all their problems, then there will be no revolution for Latin America. It’s that simple.

USAID & the Cuban Five: Criminalizing Counterterrorism, Legalizing Regime Change

RT

By Nile Bowie

June 16, 2014

A mural, depicting five Cuban agents held in prison in the U.S. for over ten years, in Havana (Reuters / Enrique de la Osa)

Posters with portraits of five Cubans jailed in the United States – Rene Gonzalez Sehwerert, Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo, Fernando Gonzalez Llort, Ramon Labanino Salazar and Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez – are dispayed in front of the Cuba’s Consulate during a demonstration in support of Cuban revolution in Sao Pablo, Brazil (AFP Photo / Nelson Almeida)

The plight of five imprisoned Cuban counterterrorism officers, known collectively as the Cuban Five, has been the subject of a growing campaign to lobby Congress in favor of releasing the men.

The five officers were monitoring Cuban exile groups based in Miami with an established track record of orchestrating terrorist acts inside Cuba. The group had informed US authorities of their actions, and were not in possession of any weapons, nor did they engage in any act of espionage against the US or cause harm to any person.

In September 1998, the five officers were arrested by FBI agents and were accused of conspiracy to commit espionage. Their trial, which lasted over six months, became the longest in US history. Though the group was never directly accused of espionage, nor were any acts of espionage committed, the five Cuban men were sentenced to a total of four life sentences plus 77 years.

No fair trial

The men were initially kept in solitary confinement for 17 months, and were later imprisoned in five separate maximum-security prisons spread across the US without the possibility of communication with each other. Their case represents the first time in US history that life sentences were meted out on espionage charges.

The consensus among various legal experts and advocacy groups is that political and partisan considerations worked against justice and the five Cuban men were not given a fair trial. The trial was held in Miami, a region that is synonymous with maintaining open hostility toward the Cuban government, making it incredibly difficult to seat an impartial jury in such a politically charged atmosphere.

According to reports, the US government commissioned several Miami-based journalists to write negative stories to discredit the five defendants, which were widely publicized to influence public opinion. Moreover, the US government even recognized in writing that it was unable to substantiate the conspiracy to commit murder charges against Gerardo Hernandez, one of the five defendants.

During the lengthy appeals process, a three-judge panel in 2005 overturned all of the convictions on the grounds that the defendants had not received a fair trial in Miami, but Washington pressured the Court of Appeals in 2006 to reverse the decision.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention also concluded that the imprisonment of the group was arbitrary, and urged the US government to correct the situation. Despite dissenting opinions from judges in the Court of Appeals, the US Supreme Court intervened in 2009 to announce its decision not to review the case of the five Cuban nationals, despite strong arguments made by their defense attorneys.

USAID Subversion in Latin America Not Limited to Cuba

Che-Guevara-Cuba-Drawings-On-The-Wall-Graffiti-720x1280

cepr

April 4, 2014

by Dan Beeton

A new investigation by the Associated Press into a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) project to create a Twitter-style social media network in Cuba has received a lot of attention this week, with the news trending on the actual Twitter for much of the day yesterday when the story broke, and eliciting comment from various members of Congress and other policy makers. The “ZunZuneo” project, which AP reports was “aimed at undermining Cuba’s communist government,” was overseen by USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI). AP describes OTI as “a division that was created after the fall of the Soviet Union to promote U.S. interests in quickly changing political environments — without the usual red tape.” Its efforts to undermine the Cuban government are not unusual, however, considering the organization’s track record in other countries in the region.

As CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot described in an interview with radio station KPFA’s “Letters and Politics” yesterday, USAID and OTI in particular have engaged in various efforts to undermine the democratically-elected governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Haiti, among others, and such “open societies” could be more likely to be impacted by such activities than Cuba. Declassified U.S. government documents show that USAID’s OTI in Venezuela played a central role in funding and working with groups and individuals following the short-lived 2002 coup d’etat against Hugo Chávez. A key contractor for USAID/OTI in that effort has been Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI).

More recent State Department cables made public by Wikileaks reveal that USAID/OTI subversion in Venezuela extended into the Obama administration era (until 2010, when funded for OTI in Venezuela appears to have ended), and DAI continued to play an important role. A State Department cable from November 2006 explains the U.S. embassy’s strategy in Venezuela and how USAID/OTI “activities support [the] strategy”:

(S) In August of 2004, Ambassador outlined the country team’s 5 point strategy to guide embassy activities in Venezuela for the period 2004 ) 2006 (specifically, from the referendum to the 2006 presidential elections). The strategy’s focus is: 1) Strengthening Democratic Institutions, 2) Penetrating Chavez’ Political Base, 3) Dividing Chavismo, 4) Protecting Vital US business, and 5) Isolating Chavez internationally.

Among the ways in which USAID/OTI have supported the strategy is through the funding and training of protest groups. This August 2009 cable cites the head of USAID/OTI contractor DAI’s Venezuela office Eduardo Fernandez as saying, during 2009 protests, that all the protest organizers are DAI grantees:

¶5. (S) Fernandez told DCM Caulfield that he believed the [the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations Corps’] dual objective is to obtain information regarding DAI’s grantees and to cut off their funding. Fernandez said that “the streets are hot,” referring to growing protests against Chavez’s efforts to consolidate power, and “all these people (organizing the protests) are our grantees.” Fernandez has been leading non-partisan training and grant programs since 2004 for DAI in Venezuela.”

The November 2006 cable describes an example of USAID/OTI partners in Venezuela “shut[ting] down [a] city”:

11. (S) CECAVID: This project supported an NGO working with women in the informal sectors of Barquisimeto, the 5th largest city in Venezuela. The training helped them negotiate with city government to provide better working conditions. After initially agreeing to the women’s conditions, the city government reneged and the women shut down the city for 2 days forcing the mayor to return to the bargaining table. This project is now being replicated in another area of Venezuela.

The implications for the current situation in Venezuela are obvious, unless we are to assume that such activities have ended despite the tens of millions of dollars in USAID funds designated for Venezuela, some of it going through organizations such as Freedom House, and the International Republican Institute, some of which also funded groups involved in the 2002 coup (which prominent IRI staff publicly applauded at the time).

The same November 2006 cable notes that one OTI program goal is to bolster international support for the opposition:

…DAI has brought dozens of international leaders to Venezuela, university professors, NGO members, and political leaders to participate in workshops and seminars, who then return to their countries with a better understanding of the Venezuelan reality and as stronger advocates for the Venezuelan opposition.

Many of the thousands of cables originating from the U.S. embassy in Caracas that have been made available by Wikileaks describe regular communication and coordination with prominent opposition leaders and groups. One particular favorite has been the NGO Súmate and its leader Maria Corina Machado, who has made headlines over the past two months for her role in the protest movement. The cables show that Machado historically has taken more extreme positions than some other opposition leaders, and the embassy has at least privately questioned Súmate’s strategy of discrediting Venezuela’s electoral system which in turn has contributed to opposition defeats at the polls (most notably in 2005 when an opposition boycott led to complete Chavista domination of the National Assembly). The current protests are no different; Machado and Leopoldo López launched “La Salida” campaign at the end of January with its stated goal of forcing president Nicolás Maduro from office, and vowing to “create chaos in the streets.”

USAID support for destabilization is no secret to the targeted governments. In September 2008, in the midst of a violent, racist and pro-secessionist campaign against the democratically-elected government of Evo Morales in Bolivia, Morales expelled the U.S. Ambassador, and Venezuela followed suit “in solidarity.” Bolivia would later end all USAID involvement in Bolivia after the agency refused to disclose whom it was funding in the country (Freedom of Information Act requests had been independently filed but were not answered).  The U.S. embassy in Bolivia had previously been caught asking Peace Corps volunteers and Fulbright scholars in the country to engage in espionage.

Commenting on the failed USAID/OTI ZunZuneo program in Cuba, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) commented that, “That is not what USAID should be doing[.] USAID is flying the American flag and should be recognized around the globe as an honest broker of doing good. If they start participating in covert, subversive activities, the credibility of the United States is diminished.”

But USAID’s track record of engaging in subversive activities is a long one, and U.S. credibility as an “honest broker” was lost many years ago.

U.S. Turning into Latin America’s Backyard

Strategic Culture Foundation Feb 2, 2014 by Nil NIKANDROV

maduro  President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro speaks during the second Summit of The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in Havana, Cuba, on Jan. 29, 2014. The CELAC has declared the region a nuclear-free zone, Cuban leader Raul Castro announced Wednesday on the final day of the summit in Havana. (Xinhua/AVN)

The second summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) January 28-29 aroused great interest, first and foremost because this organization of Western Hemisphere countries does not include the U.S. or Canada. The Community was created after multiple attempts by countries in the region to democratize the Organization of American States (OAS), which is under the strict control of the U.S. and has more than once been used for repressive purposes against regimes undesirable to Washington. Attempts by the Bush and Obama administrations to use the OAS to «finish off the Castro regime», «neutralize» Hugo Chavez, etc. totally compromised this previously reliable tool of the Empire. It was Chavez who in the last years of his life worked on reforming regional organizations and creating counterweights to the United States in the Western Hemisphere. In accomplishing this complex task he was assisted by Argentinian leader Nestor Kirchner, Brazil’s Inacio Lula da Silva, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and other statesmen of Latin America. The first CELAC forum, in which 33 countries participated, took place in Caracas in December 2011, and Chavez, in a speech at its opening, plainly declared that this political alliance was being created in order to «become the most influential center of power in the 21st century». He was supported by many presidents. Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega spoke the most decisively, stating that the existence of CELAC is «the death sentence for the Monroe Doctrine». The State Department declared its position with regard to CELAC in 2011 as well, stating that it would continue «to work through the OAS as the preeminent multilateral organization speaking for the hemisphere». Washington is trying not to permit the formation of competing centers of power in the region. It is using all the means at its disposal and focusing on the tried and true strategy of «divide and conquer». There is a «fifth column» of conservative presidents who serve the interests of the oligarchs and monopolies and, keeping their own personal interests in mind, follow in the wake of Washington. When needed, these U.S. allies can be used to block any decision of CELAC, considering the principle of unanimity set down in the founding documents. Raul Castro, president of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba, became the president of CELAC in 2013. When taking the reins from his predecessor, Chile’s Sebastian Pinera, Castro stated that he would work for the good of peace, justice, development and mutual understanding between all the peoples of the Latin American continent. «We will act in full accordance with the norms of international law, the Charter of the UN and the basic principles of interstate relations», said Castro. The Cubans have worked fruitfully to prepare around thirty documents for the summit in Havana. Of great significance for the strengthening of CELAC’s authority is a declaration affirming that Latin America and the Caribbean Basin remain a zone free from nuclear weapons. Of great significance for the strengthening of CELAC’s authority is a declaration affirming that Latin America and the Caribbean Basin remain a zone free from nuclear weapons.This document was adopted in addition to the Treaty of Tlatelolco (1967), which prohibited nuclear weapons in the region. This is because the treaty was being systematically violated by the United States and England, whose atomic submarines would anchor off the coast of the continent fully armed. Information that nuclear warheads are being stockpiled at the English military base at Mount Pleasant on the Maldives, with the agreement of the Pentagon, is also troubling. The 70 U.S. military bases located in the region are a threat to peace as well. Some of them are functioning at full capacity (for example, in Colombia and Honduras), while others have been set aside for the future. The base at Guantanamo, Cuba has long ago become a symbol of the «fascisization» of the United States. The prisoners there, who are being held without due process, are subjected to physical and psychological torture. Many have urged the Obama administration to stop this inhuman practice, but as always, there has been no reaction. It was confirmed at the summit that controversies and conflicts between CELAC member countries would be resolved through negotiations in order to be permanently rid of the use of force in regions where there are old territorial disputes. There were also discussions, traditional for Latin American conventions, of such topics as fighting hunger, poverty, social inequality and drug trafficking. Here there have been positive changes, first of all in the countries of ALBA, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America. Solidarity with Cuba and the condemnation of the U.S. economic blockade is another constant topic of Latin American forums. This fundamental position is also set down in the documents of the summit. Several speeches condemned U.S. mass espionage, especially by the NSA. Surveillance was (and is) being conducted of all the countries of the region without exception. Even such seemingly trusted allies as Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica are under the magnifying glass of U.S. intelligence. The necessity of creating an electronic communications system which is well-protected from outside intrusion and a «Latin American Internet» was spoken of in particular by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. The creation of a China-CELAC forum was approved. The topic of China at the summit testifies to the great success of China’s financial and economic penetration into the region. The scale of Beijing’s work toward undermining U.S. dominance in the Western Hemisphere is stunning. Practically all of the countries on the continent, from Belize to Uruguay and from Mexico to Chile, have thrown open their doors to Chinese capital. More and more frequently the opinion is heard that the U.S. is a colossus with feet of clay. Therefore the stake of both «right» and «left» Latin American governments on China is justified. The Latin Americans are deftly making use of the geopolitical confrontation between the old (decrepit) and new superpowers for their own interests. The discussion at the summit of the possibility of granting Puerto Rico full membership in CELAC also has negative implications for the U.S. This is practically a declaration of the need to grant Puerto Rico independence. Its semi-colonial status as a «free associated state» is a holdover from the past. Patriotic forces in Puerto Rico have been resisting imperial dictates for decades. The support of CELAC gives them additional opportunities to debunk manipulations in the propaganda war trying to prove that the citizens of Puerto Rico «en masse» are in favor of turning their country into yet another U.S. state. The Obama administration organized a counter-summit in Miami using ultra-right activists in order to distract attention from what is going on at the Havana forum.The Obama administration organized a counter-summit in Miami using ultra-right activists in order to distract attention from what is going on at the Havana forum. The initiators of the event were the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL), organizations created by the CIA for conducting subversive operations. In this particular case, people who have long ago been revealed to be terrorists and paid agents of U.S. intelligence are doing the Empire’s dirty work, attacking Cuba and Latin American «populists». Among them is Carlos Alberto Montaner, who calls himself a «publicist». His career as a «bombista» began in the first years of the Cuban revolution. Many people in movie theaters and shopping centers in Havana have died by his hand. Ramon Saul Sanchez is no different; he is a former member of the terrorist group Omega 7 who organized a bombing at the Cuban consulate in Montreal and threw explosives into the car of the Cuban Ambassador to the UN. Julio Rodriguez Salas, a former Venezuelan military officer and an agent of U.S. military intelligence, can boast of similar feats; he participated in the plot to overthrow Chavez in April 2002. 

How the West Manufactures “Opposition Movements”

WKOG admin.: Feb 6, 2014. Due to conflicting assessments of the complicated political situation in Thailand, we would like to share with our readers alternative analysis that differ, or are in stark contrast from, the authors assessment in the article below.We welcome your comments.

Dec 3, 2013: THE ROVING EYE, Thai protests turn a darker color, by Pepe Escobar

Feb 5, 2014: Thailand: The People Have Spoken – No Confidence in Regime or Systemby Tony Cartelli

From Egypt, Ukraine, the Turkish-Syrian border, Cuba and Thailand

Counterpunch

FEBRUARY 03, 2014

by ANDRE VLTCHEK

Government buildings are being trashed, ransacked. It is happening in Kiev and Bangkok, and in both cities, the governments appear to be toothless, too scared to intervene.

What is going on? Are popularly elected administrations all over the world becoming irrelevant; as the Western regime creates and then supports thuggish ‘opposition movements’ designed to destabilize any state that stands in the way of its desire to fully control the planet?

Thirty Years After the U.S. Invasion of Grenada, the First Neoliberal War

Zero Anthropology

October 28, 2013

by Maximilian Forte

grenada_invasion

U.S. forces in Grenada in 1983

This past Friday, October 25, marked the 30th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Grenada. There were many meanings and consequences of that invasion, not just for Grenada itself, or for the wider Caribbean region (including the increased militarization of the region in the aftermath, the importation of U.S. national security doctrine, and the scandalous collaborationism embodied by Dominica’s then Prime Minister, Eugenia Charles, and Barbados’ then Prime Minister, Tom Adams–and the advent of the Caribbean Basin Initiative), but also meanings and consequences for the onset of the “new world order” of the post-Cold War period which was just a few years away. (From a personal perspective, the revolutions in Grenada and Nicaragua, where I spent months in the 1980s, formed an important foundation of my own development and impelled me in certain directions with my own studies.)

On the Eve of an Illegal Attack on Syria, Avaaz/350.org Board Members Beat the Drums of War

“Here’s the awful truth: even if every person, every automobile, and every factory suddenly emitted zero emissions, the earth would still be headed, head first and at full speed, toward total disaster for one major reason. The military produces enough greenhouse gases, by itself, to place the entire globe, with all its inhabitants large and small, in the most imminent danger of extinction.” — Barry Sanders, The Green Zone

Today’s commentary by Cory Morningstar, WKOG Collective

August 30, 2012

AVAAZ3

Appalling.

350.org’s Van Jones (U.S. Advisory Council Board member and NRDC trustee), is calling for airstrikes on Syria. [CNN Video below.]

From the 350.org website:

“Van Jones is a globally recognized, award-winning pioneer in human rights and the clean-energy economy. He is a co-founder of three successful non-profit organizations: The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change and Green For All. Jones is the best-selling author of the definitive book on green jobs, The Green-Collar Economy. He served as the green jobs advisor in the Obama White House in 2009. Jones is currently the President of Rebuild the Dream.” [Emphasis added.]

Never has the legacy of Ella Baker been so disgraced. Ella, today, spinning in her grave, once conveyed to the world:

“Remember, we are not fighting for the freedom of the Negro alone, but for the freedom of the human spirit a larger freedom that encompasses all mankind.”

Ella would surely spit on Van Jones if she were alive today.

350.org’s Ricken Patel (350.org International Advisory Council member – and Avaaz founder) is also pounding the drums of  war. Just 4 days ago, on August 22, 2013, Patel himself urged Avaaz supporters to demand world leaders “place a no-fly zone over Syria.” Those who comprise Avaaz are already up to their necks – in the blood of the Libyan people who they helped annihilate. [Further reading: Did Libya’s Citizens Demand Foreign Intervention? A ridiculous question, yet according to Avaaz, the answer is yes.]

The following link is Google’s cache of the Avaaz/Patel campaign to demand a no fly zone (https://secure.avaaz.org/en/syria_no_fly_zone/). It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on 22 Aug 2013 18:08:13 GMT: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:vzBe8PMa7H8J:https://secure.avaaz.org/en/syria_no_fly_zone/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca&client=firefox-a

Screenshots of Patel’s email:

AVAAZ1

AVAAZ2

Of course, organizations such as Avaaz and 350.org/1Sky, are created and financed by the very fraudsters that the World Bank whistleblower, Karen Hudes, warns us about. [WORLD BANK WHISTLEBLOWER ON SYRIA [THE IRAN, IRAQ, SYRIA PIPELINE PROJECT]

The notorious war criminal, George Bush, first used the term “axis of evil” in his State of the Union Address on January 29, 2002. He repeated the term throughout his presidency, to describe the governments that he accused of helping “terrorism” and seeking “weapons of mass destruction”. Media perpetually echoed the message until it sunk into the American psyche. Iran, Iraq and North Korea were the key “Axis of Evil” countries targeted for demonization.

Perhaps forgotten is that the “Beyond the Axis of Evil” countries included Cuba, Libya, & Syria.

The demonization of the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, (distinguished guest of U.S. Colombia University, 2006) was never so skillfully orchestrated.

The public lapped it up.

Over a million dead and counting.

Today, “The Axis of Evil” psyops (still drilled into the Euro-American psyche) has been coupled, if not superseded, with the manufacturing of fear. Add to this orchestrated fear, the “Humanitarian Intervention” and “Responsibility to Protect” doctrines. The crème de le crème of imperial rhetoric. Such doctrines, created by American “think-tanks”, for the elite, by the elite, are of critical use for a declining and morally bankrupt empire. An empire that brilliantly attempts to convince and portray, utilizing the language within these doctrines, that the atrocities they manufacture, call for, and carry out, are somehow honourable and admirable – as opposed to what they actually are: crimes against humanity. Orwell would have called this psychopathic persistence a stunning feat in doublespeak.

Many so-called civil society organizations/NGOs have been instrumental in making these doctrines palatable to the public.

The empire really needs you to believe.

Don’t.

Above: The video that Avaaz et al did not want you to see. “That a million Libyans came out and filled Green Square, under the threat of NATO bombing, to show their support for Muammar al-Gaddafi was easily overlooked. A seduced person, a person who is loving the thrill of being seduced, no longer has any use for truth or facts.” [The “Arab Spring” and the Seduction of the Western Left]

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Political Context, Counterpunch, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.]

 

Further Reading on 350.org:

Rockefellers’ 1Sky Unveils the New 350.org | More $ – More Delusion

Why I Refuse to Promote Bill McKibben

The Climate Cartel: 1Sky, 350.org and Rockefeller Brothers | Stronger as One

Tar Sands Action & the Paralysis of a Movement | Part I

Obedience – A New Requirement for the “Revolution”

Unravelling the Deception of a False Movement

When Will Environmentalists Ever Wake Up? The Great Pipeline Scam

Keystone XL | The Ivory Towers Crushing the Last Remnants of Climate Justice

SumOfUs are Corporate Whores | Some Of Us Are Not

The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard | Truth, Lies, Racism & Omnicide

Designer Protests and Vanity Arrests in DC

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse | Part I

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part II

Working for Warren: Corporate Greens

Further Reading on Avaaz:

The Grotesque and Disturbing Ideology at the Helm of Avaaz

SPEAKING TRUTH: A Profound Message to Avaaz from Poet Gabriel Impaglione of Argentina

Argentine Journalist Stella Calloni Denounces Avaaz | Latin American Unions Follow Her Lead

Avaaz: Empire Propaganda Mill Masquerading as Grassroots Activism

Rio Summit “Good Versus Evil” Advert Displays Blatant Racism and Imperialism at Core of Avaaz

Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part I, Section I

Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part I, Section II

Through the Looking Glass

Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part I, Section III

Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I

Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II

Stella Calloni: Disinformation Against Syria is Criminal

Statement of the Revolutionary Government: Farewell, Commander

Statement of the Revolutionary Government: Farewell, Commander

March 5, 2013

Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations

It was with profound and searing grief that our people and the Revolutionary Government learned about the decease of President Hugo Chávez Frías and are therefore preparing to pay a heartfelt and patriotic tribute to him, for he will go down in history as a Hero of Our America.

We convey our sincere condolences to his parents, brothers, daughters and son as well as all of his relatives, whom we feel are already ours, for Chávez is also a son of Cuba, Latin America, the Caribbean and the whole world.

In this moment of profound sorrow, we share our deepest feelings of solidarity with the brother people of Venezuela, whom we will continue to accompany under any circumstances.

The Bolivarian Revolution will be able to count on our resolute and unrestricted support at these difficult moments.

We reiterate our support, encouragement and confidence in victory to our comrades of the Bolivarian political and military leadership and the Venezuelan Government.

President Chávez has been waging an extraordinary battle throughout his young and fruitful life.  We will always remember him as a patriotic military to the service of Venezuela and the Bigger Homeland; as an honest, clear-sighted, audacious and courageous revolutionary fighter; as a leader and supreme commander in whom Bolivar reincarnated in order to conclude what he had left unfinished; as the founder of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America and the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States.

His heroic and indefatigable struggle against death is an insuperable example of firmness.  The admirable commitment shown by his doctors and nurses have been a feat of humanism and dedication.

The return of the President to his beloved Venezuelan homeland changed the course of history.  “We have a homeland”, he exclaimed, filled with emotion, on December 8 last, and he returned to his homeland to confront the biggest risks imposed by his disease.  Nothing and no one could ever take away from the Venezuelan people the homeland that they have recovered.

The work of Chávez emerges undefeated before our eyes.  The achievements attained by the revolutionary people who saved him from the coup orchestrated on April of 2002, who have followed him without hesitations, are already irreversible.

The Cuban people considers him to be one of its most outstanding sons and has admired, followed and loved him as if he were its own. Chávez is also Cuban! He also suffered our difficulties and problems and did everything he could, with extraordinary generosity, especially during the harshest years of the Special Period.  He accompanied Fidel as a true son and forged a very close friendship with Raúl.

He excelled in all the international battles against imperialism, always in defense of the poor, the workers and our peoples.  Filled with passion, persuasively, eloquently, ingeniously and excitedly he spoke from the roots of the peoples; he sang our joys and recited our passionate verses with ever-lasting heroism.

The tens of thousands of Cubans who work in Venezuela will pay tribute to him through the fervent accomplishment of the international duty and will continue to accompany, with honor and altruism, the heroic deeds of the Bolivarian people.

Cuba will remain forever loyal to the memory and the legacy of Commander President Chávez and will continue to pursue his ideals in favor of the unity of the revolutionary, integration and independence forces of Our America.

His example will guide us in our future battles.

Ever Onwards to Victory!

 

The world mourns Chavez with respectful states (Haiti, Cuba, Uruguay, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Peru, Belarus, Iran, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, China and Nigeria) decreeing multiple days of national mourning.

The following is a list of articles/tributes (in progress)(no particular order):

  1. Evo Morales: Chavez is More Alive than Ever, Prensa Latina, La Paz, March 6, 2013
  2. Images: En fotos y videos: las impresionantes tomas aéreas de la despedida del presidente Hugo Chávez, Noticias24, Venezuela
  3. Chavez’s Triumph, by ANDRE VLTCHEK, Counterpunch, March 6, 2013
  4. El comandante has left the buildingBy Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, March 6, 2013
  5. Hugo Chavez: New World Rising – Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report, March 6, 2013
  6. Not One Step Backward, Ni Un Paso Atrás, Preparing for a Post-Chávez Venezuelaby George Ciccariello-Maher, Counterpunch, March 6, 2013
  7. HUGO CHAVEZ, EL LIBERTADOR, Mohawk Nation News, March 6, 2013
  8. Hugo Chávez kept his promise to the people of Venezuela – Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Guardian.co.uk, March 6, 2013
  9. On the Legacy of Hugo Chávez, Greg Grandin, The Nation, March 5, 2013  The Achievements of Hugo Chavez, by Carles Muntaner, Joan Benach, Maria Paez Victor, Counterpunch, Dec 14-16, 2012
  10. Two Deaths in Venezuela Weightier than Mount Tai, onkwehonwerising, March 6, 2013
  11. Cuba: Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro’s Lost Heir, Havana Times, March 5, 2013
  12. Cuba Mourns Hugo Chavez, Havana Times, March 6, 2013
  13. The War You Don’t See, John Pilger
  14. Statement of the Revolutionary Government: Farewell, Commander – Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations, Wrong Kind of Green., March 6, 2013
  15. Hugo Chavez 1954-2013, Jody McIntyre, March 6, 2013
  16. Hugo Chavez – undefeated, Derrick O’Keefe, Green Left, March 6, 2013
  17. Hugo Chavez’ legacy in Haiti and Latin America,  Kim Ives, Haiti Liberte, March 6, 2013
  18. Hugo Chavez: How he brought heating oil to Native Americans, Censored News, March 6, 2013
  19. Robert Free ‘Remembering Hugo Chavez’ Part II Amazon, Censored News, March 6, 2013
  20. Hugo Chavez, Dream Maker, Eva Golinger, Venezuelan Analysis, March 7, 2013
  21. Chavez Isn’t Dead, He Lives On with Bolivar and Mart, Elio Delgado Legon, Havana Times, March 7, 2013
  22. A Salute to Hugo Chavez: Revolutionary, Ally, Martyr, Percy Francisco Alvarado Godoy , Descubriendo verdades, March 7, 2013
  23. “Comandante, donde esté usted, gracias, mil veces gracias”: Nicolás Maduro, Cuba Debate, March 5, 2013
  24. Excellent Compilation of articles, Venezuelan Analysis
  25. Chávez’s Chief Legacy: Building, with People, an Alternative Society to Capitalism, Marta Harnecker, Monthly Review, March 7, 2013
  26. Chavez Beats the Devil, Again, Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report, October 9, 2012
  27. In Death as in Life, Chávez Target of Media Scorn, His independence, help for Venezuela’s poor will not be forgiven, Fair Media Advisory, March 6, 2013
  28. Chavez, une autre victime de la CIA?, Iran French Radio, March 7, 2013
  29. Outpouring of Solidarity Statements and Condolences for the Venezuelan People [+Photos], Venezuelan Analyses
  30. The Chávez victory will be felt far beyond Latin America, Seumas Milne , The Guardian, October 9, 2012
  31. Venezuela orders U.S. Embassy attache to leave country, LA Times, March 5, 2013
  32. Chavez, Craig Murray, March 6, 2013
  33. Remembering Hugo Chavez: An Eternal Friend of the Caribbean, Kevin Edmonds, NACLA, March 7, 2013
  34. Hugo Chavez was a humble man who transformed the world – Rick Rozoff, John Robles, March 7, 2013
  35. Hugo Chavez, Anti-Imperialist Stalwart: 1954-2013, Antonio Moren, Anti-Imperialism.com, March 7, 2013
  36. Malcolm X Grassroots Movement & New Afrikan People’s Organization Statement on the Passing of President Hugo Chavez Frias, March 8, 2013, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
  37. U.S. and Canada Isolated as Latin American Leaders Acknowledge Chávez’s Regional Leadership, March 8, 2013, Sara Kozameh, Center for Economic and Policy Research
  38. Hugo Chávez Frías: An Unforgettable and Victorious Permanence, Maximilian Fort, Zero Anthropology, March 8, 2013
  39. Comunicado, Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, March 8, 2013
  40. “Commander, they could not beat you, they will never beat us”, Caracas, March 8, 2013, AVN.
  41. A red salute to Comrade Hugo Chavez!, Red Youth, March 6, March 8, 2013
  42. Mohawk Women rallied with Hugo Chavez against Colonial Oppression,  Censored News, March 8, 2013
  43. Why Do Venezuelan Women Vote for Chavez?, Maria Paez Victor, Counterpunch, April 25th 2012
  44. Hugo Chavez proves you can lead a progressive, popular government that says no to neo-liberalism, Owen Jones, The Independent, Oct 8, 2012
  45. The Future of the Human Race | The Most Eloquent Speech to the United Nations in 2011, Canadians for Action on Climate Change, Nov 18, 2011
  46. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Chavez: Inside the Coup [If there was ever an inspiring  film – this is it. If you have never watched it before it is essential viewing. It clearly demonstrates how imperative it is to understand manipulation by media, who are, like the non-profit industrial complex, an extension of hegemonic rule. Further, the film demonstrates the power of the people when it is understood that power concedes nothing without demand.]

Recommended websites:

BOLIVIA: “THIS IS A COP OF CLIMATE CHANGE NOT A COP OF CARBON TRADE”

December 4, 2012

Censored News

 
UNBALANCED NEGOTIATIONS AND VERY PARTIAL VISIONS
Bolivia continues the fight against carbon markets, and the bias that prevents the voice of developing countries from being heard

By Plurinational State of Bolivia
Censored News

DOHA, Qatar — 4 December 2012 — During the plenary of Cooperation Actions of Long Term (ACL), or table of financing that summarizes the prospect of this working group, the text of conclusions has been proposed, which supposedly reflect the positions and proposals of countries forming part of the working group.

However the Vice-Chancellor of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Juan Carlos Alurralde said, “The text was imbalanced and did not include the position and proposals of developing countries, since it was not adaptation, transfer of technology, attention to disaster, or financing that were the fundamental agreements in Bali,” said Alurralde.

“Ironically in the document are the mechanisms based on the carbon market, and exclude the proposal uploaded for Bolivia, the mechanism of no market within financing, a topic of great concern for those who support this proposal, countries such as China, Cuba, Egypt, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, India, Iraq, Iran, Malaysia, Mali, Sudan, Venezuela and others,” said the Vice Chancellor.

“These had not considered the proposal to not market, by the Facilitator, who is Chilean. This concerned the Vice-Chancellor, since no one wants to think that there is some sort of discrimination or bilateral rematch, to an issue such as the sea that is bilateral.”

“However it is very evident that the facilitator of the ACL has overlooked entirely the proposals to not market, that’s why Bolivia with a very strong position going to trace the theme and raise the formation of working groups that raise profound decisions, and does listen to the voices of the world” pointed out Alurralde.

Regarding the actions to be taken by Bolivia, the Vice Chancellor noted that: “Bolivia has a very strong visible voice and together with the countries that worked on the proposals to not market, will hear criticisms to the head of the ACL group and the respective claim to the facilitator, to organize in working groups that make listening to the voice of our countries to the world and this Conference negotiators, urged the Vice-Chancellor.

BOLIVIA: “THIS IS A COP OF CLIMATE CHANGE NOT A COP OF CARBON TRADE”

UNIDAD MADRE TIERRA Y AGUA / MINISTERIO DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES ESTADO PLURINACIONAL DE BOLIVI
DOHA, Qatar — December 4th

The day of the COP inauguration, a conference about CARBON TRADE took place facilitated by Nicholas Stern. The event had the presence of ministers and other authorities of different countries. Surprisingly the center of the discussion was how to allow developed countries that are not going to be part of the second commitment period of KP to have access to market mechanisms of the same KP that they deny to be applicable to them.

Another central issue was how to solve the crisis of the carbon market. Half of the 100 billion dollars to be provided for climate change by 2020 would come from carbon credits, commented Mr. Stern. The collapse of prices in carbon market is a menace to financial provision for climate change, expressed Stern. A dynamic debate took place in the event in order to bring solutions to the carbon crisis.

This debate is beginning to dominate the agenda of discussion in COP18, pushed by developed countries. Are we going to allow this COP about climate change to become a COP of carbon trade?

That was a question raised by Juan Carlos Alurralde the Vice Chancellor of Bolivia, who was present in the conference. When he took the floor he expressed the following words: “… Carbon markets are not a solution to the climate change crisis… Instead of discussing one of the instruments for supporting mitigation actions, which is carbon markets.; I repeat: ONE of the instruments which effectiveness is still pending of analysis, but from our view is a complete mistake, instead of that, we should discuss the structural elements of a comprehensive response to Climate Change Crisis.
It’s seems that developed countries are more interested in the carbon markets business that in the ultimate goal of this conference which is the structural solutions for this planet and future generations Carbon markets are just business for some but a bad solution for Mother Earth, facilitating developed countries not to make real domestic reductions.

We have to say that at least four realistic predictable risks are linked to the application and generalization of carbon markets: 1. Double counting implying an additional 1,6 Gigatones (GT) to the atmosphere. 2. Non aditionalities with an increase of 0,4 GT Gigatones 3. The use of the carry over which implies 11 GT 4.

The opening of opportunities for creating bilateral trading carbon agreements without accounting for the rules, monitoring and regulation. We came from very far to try to find solutions and alternatives to bring the opportunity to future generations to live with dignity in this planet, and definitely the Carbon market mechanisms are not the solution…”

End to USAID Spying Looms in Latin America

Nil NIKANDROV

September 26, 2012

Strategic Culture Foundation

“In June 2012, foreign ministers of the ALBA bloc countries passed a resolution on USAID. It read: «Citing foreign aid planning and coordination as a pretext, USAID openly meddles in sovereign countries’ domestic affairs, sponsoring NGOs and protest activities intended to destabilize legitimate governments which are unfavorable from Washington’s perspective. …In most ALBA countries, USAID operates via its extensive NGO networks, which it runs outside of the due legal framework, and also illicitly funds media and political groups.”

 

The ejection of USAID from Russia was a long-awaited and welcome development. Moscow has repeatedly warned its US partners via an array of channels of communication that the tendency of USAID to interfere with Russia’s domestic affairs was unacceptable and, particularly, that the radicalism of its pet NGOs in the Caucasus would not be tolerated. When, on October 1, the decision made by the Russian leadership takes effect, the Moscow-based USAID staff which has been stubbornly ignoring the signals will have to pack and relocate to other countries facing allegations of authoritarian rule…

In Latin America, USAID has long earned a reputation of an organization whose offices are, in fact, intelligence centers scheming to undermine legitimate governments in a number of the continent’s countries. The truth that USAID hosts CIA and US Defense Intelligence Agency operatives is not deeply hidden, as those seem to have played a role in every Latin American coup, providing financial, technical, and ideological support to respective oppositions. USAID also typically seeks engagement with the local armed forces and law-enforcement agencies, recruiting within them agents ready to lend a hand to the opposition when the opportunity arises.

To varying extents, all of the Latin American populist leaders felt the USAID pressure. No doubt, Venezuela’s H. Chavez is the number one target on the USAID enemies list. Support for the regime’s opponents in the country shrank considerably since the massive 2002-2004 protests as the nation saw the government refocus on socioeconomic issues, health care, housing construction, and youth policies. The opposition had to start relying more on campaigns in the media, around 80% of which are run by the anti-Chavez camp. Panic-provoking rumors about imminent food supply disruptions, overstated reports about the crime level in Venezuela (where, actually, there is less crime than in most countries friendly to the US), and allegations of government incompetence in response to technological disasters which became suspiciously frequent as the elections drew closer are bestowed on the audiences as a part of the subversive scenario involving a network of Venezuelan NGOs. In some cases, the membership of the latter can be limited to 3-4 people, but, coupled to strong media support, the opposition can prove to be an ominous force. Pro-Chavez commentators are worried that USAID agents will contest the outcome of the vote and, synchronously, paramilitary groups will plunge Venezuelan cities into chaos to give the US a pretext for a military intervention.

USAID is known to have contributed to the recent failed coup in Ecuador, during which president R. Correa narrowly escaped an assassination attempt. Elite police forces heavily sponsored by the US and the media which made use of the liberal free speech legislation to smear Correa were the key actors in the outbreak. Subsequently, it took Correa serious efforts to get a revised media code approved in the parliament contrary to the USAID-lobbied resistance.

Several bids to displace the government of Evo Morales clearly employed the USAID operative potential in Bolivia. According to journalist and author Eva Golinger, USAID poured at least $85m into destabilizing the regime in the country. Initially, the US hoped to achieve the desired result by entraining the separatists from the predominantly white Santa Cruz district. When the plan collapsed, USAID switched to courting the Indian communities with which the ecology-oriented NGOs started to get in touch a few years before. Disorienting accounts were fed to the Indians that the construction of an expressway across their region would leave the communities landless, and the Indian protest marches to the capital that followed ate away at the public standing of Morales. It transpired shortly that many of the marches including those staged by the TIPNIS group, had been coordinated by the US embassy. The job was done by embassy official Eliseo Abelo, a USAID curator for the Bolivian indigenous population. His phone conversations with the march leaders were intercepted by the Bolivian counter-espionage agency and made public, so that he had to escape from the country while the US diplomatic envoy to Bolivia complained about the phone tapping.

In June 2012, foreign ministers of the ALBA bloc countries passed a resolution on USAID. It read: «Citing foreign aid planning and coordination as a pretext, USAID openly meddles in sovereign countries’ domestic affairs, sponsoring NGOs and protest activities intended to destabilize legitimate governments which are unfavorable from Washington’s perspective. Documents released from the US Department of State archives carry evidence that financial support had been provided to parties and groups oppositional to the governments of ALBA countries, a practice tantamount to undisguised and audacious interference on the US behalf. In most ALBA countries, USAID operates via its extensive NGO networks, which it runs outside of the due legal framework, and also illicitly funds media and political groups. We are convinced that our countries have no need for external financial support to maintain the democracy established by Latin American and Caribbean nations, or for externally guided organizations which try to weaken or sideline our government institutions». The ministers called the ALBA leaderships to immediately deport USAID representatives who threaten the sovereignty and political stability of the countries where they work. The resolution was signed by Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Paul J. Bonicelli was confirmed by the US Senate as the USAID Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean last May. Former USAID chief Mark Feuerstein gained such notoriety in Latin America as the brain behind the ousters of the legitimate leaders of Honduras and Paraguay that the continent’s politicians simply had to learn to avoid him. The USAID credibility is increasingly drying up, and it is unlikely that Bonicelli, a PhD and a conservative, will be able to reverse the tendency. His record includes heading various USAID divisions and «promoting democracy» in concert with the US National Security Council.

Bonicelli’s views are reflected in his papers in the Foreign Policy journal. To Bonicelli, Chavez is not a democrat but a leader eager to get rid of all of his opponents. The new USAID boss holds that, apart from the drug threat, Chavez – having inspired populist followers in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua – poses the biggest challenge to the US interests in Latin America. Bonicelli therefore urges the US to prop up the Venezuelan opposition in every way possible, providing material support and training, so that it can maximally take part in elections and civilian activities.

Another paper by Bonicelli portrays Russia’s present-day evolution as grim regress and a slide towards «neo-Tsarism». Based on the perception, Bonicelli argues that the West should hold Russia and its leaders accountable in whatever concerns freedom and democracy – even if freedom in the country is important to just a handful of people – and cites the case of Poland where the US used to stand by Lech Wa??sa.

Chances are slim that a reform of USAID would restore the agency’s credibility in Latin America. Sticking to a trimmed list of priorities, USAID axed a few minor programs and shut down its offices in Chile, Argentine, Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Panama, with Brazil next in line. USAID believes that the above countries are already in reasonable shape and no longer need assistance, so that the agency can throw its might against its main foes – the populists and Cuba, and do its best to have the politicians unfriendly to Washington removed across the Western Hemisphere. The stated USAID budget for Latin America is $750m, but estimates show that the secret part of the funding, which is leveraged by the CIA, may total twice the amount.