We have read with interest the Guardian’s interview with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro published this past week. It is clear how extensive the impact of the WikiLeaks and Snowden revelations has been: people who have been paying attention to what has been revealed about the US Government’s global police-state operations are seeing right through the lies coming out of Washington in an endless stream.
No longer are people wondering ‘if” the United States is involved in destabilization efforts aimed at those governments the US does not like; everyone KNOWS that if any government is facing opposition from the right, the United States Embassy in that country is probably at the center of the unrest. From the Ukraine to Venezuela, wherever the global investments of the US capitalist class are threatened, the US Government of that capitalist class is swinging into action with every weapon in their arsenal, from the seemingly innocuous (to the unaware) Agency for International Development to the CIA, NSA and the US Military.
Maduro credits WikiLeaks with having revealed documentary proof that the US Government is behind the right-wing provocateurs organizing street violence against the Maduro government. Maduro told the Guardian that Venezuela has been on the receiving end of a type of ” ‘unconventional war that the US has perfected over the last decades’, citing a string of US-backed coups or attempted coups from 1960s Brazil to Honduras in 2009.”
“Speaking in the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, the former bus driver and trade union leader said Venezuela’s opposition had ‘the aim of paralysing the main cities of the country, copying badly what happened in Kiev, where the main roads in the cities were blocked off, until they made governability impossible, which led to the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine.’ The Venezuelan opposition had, he said, a ‘similar plan’”:
“They try to increase economic problems through an economic war to cut the supplies of basic goods and boost an artificial inflation”, Maduro said. “To create social discontent and violence, to portray a country in flames, which could lead them to justify international isolation and even foreign intervention.”
“Pointing to the large increases in social provision and reduction in inequality over the past decade and a half, Maduro said: ‘When I was a union leader there wasn’t a single programme to protect the education, health, housing and salaries of the workers. It was the reign of savage capitalism. Today in Venezuela, the working class is in power: it’s the country where the rich protest and the poor celebrate their social wellbeing.’ “
[Source: The Guardian (UK): "Venezuela protests are sign that US wants our oil, says Nicolás Maduro", by Seumas Milne and Jonathan Watts, 8 April 2014]
These statements show that if Maduro’s bourgeois reformist government hasn’t taken the proper steps to lead the Venezuelan working class in a revolutionary struggle to overthrow capitalism in Venezuela, it’s not because they are unaware of the magnitude of the financial and political attacks coming from Washington, D.C. In fact, the Guardian article makes it clear that Maduro is bedazzled by the kid gloves of the US’ mailed fist: NGOs peddling “peaceful, democratic reforms” in Venezuela, and is prepared to allow that Trojan Horse of counterrevolution – the Vatican – to work its “magic” in a “peace process” that will negotiate a “settlement” between the vicious, greedy Venezuelan capitalist class and the Venezuelan workers. No compromise is possible between the working class and the exploiting capitalist class! Venezuelan workers: arm yourselves and prepare to overthrow capitalism in Venezuela! And if the Maduristas continue to bar the path to workers socialist revolution, they will have to be pushed aside as well! Those who seek compromise with the capitalists are the enemies of the working class!
Last week, the Associated Press revealed that the supposedly benign United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – a US government agency that publicly pretends to be a “no strings attached” organization that provides food assistance and other forms of non-political aid – was actually behind a secret program to create social unrest in Cuba with the ultimate aim of overthrowing that Stalinist degenerated workers state.
As usual, the Democratic Party rushed to the assistance of USAID, which they cherish as one of their most effective propaganda operations and weapons in the US capitalist class never-ending efforts to crush militant workers movements wherever they arise. Obscenely, the Cuban government’s propaganda mouthpiece, Granma, favorably quoted anticommunist US Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy’s and lapped up the crocodile tears he shed over the revelations:
“Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy from Vermont, chairman of the Senate sub-committee overseeing State Department and Foreign Operations, said that the revelations were troubling.
” ‘There is the risk to young, unsuspecting Cuban cellphone users who had no idea this was a U.S. government-funded activity,’ he pointed out.” As if this craven servant of the US capitalist class gives a shit about the rights of Cuban workers – or any workers anywhere in the world!”
[Source: Granma: "Revelations about U.S. Operations in Cuba corroborate President Raúl Castro’s assertions", 4 April, 2014]
Leahy and the rest of the Democrats want you to believe that USAID’s running a secret destabilization program against Cuba is some kind of anomalous activity for this organization: it is no such thing! USAID has been running covert operations against workers all over the world since its inception; they were an integral component of the US Government’s war crimes in Vietnam, having participated in the infamous counterinsurgency and “pacification” programs in Vietnam. USAID has been repeatedly embroiled in military assistance and “drug control” programs that the US Government has used to make an “end run” around those rare US Congressional bans on direct US military aid to death-squad governments.
1: REPORT TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES: SURVEY OF INTERNAL AUDITS AND INSPECTIONS RELATING TO UNITED STATES ACTlVlTIES IN VIET NAM (1966)
2: REPORT TO THE CONGRESS: Suggestions For Changes In U.S. Funding And Management Of Pacification And Development Programs In Vietnam (1972)
President Maduro was not imagining things when he said that WikiLeaks had proof of US organization of antigovernment programs in Venezuela: the Guardian’s Seumas Milne, in an article his paper published on 9 April, provided a link to one such document from the US State Department Cables provided to WikiLeaks by working class hero Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning:
USAID/OTI PROGRAMMATIC SUPPORT FOR COUNTRY TEAM 5 POINT STRATEGY
Here we read about the US Agency for International Development’s “Office of Transition Initiatives” – a.k.a. “Office of Overthrowing Governments the US Capitalist Class Doesn’t Like”.
What is this supposedly “non-partisan” US Governmental agency doing in Venezuela? Money is no object for USAID: in 2009, according to the WikiLeaks State Department cables, it asked for a budget of $10,000,000.00 (up from $7 million the previous year) to spend on “transition initiatives” in Venezuela. Let’s read the opening paragraphs of the USAID/OTI document we posted above:
“1. (S) During his 8 years in power, President Chavez has
systematically dismantled the institutions of democracy and
governance. The USAID/OTI program objectives in Venezuela
focus on strengthening democratic institutions and spaces
through non-partisan cooperation with many sectors of
“2. (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.
“3. (S) A brief description of USAID/OTI activities during
the aforementioned time period in support of the strategy
“5. (S) OTI has supported over 300 Venezuelan civil society
organizations with technical assistance, capacity building,
connecting them with each other and international movements,
and with financial support upwards of $15 million. Of these,
39 organizations focused on advocacy have been formed since
the arrival of OTI; many of these organizations as a direct
result of OTI programs and funding.
“6. (S) Human Rights: OTI supports the Freedom House (FH)
“Right to Defend Human Rights” program with $1.1 million.
Simultaneously through Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI),
OTI has also provided 22 grants to human rights
organizations, totaling $726,000. FH provides training and
technical assistance to 15 different smaller and regional
human rights organizations on how to research, document, and
present cases in situations of judicial impunity through a
specialized software and proven techniques [...]
“7. (S) Citizen Participation in Governance: Venezuelan
NGOs lack a long history of social activism. In response,
OTI partners are training NGOs to be activists and become
more involved in advocacy [...]
“8. (S) Civic Education: One effective Chavista mechanism
of control applies democratic vocabulary to support
revolutionary Bolivarian ideology. OTI has been working to
counter this through a civic education program called
“Democracy Among Us”. This interactive education program
works through NGOs in low income communities to deliver five
modules: 1) Separation of Powers, 2) Rule of Law, 3) The
Role and Responsibility of Citizens, 4) Political Tolerance,
and 5) The Role of Civil Society. Separate civic education
programs in political tolerance, participation, and human
rights have reached over 600,000 people [...]
Penetrate Base/Divide Chavismo
9. (S) Another key Chavez strategy is his attempt to divide
and polarize Venezuelan society using rhetoric of hate and
violence. OTI supports local NGOs who work in Chavista
strongholds and with Chavista leaders, using those spaces to
counter this rhetoric and promote alliances through working
together on issues of importance to the entire community.
OTI has directly reached approximately 238,000 adults through
over 3000 forums, workshops and training sessions delivering
alternative values and providing opportunities for opposition
activists to interact with hard-core Chavistas, with the
desired effect of pulling them slowly away from Chavismo. We
have supported this initiative with 50 grants totaling over
$1.1 million. There are several key examples of this:
10. (S) Visor Participativo: This is a group of 34 OTI
CARACAS 00003356 003.2 OF 004
funded and technically assisted NGOs working together on
municipal strengthening. They work in 48 municipalities
(Venezuela has 337), with 31 MVR, 2 PPT and 15 opposition
mayors. As Chavez attempts to re-centralize the country, OTI
through Visor is supporting decentralization. Much of this
is done through the municipal councils (CLPPs). The National
Assembly recently passed a law that creates groups parallel
to the mayor’s offices and municipal councils (and that
report directly to the president’s office). These groups are
receiving the lions share of new monies Chavez is pumping
into the regions, leaving the municipalities under-funded.
As Chavez attempts to re-centralize all power to the
Executive in the capital, local Chavista leadership are
becoming the opposition as their individual oxen are gored.
Visor has been providing these leaders with tools and skills
for leadership to counter the threat represented by the new
We ask our readers to imagine the reaction of the US Government if ANY foreign government attempted to spend as much money causing political unrest inside the US!
Having been pointed in the direction of the WikiLeaks cables by Maduro and the Guardian, we thought we’d do a little searching for other USAID/OTI-tagged State Department Cables. We went to the WikiLeaks PlusD website and typed “USAID/OTI” into the “Keywords” search box and… presto! 195 State Department cables popped up!
There is some tantalizing information on USAID/OTI’s ops in Sri Lanka, where a savage campaign of mass murder was instituted by the Sri Lankan government against the Tamil Tigers revolutionary party; there are a lot of documents relating to African countries, particularly Chad and Sudan. There is plenty of evidence to show that USAID is up to its ears in US Government efforts to manipulate and channel political events in countries all over the world on to pathways that will fill the pockets of the US capitalist class with profits squeezed from the blood of the workers.
30May2003_SRI LANKA_ STATUS OF USAID-OFFICE OF TRANSITION INITIATIVES
In Venezuela, we see USAID/OTI throwing unlimited amounts of cash into purchasing politicians and manipulating elections.
2006_USAID-OTI VENEZUELA ELECTION RELATED ACTIVITIES
A major national scandal was triggered when it was discovered that the US-sponsored “Sumate” organization, which pretends to be “a vote-monitoring group” had accepted a $300,000.00 donation from the United States Government. The Chavistas accused the Sumate group’s leaders with treason and conspiracy; Sumate returned the money, saying that it was a grant from the US’ “National Endowment for Democracy”. The WikiLeaks Cables tell a different story: the Sumate money came from the US State Department’s “DRL”: their bogus “Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor”. Although their Wikipedia article claims that they get “94 %” of their support from “private Venezuelan interests”, when the Chavistas leveled treason charges at them, it was the US Embassy in Caracas that they ran to for support.
Comic relief department: one of the principal leaders of the “Sumate” group, one Maria Corina Machado states on her Wikipedia biography (next to her smiling photo op with GW Bush in the Oval Office) that her father was a “steel entrepreneur”. (And no, that does not mean that he repaired old pots and pans from a handcart on the streets of Caracas).
14AUG2006:_SUMATE ASKS FOR ASSISTANCE
9FEB2004_HUMAN RIGHTS STRATEGY FOR VENEZUELA
27MAR2009_REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDS TO HELP STRENGTHEN LOCAL GOVTS AND CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS
Here’s a bonus for those of you intrepid enough to have read all the way to the end of this article: a 27 August 2009 cable from Caracas alerting the State Department that a company called “Development Alternatives, Incorporated” (DAI), a front for the US Government through which the USAID/OTI office funneled millions of dollars to DAI, which ran agents for the US Government that were involved in organizing street protests against the Chavez government. On August 26, the Chavez government initiated an investigation into DAI, which was run by two US citizens, Eduardo Fernandez and Erin Upton. At issue were “unusually large cash transfers in 2007 and 2008″ that were run through DAI by USAID. “[T]his coincides with the December 2007 Constitutional Referendum and national state and local elections in 2008. The focus of the investigation will be the origin of these funds; DAI objectives in Venezuela; DAI fiscal status; and the destination of project funds.”
Having had the crap scared out of him by the Venezuelan government agents, even though, as the cable says, the officers “behaved in a polite and professional manner”, Fernandez immediately ran to the US Embassy for advice. “DAI runs a 20-person office consisting of two Amcits Fernandez and financial officer Erin Upton, and 18 Venezuelans as program development officers and clerical staff. [...] As part of its grant agreements, DAI commits to protect the identity of all grant beneficiaries. DAI files are structured so that financial information could be released without compromising identities. That said, DAI has 50 boxes of files on its premises that contain sensitive information and are vulnerable to seizure.
“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.
“Action Request ————– 7. (S) Post requests urgent guidance on the following issues: (1) whether Fernandez enjoys any immunity based on his official passport and visa, or whether he should appear before CICPC or any other Venezuelan authorities; (2 whether Mr. Fernandez should disclose any information and if so, what; (3) what DAI should do about its 50 boxes of files, some of which contain the names of persons directing DAI grantees; and (4) if Mr. Fernandez is considered to be working on behalf of the USG, should he remain in-country or to try to depart Venezuela before the September 1 police interview. “
28AUG2009_GBRV POLICE TARGET USAID-OTI-FUNDED DEMOCRACY PROGRAMS
For Workers Socialist Revolution in Venezuela! Workers of the World, Unite!