US Trying to Destabalize Venezuela
After the announcement last week that a new CIA unit is being put together to deal with Venezuela and Cuba, a Freedom of Information request has revelaed that millions of US taxpayer money is going to groups and individuals that we are not allowed to know about (the names are blacked out). Sounds like real clean democracy promotion doesn't it?
From the Mail and Guardian:
August 30, 2006
The United States government has been accused of trying to undermine the Chávez government in Venezuela by funding anonymous groups via its main international aid agency.
Millions of dollars have been provided in a "pro-democracy programme" that Chávez supporters claim is a covert attempt to bankroll an opposition to defeat the government.
The money is being provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAid) through its Office of Transition Initiatives. The row follows the recent announcement that the US had made $80-million available for groups seeking to bring about change in Cuba, whose leader, Fidel Castro, is a close ally of Chávez.
Information about the grants has been obtained following a Freedom of Information request by the Associated Press. USAid released copies of 132 contracts but obscured the names and other identifying details of nearly half the organisations.
The Office of Transition Initiatives, which also works in such "priority countries" as Iraq, Afghanistan, Bolivia and Haiti, has overseen more than $26-million in grants to groups in Venezuela since 2002.
Among the grants detailed in the information are: one for $47 459 for a "democratic leadership campaign"; $37 614 for citizen meetings to discuss a "shared vision" for society; and one of $56 124 to analyse Venezuela's new Constitution.
"What this indicates is that there is a great deal of money, a great deal of concern to oust or neutralise Chávez," said Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (Coha) in Washington on Tuesday. "The US is waging diplomatic warfare against Venezuela."
He said that while the US had accused Chávez of destabilising Latin American countries, the term "destabilisation" more aptly applied to what the US was trying to do to Chávez.
"It's trying to implement regime change," Eva Golinger, a Venezuelan-American lawyer who wrote The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela, told AP. "There's no doubt about it. I think the US government tries to mask it by saying it's a noble mission."
She added: "It's too suspicious to have such a high level of secrecy."
Chávez has also accused groups of taking US money and predicted that the US will seek to use its influence in Venezuela's December polls.