Tagged with "President"
Agents of Destabilization in Venezuela: The Dirty Hand of USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy Tags: NED President Maduro USAID Venezuela

By Eva Golinger, Global Research, April 26, 2014 – http://tinyurl.com/lj2cezc



golingerAnti-government protests in Venezuela that seek regime change have been led by several individuals and organizations with close ties to the US government. Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado- two of the public leaders behind the violent protests that started in February – have long histories as collaborators, grantees and agents of Washington. The National Endowment for Democracy “NED” and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have channeled multi-million dollar funding to Lopez’s political parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, and Machado’s NGO Sumate and her electoral campaigns.

These Washington agencies have also filtered more than $14 million to opposition groups in Venezuela between 2013 and 2014, including funding for their political campaigns in 2013 and for the current anti-government protests in 2014. This continues the pattern of financing from the US government to anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela since 2001, when millions of dollars were given to organizations from so-called “civil society” to execute a coup d’etat against President Chavez in April 2002. After their failure days later, USAID opened an Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) in Caracas to, together with the NED, inject more than $100 million in efforts to undermine the Chavez government and reinforce the opposition during the following 8 years.

At the beginning of 2011, after being publically exposed for its grave violations of Venezuelan law and sovereignty, the OTI closed its doors inVenezuela and USAID operations were transferred to its offices in the US. The flow of money to anti-government groups didn’t stop, despite the enactment by Venezuela’s National Assembly of the Law of Political Sovereignty and NationalSelf-Determination at the end of 2010, which outright prohibits foreign funding of political groups in the country. US agencies and the Venezuelan groups that receive their money continue to violate the law with impunity. In the Obama Administration’s Foreign Operations Budgets, between $5-6 million have been included to fund opposition groups in Venezuela through USAID since 2012.

The NED, a “foundation” created by Congress in 1983 to essentially do the CIA’s work overtly, has been one of the principal financiers of destabilization in Venezuela
9781566566476_p0_v1_s260x420throughout the Chavez administration and now against President Maduro. According to NED’s 2013 annual report, the agency channeled more than $2.3 million to Venezuelan opposition groups and projects. Within that figure,  $1,787,300 went directly to anti-government groups within Venezuela, while another $590,000 was distributed to regional organizations that work with and fund the Venezuelan opposition.  More than $300,000 was directed towards efforts to develop a new generation of youth leaders to oppose Maduro’s government politically.

One of the groups funded by NED to specifically work with youth is FORMA (http://www.forma.org.ve), an organization led by Cesar Briceńo and tied to Venezuelan banker Oscar Garcia Mendoza. Garcia Mendoza runs the Banco Venezolano de Credito, a Venezuelan bank that has served as the filter for the flow of dollars from NED and USAID to opposition groups in Venezuela, including Sumate, CEDICE, Sin Mordaza, Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones and FORMA, amongst others.

Another significant part of NED funds in Venezuela from 2013-2014 was given to groups and initiatives that work in media and run the campaign to discredit the government of President Maduro. Some of the more active media organizations outwardly opposed to Maduro and receiving NED funds include Espacio Publico, Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS), Sin Mordaza and GALI. Throughout the past year, an unprecedented media war has been waged against the Venezuelan government and President Maduro directly, which has intensified during the past few months of protests.

In direct violation of Venezuelan law, NED also funded the opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Table (MUD), via the US International Republican Institute (IRI), with $100,000 to “share lessons learned with [anti-government groups] in Nicaragua, Argentina and Bolivia…and allow for the adaption of the Venezuelan experience in these countries”.  Regarding this initiative, the NED 2013 annual report specifically states its aim: “To develop the ability of political and civil society actors from Nicaragua, Argentina and Bolivia to work on national, issue-based agendas for their respective countries using lessons learned and best practices from successful Venezuelan counterparts.  The Institute will facilitate an exchange of experiences between the Venezuelan Democratic Unity Roundtable and counterparts in Bolivia, Nicaragua and Argentina. IRI will bring these actors together through a series of tailored activities that will allow for the adaptation of the Venezuelan experience in these countries.”

IRI has helped to build right-wing opposition parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, and has worked with the anti-government coaltion in Venezuela since before the 2002 coup d’etat against Chavez. In fact, IRI’s president at that time, George Folsom, outwardly applauded the coup and celebrated IRI’s role in a pressrelease claiming, “The Institute has served as a bridge between the nation’s political parties and all civil society groups to help Venezuelans forge a new democratic future…”

Detailed in a report published by the Spanish institute FRIDE in 2010, international agencies that fund the Venezuelan opposition violate currency control laws in order to get their dollars to the recipients. Also confirmed in the FRIDE report was the fact that the majority of international agencies, with the exception of the European Commission, are bringing in foreign money and changing it on the black market, in clear violation of Venezuelan law. In some cases, as the FRIDE analysis reports, the agencies open bank accounts abroad for the Venezuelan groups or they bring them the money in hard cash. The US Embassy in Caracas could also use the diplomatic pouch to bring large quantities of unaccounted dollars and euros into the country that are later handed over illegally to anti-government groups in Venezuela.

What is clear is that the US government continues to feed efforts to destabilize Venezuela in clear violation of law. Stronger legal measures  and enforcement may be necessary to ensure the sovereignty and defense of Venezuela’s democracy.

Eva Golinger is the author of The Chavez Code. She can be reached through her blog.


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Obama might not be 'the right guy' for Nobel peace prize after all - experts Tags: Russia World Barack Obama US experts president public opinion Politics

Obama might not be 'the right guy' for Nobel peace prize after all - experts

Obama might not be 'the right guy' for Nobel peace prize after all - experts

Almost half of Americans want Washington to reduce its role on the global stage, in a marked change from past decades, a Wall Street Journal poll finds. At the same time, President Barack Obama has confirmed that Washington had moved to strengthening the cold war with Russia.

But the majority of experts agree that such behavior rather shows the weakness of the White House than its "might".

And the current US President, who had received the Nobel Peace Prize, has unleashed perhaps the largest number of wars, Director of the Center for public and political research, Vladimir Evseev believes.

"It’s hard to find an American President who was so inconsistent in his foreign policy, as President Barack Obama. He started with a speech in Cairo, where he said that he would build peace with the Muslims. After that, there was Libya and the murder of Muammar Gaddafi. At first, Barack Obama disavowed Egyptian President Mubarak, and then he supported the Muslim Brotherhood. After that, he had to build relationship with the people who had overthrown him /Mubarak/. The same policy has direct relevance to Russia. It was President Barack Obama who initiated a reset in the Russian-American relations, and now he talks about the beginning of the cold war. I think that if the American President can't find a priority in his foreign policy, it suggests that apparently the US cannot be a moral leader, because one should not constantly change one’s guidelines for exactly the opposite."

According to Vladimir Evseev, what the US is doing now is the most serious strategic error. By starting the cold war with Russia, President Barack Obama with his own hands creates a bipolar world. And in such a world there can’t be a single center, though Washington considers itself to be one.

US President Barack Obama considered Russia's actions aimed at settling the military conflict to be an insult, and now he uses the Ukrainian crisis as an occasion to recoup himself, Deputy Editor-in-chief of the Izvestiya newspaper, Boris Mezhuev believes.

“The main reason is that Obama cannot lose. He cannot retreat. I don't think there are any serious parties, certainly not European or even American, who are interested in the cold war. The matter, of course, concerns the political situation. America is afraid of losing not financial, but political credibility; to show that its hegemony is not endless and infinite; that there are serious limitations to this hegemony. And these constraints come from the country, which they have long believed and recently even called a loser."

According to the expert, it is a deadlock situation. America cannot offer a peaceful solution to the crisis in Ukraine, but merely wants to punish those disobedient. And by unleashing the cold war against Russia, it only loses its authority.

Instead of jointly searching for a way out of the situation, Washington is looking for somebody to blame. This leads to the loss of the image of the United States, a member of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, Anwar Makhmutov believes.

"It seems that the initiatives that the United States puts forward regarding the situation around Ukraine do not bring positive results. And they need some new statements, new lists. And frankly speaking, it seems that nobody wants to settle the situation in Ukraine. And the desire to escalate the ongoing processes in Ukraine is growing in the United States. Analyzing all this, we see that apparently the main goal of the United States is to break the recently established rather good relations with Europe."

According to Anwar Makhmutov, in an attempt to preserve its superiority, the US has once again dusted off the old project called the cold war. But in the modern world this will not induce Russia to play by the imposed rules. And it will certainly not add political points to Washington.

Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_04_30/Obama-might-not-be-the-right-guy-for-Nobel-peace-prize-after-all-experts-7900/

Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_04_30/Obama-might-not-be-the-right-guy-for-Nobel-peace-prize-after-all-experts-7900/

US Senator Rand Paul to Sue President Obama Over NSA Spying Tags: US Senator Rand Paul to Sue President Over NSA Spying
Republican senator Rand Paul hopes the class action law suit against NSA snooping will end up in the US Supreme Court.
Republican senator Rand Paul hopes the class action law suit against NSA snooping will end up in the US Supreme Court.

Republican senator Rand Paul has announced plans to sue US President Barack Obama over Edward Snowden's revelations of unlawful spying by the National Security Agency (NSA).

Paul said he is urging all US citizens with mobile phones to join a group action aimed at preventing Obama from "snooping on the American people".

Paul said the legal action is also aimed at protecting the Fourth Amendment to the US constitution, which prevents unreasonable searches and seizures, and sending a message to the US government that it cannot continue to access ordinary citizens' phone and email records without permission or a warrant.

Speaking on the Fox News television show Hannity on Friday, Paul said: "The question here is whether or not, constitutionally, you can have a single warrant apply to millions of people.

"So we thought, what better way to illustrate the point than having hundreds of thousands of Americans sign up for a class action suit."

We can defend against terrorism - but that doesn't mean that every single American has to give up their privacy.
Rand Paul

The senator said the lead lawyer in the suit is Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia's former attorney general.

Paul added: "We're hoping with his help that we can get a hearing in court and ultimately get this class-action lawsuit - I think the first of its kind on a constitutional question - all the way to the Supreme Court.

"We think we can have security, that we can defend against terrorism - but that doesn't mean that every single American has to give up their privacy."

The US's secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled on Friday that the NSA can continue to collect US citizens' phone data for at least another 90 days despite a panel of experts advising President Obama that a warrant must be obtained for each search.

US government lawyers have also moved to block a decision by US District of Columbia Judge Richard Leon that the NSA's data collection programme is unlawful and "almost Orwellian" in nature.


To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail:a.akinyemi@ibtimes.co.uk 
To contact the editor, e-mail: editor@ibtimes.co.uk


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