[News] US buying the Press in Venezuela

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jul 16 12:16:48 EDT 2010

Buying the Press - Venezuela


By Eva Golinger
Documents reveal multimillion-dollar funding to 
journalists and media in Venezuela

US State Department documents declassified under 
the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) evidence 
more than $4 million USD in funding to 
journalists and private media in Venezuela during 
the last three years. This funding is part of the 
more than $40 million USD international agencies 
are investing annually in anti-Chavez groups in 
Venezuela in an attempt to provoke regime change

The funding has been channeled directly by the 
State Department through three US agencies: 
Panamerican Development Foundation (PADF), 
Freedom House, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

In a blatant attempt to hide their activities, 
the State Department has censored the names of 
organizations and journalists receiving these 
multimillion-dollar funds. However, one document 
dated July 2008 mistakenly left unveiled the 
names of the principal Venezuelan groups 
receiving the funds: Espacio Publico (Public 
Space) and Instituto de Prensa y Sociedad 
(Institute for Press and Society “IPYS”).

Espacio Publico and IPYS are the entities charged 
with coordinating the distribution of the 
millions in State Department funds to private 
media outlets and Venezuelan journalists working to promote US agenda.

The documents evidence that PADF has implemented 
programs in Venezuela dedicated to “enhancing 
media freedom and democratic institutions” and 
training workshops for journalists in the 
development and use of “innovative media 
technologies”, due to the alleged “threats to 
freedom of expression” and “the climate of 
intimidation and self-censorship among journalists and the media”.

According to the documents, PADF’s objective is 
to “strengthen independent journalists by 
providing them with training, technical 
assistance, materials and greater access to 
innovative internet-based technologies that 
expand and diversify media coverage and increase 
their capacity to inform the public on a timely 
basis about the most critical policy issues impacting Venezuela”.

However, while on paper this may appear benign, 
in reality, Venezuela’s corporate media outlets 
and journalists, together with US agencies, 
actively manipulate and distort information in 
order to portray the Venezuelan government as a 
“communist dictatorship” that “violates basic human rights and freedoms”.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Not only do media and journalists in Venezuela 
have a near-absolute freedom of expression, 
during the past decade, under the Chavez 
administration, hundreds of new media outlets, 
many community-based, have been created in order 
to foster and expand citizens’ access to media. 
Community media was prohibited under prior 
governments, which only gave broadcasting access 
to corporations willing to pay big money to 
maintain information monopolies in the country.

Today, corporate media outlets and their 
journalists use communications power to publicly 
promote the overthrow of the Venezuelan 
government. The owners and executives of these 
media corporations form part of the Venezuelan 
elite that, under the reigns of Washington, ran 
the country for forty years before Chavez won the presidency in 1998.

What these documents demonstrate is that 
Washington not only is funding Venezuelan media, 
in clear violation of laws that prohibit this 
type of “propaganda” and “foreign interference”, 
but also is influencing the way Venezuelan 
journalists perceive their profession and their political reality.

The State Department funding not only is used to 
create and aid media outlets that promote 
anti-Chavez propaganda, but also to capture 
Venezuelan journalists at the core - as students 
– in order to shape their vision of journalism 
and ensure their loyalty early on to US agenda.


One of the PADF programs, which received $699,996 
USD from the State Department in 2007, “supported 
the development of independent media in 
Venezuela” and “journalism via innovative media 
technologies”. The documents evidence that more 
than 150 Venezuelan journalists were trained by 
US agencies and at least 25 web pages were created with US funding.

During the past two years, there has been a 
proliferation of web pages, blogs, and Twitter, 
MySpace and Facebook users in Venezuela, the 
majority of whom use these media outlets to 
promote anti-Chavez messages and disseminate 
distorted and false information about the 
country’s political and economic reality.

Other programs run by the State Department have 
selected Venezuelan students and youth to receive 
training in the use of these new media 
technologies in order to create what they call a 
“network of cyber-dissidents” against the Venezuelan government.

For example, in April 2010, the George W. Bush 
Institute, together with Freedom House and the 
State Department, organized an encounter of 
“activists for freedom and human rights” and 
“experts in Internet” to analyze the “global 
movement of cyber-dissidents”. Rodrigo Diamanti, 
anti-Chavez youth activist, was present at the 
event, which took place in Dallas, Texas and was 
presided over by George W. Bush himself, along 
with “dissidents” invited from Iran, Syria, Cuba, Russia and China.

In October last year, Mexico City hosted the II 
Summit of the Alliance of Youth Movements (AYM), 
an organization created by the State Department 
to bring together select youth activists from 
countries of strategic importance to the US, 
along with the founders of new media technologies 
and representatives from different US agencies. 
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presided over 
the event, and anti-Chavez youth activists Yon 
Goicochea (Primero Justicia), Rafael Delgado, and 
Geraldine Alvarez, attended as special guests. 
All three are members of Futuro Presente, an 
organization created in Venezuela in 2008 with 
funding from the Cato Institute in Washington.


The declassified State Department documents also 
reveal more than $716,346 USD in funding via 
Freedom House in 2008, for an 18-month project 
seeking to “strengthen independent media in 
Venezuela”. This project also funded the creation 
of a “resource center for journalists” in an 
unnamed Venezuelan university. “The center will 
develop a community radio, website and training 
workshops”, all funded by the State Department.

Another $706,998 USD was channeled through PADF 
to “promote freedom of expression in Venezuela” 
through a two-year project focusing on “new media 
technologies and investigative journalism”. 
“Specifically, PADF and its local partner will 
provide training and follow-up support in 
innovative media technologies and formats in 
several regions throughout Venezuela
training will be compiled and developed into a university-level curriculum”.

Another document evidences three Venezuelan 
universities, Universidad Central de Venezuela 
(Central University of Venezuela “UCV”), 
Universidad Metropolitana (Metropolitan 
University) and Universidad Santa Maria (St. 
Mary’s University), which incorporated courses on 
media studies into their curriculums, designed 
and funded by the State Department. These three 
universities have been the principal launching 
pad for the anti-Chavez student movements during the past three years.

PADF also received $545,804 USD for a program 
titled “Venezuela: The Voices of the Future”. 
This project, which allegedly lasted one year, 
was devoted to “developing a new generation of 
independent journalists through a focus on new 
media technologies”. PADF also funded various 
blogs, newspapers, radio stations and television 
stations in regions throughout Venezuela, to 
ensure the “publication” of reports and articles 
by the “participants” in the program.


More funds have been distributed to anti-Chavez 
political groups in Venezuela through USAID’s 
Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI) in 
Caracas, which has an annual budget between $5-7 
million USD. These millions form part of the more 
than $40 million USD given annually to opposition 
organizations in Venezuela by US, European and 
Canadian agencies, as evidenced in the May 2010 
report, “Venezuela: Assessing Democracy 
Assistance” published by the National Edowment 
for Democracy’s World Movement for Democracy 
(WMD) and Spain’s FRIDE Institute.

PADF has been active in Venezuela since 2005 as 
one of USAID’s principal contractors. PADF was 
created by the State Department in 1962 and is 
“affiliated” with the Organization of American 
States (OAS). In Venezuela, PADF has been working 
to “strengthen local civil society groups”, and 
is “one of few major international groups that 
have been able to provide significant cash grants 
and technical assistance to Venezuelan NGOs”.

Posted by Eva Golinger at 

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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