[News] Washington increases Clandestine Ops against Venezuela

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Nov 12 10:42:37 EST 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Washington increases Clandestine Ops against Venezuela


By Eva Golinger

Millions of dollars are being channeled to 
opposition groups in Venezuela via USAID, while 
the Pentagon has established a new PSYOP program 
directed at Venezuela, including a “5-day a week 
television program in Spanish broadcast in Venezuela” during 2011

2010 annual report of the Office of Transition 
Initiatives (OTI), a division of the US Agency 
for International Development (USAID), regarding 
its operations in Venezuela, evidences that at 
least $9.29 million USD was invested this year in 
efforts to “support US foreign policy 
and promote democracy” in the South 
American nation. This amount represents an 
increase of almost $2 million over last year’s 
$7.45 million distributed through this office to 
fund anti-Chávez political activities in the country.

The OTI is a department of USAID dedicated to 
“supporting US foreign policy objectives by 
helping local partners advance democracy in 
priority countries in crisis. OTI works on the 
ground to provide, fast, flexible short-term 
assistance targeted at key political transition and stabilization needs”.

Although OTI is traditionally used as a 
“short-term” strategy to filter millions of 
dollars in liquid funds to political groups and 
activities that promote US agenda in 
strategically important nations, the case of 
Venezuela has been different. OTI opened its 
office in 2002, right after the failed coup 
d’etat against President Hugo Chavez - backed by 
Washington - and has remained ever since. The OTI 
in Venezuela is the longest standing office of this type in USAID’s history.


a confidencial memo dated January 22, 2002, 
Russell Porter, head of OTI, revealed how and why 
USAID set up shop in Venezuela. “OTI was asked to 
consider a program in Venezuela by the State 
Department’s Office of Andean Affairs on January 
OTI was asked if it could offer programs and 
assistance in order to strengthen the democratic 
elements that are under increasing fire from the Chavez government”.

Porter visited Venezuela on January 18, 2002 and 
“For democracy to have any chance of being 
preserved, immediate support is needed for 
independent media and the civil society 
One of the large weaknesses in Venezuela 
is the lack of a vibrant civil society
National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has a 
$900,000 program in Venezuela that works with 
NDI, IRI and the Solidarity Center to strengthen 
political parties and the Unions
This program is 
useful, but not nearly sufficient. It is not 
flexible enough, nor does it work with enough new 
or non-traditional groups. It also lacks a media component”.

Since then OTI has been present in Venezuela, 
channeling millions of dollars each year to feed 
the political conflict in the country. According 
to the 2010 annual report, OTI is now operating 
“out of the US Embassy and is part of a larger US 
diplomatic effort to promote democracy in Venezuela”.

The principal investment of the $9.29 million in 
US taxpayer dollars in 2010 went to the 
opposition’s campaign for the legislative 
elections, held last September 26 in Venezuela. 
“USAID works with several implementing partners 
drawn from the spectrum of civil society
technical assistance to political parties
supporting efforts to strengthen civil society”.
In Venezuela, it’s widely known that the term 
“civil society” refers to the anti-Chavez opposition.


Despite revealing its overall budget, the actual 
flow of funds from USAID/OTI to groups in 
Venezuela remains secret. When OTI opened its 
offices in 2002, it contracted a private US 
company, Development Alternatives Inc (DAI), one 
of the State Department’s largest contractors 
worldwide. DAI ran an office out of El Rosal – 
the Wall Street of Caracas – distributing 
millions of dollars annually in “small grants of 
no more than $100,000” to hundreds of mainly 
unknown Venezuelan “organizations”.
 From 2002 to 2010, more than 600 of these “small 
grants” were channeled out of DAI’s office to 
anti-Chavez groups, journalists and private, opposition media campaigns.

In December 2009, DAI began to have severe 
problems with its operations in Afghanistan, when 
five of its employees were killed by alleged 
Taliban militants during an attack on their 
office December 15 in Gardez. Just days earlier, 
another DAI “employee”, Alan Gross, had been 
detained in Cuba and accused of subversion for 
illegally distributing advanced satellite equipment to dissidents.

When an article written by this author titled 
Agents assassinated in Afghanistan worked for 
"contractor" active in Venezuela, Cuba”, 
published December 30, 2009 on the web, evidenced 
the link between DAI’s operations in Afghanistan, 
Cuba and Venezuela, and their suspicious nature, 
the CEO of DAI, Jim Boomgard, was alarmed. Days 
later, he attempted to coerce me into a private 
meeting in Washington to “discuss” my article. 
When I refused, he threatened me by claiming that 
my writing was “placing all DAI employees 
worldwide in danger”. In other words, if anything 
happened to DAI employees, I would be personalIy responsible.
But Boomgard, who claimed little knowledge of his 
company’s operations in Venezuela, understood 
that what DAI was doing in Venezuela was nowhere 
near as important (to his company) as what DAI 
was doing in Afghanistan and other countries in 
conflict. Weeks later, DAI abruptly closed its office in Caracas.

Nonetheless, OTI continues its operations in 
Venezuela, and although it has other US 
“partners” managing a portion of its annual 
multimillion-dollar budget, such as IRI, NDI, 
Freedom House and the Pan American Development 
Foundation (PADF), there is zero transparency 
regarding funding to Venezuelan groups.

report published in May 2010 by the Spanish think 
tank FRIDE assessing “democracy assistance” to 
Venezuela revealed that a significant part of the 
more than $50 million annually in political 
funding from international agencies to 
anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela was entering 
illicitly. According to the report, in order to 
avoid Venezuela’s strict “currency control laws”, 
US and European agencies bring the monies in 
dollars or euros into the country and then change 
them on the black market to increase value. This 
method also avoids leaving a financial record or 
trace of the funds coming in to illegally finance political activities.

If DAI is no longer operating in Venezuela and 
distributing “small grants” to Venezuelan groups, 
then how are USAID’s multimillion-dollar funds 
reaching their recipients? According to USAID, 
they now operate from the US Embassy. Is the US 
Embassy illegally dishing out funds directly to Venezuelans?

OTI’s 2010 report also reveals the agency’s 
ongoing intentions to continue supporting and 
funding Venezuelan counterparts. In the section 
marked “Upcoming Events”, OTI makes clear where 
energies will be directed, “December 2012 – Presidential elections”.


USAID isn’t the only US agency intervening in 
Venezuela’s affairs. In the Pentagon’s 2011 
budget, a new request for a “psychological 
operations program” for the Southern Command 
(USSOUTHCOM), which coordinates all US military 
missions in Latin America, is included. 
Specifically, the request refers to the 
establishment of a “PSYOP voice program for USSOUTHCOM”.

PYSOP are, “planned operations to convey selected 
information and indicators to foreign audiences 
to influence their emotions, motives, objective 
reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign 
governments, organizations, groups and 
individuals. The execution of PSYOP includes 
conducting research on various foreign audiences; 
developing, producing and disseminating products 
to influence these audiences; and conducting 
evaluations to determine the effectiveness of the 
PSYOP activities. These activities may include 
the management of various websites and monitoring 
print and electronic media”. Or, as the 2011 
request indicates, running a radio or audio 
program into a foreign nation to promote US agenda.

USSOUTHCOM’s new PSYOP program in Latin America 
will complement a new State Department initiative 
run out of the Board of Broadcasting Governors 
(BBG), which manages US propaganda worldwide. 
whopping 2011 budget of $768.8 million includes 
“a 30-minute, five-day-a-week VOA [Voice of 
America] Spanish television program for Venezuela”.

This increase in PSYOP and pro-US propaganda 
directed at Venezuela evidences an escalation in 
US aggression towards the region.

And the Office of the Director of National 
Intelligence (DNI) is still running a special 
intelligence “mission” on Venezuela and Cuba, set 
up in 2006. Only four of these country-specific 
“mission management teams” exist: Iran, North 
Korea, Afghanistan/Pakistan, and Venezuela/Cuba. 
These “missions” receive an important part of 
DNI’s $80 billion annual budget and operate in complete secrecy.

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