[News] Wikileaks: US Embassy Requests Funding for Anti-Chavez Groups

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jun 30 10:39:40 EDT 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


US Embassy Requests Funding for Anti-Chavez Groups

The latest Wikileaks releases include cables sent 
from the US Embassy in Caracas to the State 
Department, Central Intelligence Agency, National 
Security Council, and other US entities, 
indicating requests for additional US government 
funding for opposition groups in Venezuela. The 
cables corroborate documents previously obtained 
under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 
that evidence ongoing US funding to support 
anti-Chavez groups and political parties in 
Venezuela actively working to destabilize and 
overthrow the South American government.

One document dated March 2009, authored by Charge 
D’Affaires John Caulfield, reveals $10 million in 
funding via the US Embassy in Caracas to state 
and municipal opposition governments, as well as 
several NGOs, youth groups and political 
campaigns to counter the Chavez government. 
Curiously, in the confidential cable, Caulfield 
requests an additional $3 million (on top of an 
already-approved $7 million) due to a “change” in Venezuela’s “political map”.

“Given that the November 2008 elections and 
February 2009 referendum created a new political 
map for Venezuela, post requests an additional 
USD 3 million to increase outreach efforts to 
newly elected state and municipal governments, as 
well as to continue programs to strengthen civil 
society and prepare for the next round of elections in 2010”.

Caulfield adds, “...redoubling our effort is 
necessary to counter the increasing 
authoritarianism of the Chavez government”, 
indicating clear political intent to justify the funding.

The US diplomat was referring to regional 
elections in 2008 during which opposition parties 
won in 6 out of 23 states and dozens of 
municipalities. Apparently, the Embassy was keen 
on providing immediate aid to those regions to reinforce their efforts.


Embassies, consulates and diplomats are 
prohibited under the Vienna Convention on 
Diplomatic and Consular Affairs from intervening 
in the politics and internal affairs of a host 
nation. Funding from foreign governments for 
political groups and campaigns is also prohibited 
and illegal in Venezuela, as it is in the United 
States. Nonetheless, Caulfield doesn’t hide his 
intentions when he writes, “...our effort is 
necessary to counter...the Chavez government”.

Caulfield also admits that US government funding 
helped create many of the organizations in 
Venezuela receiving the aid and that those same 
groups would most likely not exist or survive 
without US support. “Without our continued 
assistance, it is possible that the organizations 
we helped create...could be forced to close...Our 
funding will provide those organizations a much-needed lifeline”.

The majority of Venezuelan groups receiving US 
funding were created after 2002, when the State 
Department set up its unauthorized Office of 
Transition Initiatives (OTI), a political branch 
of the US Agency for International Development 
(USAID) in Caracas. That same year, a coup d’etat 
was executed against the Chavez government, 
briefly ousting the Venezuelan President. He was 
later rescued within 48 hours by loyal armed 
forces and millions of Venezuelans. Those 
involved in the coup were all receiving US 
government funding and support through both the 
Embassy and the National Endowment for Democracy 
(NED), an agency funded by the US Congress. The 
OTI, which has consistently funded and 
strategically supported dozens of Venezuelan 
political parties and NGOs with millions of US 
taxpayer dollars annually, abruptly closed at the 
beginning of 2011 after being exposed and 
denounced for its illegal meddling activities in Venezuela.

Nonetheless, President Obama has already 
requested an additional $5 million to fund 
opposition groups in Venezuela in his 2012 
budget. This amount is expected to increase with 
funds from other US agencies in preparation for 
Venezuela’s presidential and regional elections next year.

The $10 million dished out by the US Embassy to 
local opposition governments and “civil society” 
groups was slated to “support local NGOs in order 
to work as watchdogs on issues key for democratic 
development”, i.e. against the 
democratically-elected government. Five million 
dollars were directed towards supporting 
political parties and local governance to help 
newly elected opposition governments “show 
delivery on promises made to the people during 
the November 2008 political campaigns”. Is this 
really where US taxpayer dollars should be going?

Another $4 million went to “interested political 
parties, to develop young leaders and increase 
outreach to...the Venezuelan youth movement”. A 
particular target of US funding, anti-Chavez 
student and youth movements have popped up during 
the past 3 years receiving overrated media coverage and foreign attention.

Another one million of this funding went towards 
preparing the grounds for the 2010 legislative 
campaigns. During 2010, however, an additional 
$57 million was provided to the Venezuelan 
opposition from both US and European agencies.


Another US Embassy cable from September 2009, 
sent by then US Ambassador to Venezuela Patrick 
Duddy, recounted a meeting held between the US 
diplomat and three representatives from the small 
opposition party, Podemos. During the meeting, 
Ismael Garcia, legislator and leader of Podemos, 
specifically requested more US government funding 
and intervention to counteract President Chavez.

“As he has repeatedly done in the past, Garcia 
pointedly asked what the United States, through 
the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) or 
other USG (US Government) channels, could do to 
help Podemos. Molina and Garcia suggested that US 
support could be used for Podemos to build an 
internet – or cable TV-based communications 
network...The Ambassador emphasized that the 
United States is not intervening (sic) in 
Venezuela, to which Garcia responded, “Yes, but now is the time to begin”.

What these documents evidence, besides illegal US 
government meddling and hypocrisy, is the ongoing 
relationship of dependence between the Venezuelan 
opposition and Washington. US efforts to 
undermine the Chavez administration have largely 
depended on the capacity of the opposition to 
destabilize the country and counter Chavez. After 
years of multimillion-dollar investments in these 
groups, which now depend on US government 
funding, few advances have been made. This 
scenario could explain the recent aggressive 
actions the Obama administration is taking 
against Venezuela, imposing sanctions and 
attempting to falsely and maliciously link the 
Chavez government to terrorism and portray it as a “failed state”.

Posted by Eva Golinger at 
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