[News] National Endowment for Destabilization? CIA Funds for Latin America in 2018

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Apr 4 11:05:01 EDT 2019


  National Endowment for Destabilization? CIA Funds for Latin America in

Published 4 April 2019

The CIA’s influence in Latin America is not a “leftist rant”, it is 
ever-present and ignoring it represents a real menace for national 
sovereignty and the continuity of progressive governments in the region. 
In 2018, one of its offshoots, the National Endowment for Democracy 
(NED) channeled 
<https://www.ned.org/region/latin-america-and-caribbean/> over US$23 
million to meddle in the internal affairs of key Latin American 
countries, under the flagship of “human rights”, “democracy” and 

    The CIA’s View of Venezuela: What We Learn From Archives

        *A trip through memory lane of *NED's history

After World War II, the United States assumed its self-proclaimed role 
to fight communism in a new found bipolar world. The wartime Office of 
Strategic Services morphed into the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 
1947, and the rest is history as an interventionist policy went into 
full force, especially in Latin America.

Covert operations, ousting democratically elected governments, inciting 
revolts and supporting transnational companies were the run of the mill 
actions, all justified as part of the fight against communist influence 
in the region. This intensified as the Cuban Revolution shook the world 
in 1959, inspiring new revolutions in the global south.

When it was revealed in the late 1960s that some U.S. private voluntary 
organizations (PVO) were receiving covert funding from the CIA to 
intervene in foreign nations, the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration 
concluded that such funding should cease, recommending the establishment 
of “a public-private mechanism” to fund overseas activities openly.

Congressman Dante Fascell (D, FL), a later co-founder of NED, introduced 
a bill in April 1967 to create the Institute of International Affairs, 
an initiative that would authorize overt funding for what the U.S. 
referred to as exporting “democracy”, but it didn't go through. However, 
the 1970s would force a change inside the CIA, and subsequently the world.

In 1974, former CIA specialist and whistleblower, Victor Marchetti, 
published a book revealing all sorts of secrets 
and clandestine operations made by the agency. In the same year, New 
York Times journalist, Seymour Hersh, reported a series of stories 
regarding mass internal surveillance made by the CIA. And one year 
later, former agent Phillip Agee 
would add to the controversy with a book dealing with his work 
intervening and influencing Latin American politics.

The public outcry resulted in the Rockefeller Commission, the  Pike 
"Report," and the Church Committee, all investigated the CIA’s work. 
  “We should not have to do this kind of work covertly,” said current 
NED President Carl Gershman in 1986, adding that “it would be terrible 
for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the 
CIA. We saw that in the 60s, and that’s why it has been discontinued. We 
have not had the capability of doing this, and that’s why the endowment 
was created.”

The Agency had to reform in order to continue its interventionist 
agenda. So in 1982,  in a major foreign policy address delivered at 
Westminster Palace before the British Parliament, President Ronald 
Reagan announced the creation of a U.S. entity that would foster liberal 
ideology, market economy (neoliberalism), and U.S.-styled “democracy”.

With money from the Agency of International Development (USAID), a 
government program recommended the establishment of a bipartisan, 
non-profit corporation to be known as the National Endowment for 
Democracy (NED) <https://www.ned.org/about/history/>. By 1983, the new 
organization was created, and the CIA had a new way to channel funds for 
countries who did not agree with U.S policy.

"A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA," 
said NED cofounder Allen Weinstein in 1991.

As major party ideologies were less attractive in the 1980s, the fall of 
the Soviet bloc would mark the perfect opportunity and conditions for 
NED’s work. Civil society became a new political actor, through 
non-government organizations (NGO), and as in wartime, these would 
become “trojan horses” for the CIA by accepting money to influence 
political parties, unions, dissident movements, and media in dozens of 

In order to do this, NED houses four organizations that materialize the 
work.  The first is the U.S. labor-affiliated American Center for 
International Labor Solidarity (ACILS), now Solidarity Center 
<https://www.solidaritycenter.org/>, in charge of infiltrating and 
influencing worker’s unions. The second, backed by the U.S Chamber of 
Commerce is the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE 
<https://www.cipe.org/>), in charge of asserting power over business and 
industrial moguls.

Last but not least, the Democratic Party’s National Democratic Institute 
for International Affairs (NDI <https://www.ndi.org/>) and the 
Republican Party’s International Republican Institute (IRI 
<https://www.iri.org/>), both in charge of colluding with left and right 
local parties and movements, respectively. All getting their funding 
from the same purse.

Infamous figures such as Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Paul 
Wolfowitz, Madeline Albright, among others have been board directors; 
and even now the main voice leading regime change in Venezuela, Elliot 
Abrams is listed as an “on leave” board director.

There are countless strategies that NED uses to meddle in countries: 
supplying funds, technical know-how, training, educational materials, 
gifts, conferences, oversee trips, office materials, you name it. These 
are channeled directly by NED or third parties to selected political 
groups, NGOs, labor unions, dissident movements, student groups, 
publishers, and what they refer to “independent” media.

These programs aim to exert influence directly inside a country by 
pushing a certain economic/political agenda, intervening in electoral 
processes and mass media. Or indirectly by lobbying civil society into 
believing that free-market ideology and neoliberalism jargon is the path 
towards democracy and human rights.

And they’ve done it for the past 36 years. So 2018 NED’s grant report is 
not a surprise but a chance to see who’s who in the CIA “nice list”.


In 2018, US$2.4 million were destined for Venezuela. 
However, it is the only country in the region in which the recipients 
are not published. The programs are described under civic education, 
human rights observatories, and vague liberal keywords such as 
empowerment, freedom, democracy and democratic values.

Yet journalists, Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen wrote in January 2019 an 
extensive investigative piece 
that explained how opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido, who has declared 
himself interim president in Venezuela with the support of the U.S. and 
its allies, is a product of NED’s funding.

On October 5, 2005, five Venezuelan “student leaders” arrived in Serbia 
to begin training for an insurrection, courtesy of the NED-funded Center 
for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (Canvas). According to 
leaked <https://search.wikileaks.org/gifiles/?viewemailid=218642> 
internal emails from intelligence firm Stratfor, Canvas “may have also 
received CIA funding and training during the 1999/2000 anti-Milosevic 

It was two years later, in 2007, when Guaido graduated from University 
that he moved to Washington, DC to enroll in the Governance and 
Political Management Program at George Washington University, under the 
tutelage of neoliberal Venezuelan economist Luis Enrique Berrizbeitia. 
The “Generation 2007” class was created, with others such as Yon 
Goicoechea and David Smolansky.

The funding started pouring in.

In a 2010 report <https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/5441> by the 
Spanish think tank, Fride Institute, with funding from the World 
Movement for Democracy (a NED project), disclosed that the Venezuelan 
opposition was receiving funding of whopping US$40 to 50 million 
annually, which shows that NED funding is just one of the strategies to 
funnel clandestine ops.

By 2014, the same “student leaders” would create the guarimbas, a 
student-led anti-government movement that has been accused of violence, 
to exacerbate chaos and a few years later Guaido would become the latest 
pawn in the U.S. interventionist plot in Venezuela.


The premise is very similar in Cuba. In 2018, US$4.7 million were 
anti-Cuban movements and NGOs.

In the case of the island, there are mainly NGO's based in the U.S. 
under the 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization statute, who have 
strategically devised their plan to influence local media, international 
perceptions, and labor unions.

With regards to labor union infiltration, the International Group for 
Corporate Social Responsibility in Cuba is dedicated to promoting free 
trade unionism in a bid to undermine the Workers Union of Cuba (CTC). 
However, it is as a recurrent strategy for Latin America to have media 
on their payroll, for this country: CubaNET, Diario de Cuba, HyperMedia, 
Cartel Urbano, all presenting themselves as "independent" outlets are 
financed by the U.S. government.

There are also institutes and think tanks such as the Foundation for 
Human Rights in Cuba, the Latin American Cultural Union (LACU), Center 
for a Free Cuba, Cuban Institue for Freedom of the Press and Expression, 
Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos, Free Society Project, Inc., and 
the Cuban Democratic Directorate <http://www.directorio.org/>. The 
latter self-describes as an NGO that "supports the human rights movement 
in Cuba" yet proudly displays on their website’s homepage a picture of 
their Director Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat with far-right Brazilian 
President Jair Bolsonaro and his son.

Another approach is funding organizations to influence international 
perception. In this category stands out the international Press and 
Society Institute, Slovakian People in Peril Association, Chilean Public 
Space Center, International Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 
Christian Solidarity International, Mexican Factual Innovation and 
Investigation, Colombian ProBono Foundation, Uruguayan Development and 
Communication Institute, Colombian Sergio Arboleda University, 
Iberoamerican Constitutional Studies Center, Mexican Youth Association 
for the United Nations, and the Peruvian Freedom Institute, which openly 
states its liberal economic and political affiliation, gathers young 
middle-class Peruvian and Latin Americans to indoctrinate them in a 
program called "Free Citizens Academy", and later be sent 
<https://www.apnews.com/7e5b68a609174330bdb5bfbbe695db07> to the island.


The list cannot be complete without the third official member of what 
National Security Advisor, John Bolton, dubbed the “Troika of Tyranny”, 
in order to justify interventions paralleled in Venezuela and Cuba. In 
2018, Nicaragua got 
US$1.3 million. However, for this country, Washington needed to engage 
the funding one by one as it builds a clear network to overthrow 
President Daniel Ortega.

One of the biggest recipients is the Iberian-American Foundation of 
Cultures (Fibras 
founded in 2000, and since 2006, according to their website, supporting 
"democratic culture". The Foundation has received funding from NED, IRI, 
NDI, and USAID; money which they use to sponsor the opposition Movement 
for Nicaragua (MpN). Iberian-American Foundation of Cultures is based in 
Spain but has branches across Latin America.

Since the beginning of Ortega’s administration in 2007, the MpN has 
organized a multitude of protests against the government. Starting in 
2018, they’ve become main actors in the nation-wide demonstrations 
against Ortega's government that have rocked the country, joining others 
such as Let's Do Democracy and the International Institute of Strategic 
Studies and Public Policies (IEEPP).

In December 2018, in a criminal trial against Cristian Mendoza, alias 
Viper, charged with organizing violent actions within the protests, the 
defendant claimed 
that the current director of the IEEPP, Felix Maradiaga, and the 
director of Let's Do Democracy, Luciano Garcia, were the main leaders of 
the criminal groups, in which Viper was involved, which violently took 
over the Polytechnic University of Nicaragua during April, May and June 
of that year.

The accused added that the two alleged culprits were handing out 
pamphlets titled "Strategy to save democracy in Nicaragua", which 
contained guidelines on how to create situations of instability to 
overthrow the government.

These nation-wide protests, started against the government’s Social 
Security Reform - later withdrawn-, which aimed to distribute the 
financial burden between companies and workers, thus avoiding 
privatization of the service. However, since the start, the private 
sector was not pleased.

The Higher Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep 
rejected the measures arguing they generated "uncertainty and limited 
the creation of jobs by the private sector." In regards to NED funding, 
the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) had the largest 
amount for Nicaragua, US$230,000.

The discontent pushed by the private sector was taken up by NGOs such as 
MpN, IEEPP and Let’s Do Democracy. The protests have similar 
characteristics as the guarimbas in Venezuela, which include extreme 
violence, homemade weapons, social media fake news strategy, systematic 
destruction of public and private property, and deployment of local 
celebrities, actions that have been described by the government and 
their supporters as a soft coup attempt.

Another recipient of NED funds is the Permanent Commission of Human 
Rights of Nicaragua (CPDH), founded in 1977, and part of a triumvirate 
of "human rights" organizations that were created under U.S auspice. The 
other two, Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (ANPDH) from 1986 and 
the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) - linked to the offshoot 
Sandinista Renewal Movement -are all directly connected to the 
opposition far-right bishop Juan Abelardo Mata.

In the ever-present media category, the private company Invermedia 
received funding. This firm belongs to opposition journalist Carlos 
Fernando Chamorro Barrios, son of former president Violeta Barrios de 
Chamorro. When Chamorro was elected, George H. W. Bush removed the 
embargo that Ronald Reagan had imposed during Sandinista rule and 
promised economic aid to the country.


As presidential elections loom closer, Oct. 20, the Andean country 
cannot be left out the list. In 2018, it received 
US$908,832. Approximately 47 percent of this amount was used, without a 
recipient, by the Republican Party International Republican Institute - 
in charge of funding right-wing parties - and the Center for 
International Private Enterprise - in charge of financing private sector 
chamber of commerce and production.

The rest of the grants are divided into three categories: NGOs that 
involve the justice system, media, and think tanks. In the first 
category, the NGOs MicroJustice Bolivia, Build Foundation, Observatory 
for Human Rights and Justice and Building Networks Bolivia can be found.

Local media, as usual, is a common grantee. Here, however, it is not 
self-proclaimed "independent" outlets but the Fides News Agency, 
Bolivia's oldest news agency, and also the Foundation for Journalism. 
Finally, the outspoken critic think tank against Morales’ 
administration, Millenium Foundation is amongst the recipients.

These sort of organizations think tanks and media outlets can be found 
in all countries in the NED official list. Back in 2016, teleSUR 
reported on how the CIA operated in Ecuador, through NED and other 
organizations. Now the same recipients are still on the list, those that 
openly opposed former President Rafael Correa and others that disguise 
themselves as “human rights” NGOs. Another case is the influence in the 
electoral process in Haiti that can be seen in the amount of money that 
was destined towards that cause in that country. The same can be said 
for the rest of the list.

Now to dub all of them 'agents' would be a misconception, and more 
related to a Cold War era mindset. And even though the CIA continues to 
recruit moles and agents, their tactics have changed as the main goal is 
to influence and create a “common sense” without being seen as 
interventionists, or as XVIII-XIX century Johann von Goethe said: “the 
best slave is the one who thinks he is free.”

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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