The anti-government protests in Venezuela, which are aimed at the overthrow of President Nicolás Maduro, have been led by various individuals and organizations with close ties to the United States Government. Leopoldo López and María Corina Machado – two of the people publicly behind the violent demonstrations that began in February – have long histories as collaborators, financed and agents of Washington. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the United States International Development Agency (USAID) channeled millionaire financing for the political parties of López, Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, and for the NGO Súmate de Machado and their electoral campaigns.
These financing agencies in Washington have also leaked more than 14 million dollars to opposition groups in Venezuela between 2013-2014 (This figure includes the two national budgets of the United States Government for 2013 and 2014 and plus the total of the NED for Venezuela : http://www.ned.org/where-we-work/latin-america-and-caribbean/venezuela and http://www.ned.org/where-we-work/latin-america-and-caribbean / latin-america-and-caribbean-regional), including financing for their electoral campaigns in 2013 and now for the anti-government protests in 2014. This follows the pattern of US government financing of anti-Chavista groups in Venezuela since 2001, when millions of dollars were given to so-called organizations ” civil society “to carry out a coup against President Hugo Chávez in April 2002. After its failure, USAID opened an Office of Initiatives towards a Transition (OTI) in Caracas to, together with the NED, inject more than 100 millions of dollars in efforts to undermine the Chávez government and repower the opposition for 8 years.
In early 2011, after being publicly exposed for its serious violations of Venezuelan sovereignty and laws, the OTI closed its doors in Venezuela and USAID operations for that country were transferred to the United States . The flow of money did not end, despite the approval in Venezuela of the Law of Political Sovereignty and National Self-Determination at the end of 2010, which prohibits external financing to groups for political purposes in the country. Washington agencies, as well as the Venezuelan groups that receive their dollars, continue to violate the country’s laws with full impunity. In President Barack Obama’s national budgets for international operations, between $ 5-6 million has been included to fund anti-government groups in Venezuela through USAID since 2012. ( See second paragraph ).
The NED, a ‘foundation’ created by the United States Congress in 1983 to do the work previously done by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) but with a public face, has been one of the main funders of destabilization in Venezuela during the time. of Chávez, and now against President Maduro.
According to its last public report of 2013, the NED has channeled more than 2.3 million dollars to groups and projects of the Venezuelan opposition. Within that figure, 1,787,300 million dollars went directly to opposition groups in Venezuela , while another 590,000 dollars were channeled to regional groups that work and finance the Venezuelan opposition. More than $ 300,000 has gone to efforts to develop a new generation of young leaders to counter the government of Nicolás Maduro.
Among the groups funded by the NED for youth work is FORMA, an organization owned by César Briceño linked to the Venezuelan banker Óscar García Mendoza. García Mendoza manages the Banco Venezolano de Crédito, which has functioned as the channel for the flow of dollars from the NED and USAID to opposition groups in Venezuela, such as Súmate, Cedice, Sin Mordaza, Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons and FORMA, among others.
Another large part of the 2013-2014 NED funds was invested in initiatives and groups that work with the media environment and manage the campaign to discredit the government of President Maduro. These include Espacio Público, Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS), Sin Mordaza and GALI . The last year has seen an unprecedented campaign to discredit the Venezuelan government, and President Maduro directly, a campaign that has intensified in recent months.
In full violation of Venezuelan law, the NED also financed to the opposition coalition, the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) with $ 100,000 for a training and exchange project with groups in Bolivia, Nicaragua and Argentina to “share the lessons learned in Venezuela … and allow the adaptation of the experience Venezuelan in those countries. ”
As was well explained in a report by a Spanish institute, FRIDE, in 2010, the international agencies that finance the opposition in Venezuela violate even the exchange control laws to filter their funds to the beneficiaries. They also affirm in that report that most international agencies, with the exception of the European Commission, are bringing funds in foreign currency and exchanging them in the parallel market, in clear violation of Venezuelan law. In some cases, as the FRIDE report highlights, they open accounts abroad to deposit the resources or they deliver them in euros or dollars in cash. The United States embassy in Venezuela could use the diplomatic bag to bring large amounts of dollars and euros to the country, which they then turn over to Venezuelan actors illegally without any formal accounting from the Venezuelan State.
What is clear is that the United States Government continues to fuel destabilization efforts in Venezuela regardless of the laws of that country. Perhaps a measure of greater impact and force is necessary to ensure the sovereignty and defense of Venezuelan democracy, its legitimate Government and the will of its people.
Originally published by RT.com.
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