Thursday, September 13, 2007

Submarines and Lots of Dough

What do a nuclear submarine off the coast of Venezuela and a bunch of NGOs have in common? Why, US intervention in Venezuela, of course!!

Yes, once again the United States is floating nuclear submarines just twenty miles off Venezuela's northwest coast in the Dutch island of Curaçao. The USS Albuquerque, a 110-meter long nuclear submarine docked last Friday, September 7th, at the Bay of Santa Ana on the island of Curaçao, the largest of the Dutch Antilles and Venezuela's closest neighbor in the Caribbean. Since 1999, the United States has maintained a small operative air force base within Curaçao's Hato International Airport. However, during 2006, construction began to expand the air base and US military and intelligence presence was pumped up throughout Curaçao, including an astonishing increase from what used to be no more than 10 US warships, aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines passing through Curaçao's vast ports annually to over 100 just last year. Many of these battleships formed part of a sudden desire by the Pentagon's Southern Command to conduct a dozen or so military exercises in the Caribbean Sea that responded to hypothetical "terrorist" threats in the region or provided "humanitarian" support to neighboring islands. Considering that simultaneously, the US State Department was classifying Venezuela as a nation "not fully collaborating" with the war on terrorism and labeling President Chávez as "authoritarian" and "dictatorial", it isn't paranoid to assume that the increase in US military presence on Curaçao and surrounding bases is directed at intimidating Venezuela. Furthermore, the USS Albuquerque was last spotted just a mere three weeks ago on the island of Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela's closest neighbor in the northeastern Caribbean region. One has to wonder what the nuclear submarine was doing from the time it left Trinidad and Tobago and arrived at Curaçao, all that time just floating around off the coast of Venezuela...

So here's the juice on the new National Endowment for Democracy (NED) figures for funding activities in Venezuela during fiscal year 2006-2007. The following list is taken from the NED's own webpage. Remember, while the "projects" may sound friendly and helpful, it's all about intervening in the affairs of another nation. And the NED's history in Venezuela (as well as other nations like Haiti, Nicaragua, Bolivia, etc) has been pretty shady. Most groups funded in Venezuela have been involved in coup attempts or other destabilization actions against the Chávez administration, and as you will see, many groups now being funded appear to be trying to "break" into the Chávez camp to counteract or sabotage social programs or advances, such as the community councils (NED proposes "citizen councils"), and to impose the US-NED view of "democracy". Total funds dedicated to Venezuela this year =$2,166,076.00. And that's just on NED's end. USAID's 2007 budget for its "democracy promotion and transition" programs in Venezuela tops $3.6 million (to more than 385 groups/programs in Venezuela; all political). Of course, that doesn't include the additional $10 million Congress approved in the Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill this year to invest in transmitting "pro-American" propaganda to Venezuela. Yeah, like we really need that here. With major television networks like Globovisión, Venevisión and RCTV (now on cable and DirecTV), 90% of daily newspapers and 90% of radio stations constantly blabbering anti-Chávez and pro-US garbage, we can definitely say that those $10 million will be sliding into some other pockets down here. Oh, and before you read the list, remember that once December rolls around and the new constitutional reform is approved, Article 67 will prohibit - hear that, PROHIBIT - foreign funding from governmental OR private entities to groups with political objectives in Venezuela. Which means....enjoy those greenbacks while you can baby, because come December, the game is up!! (It makes me so happy to say that I could just cry).

Asociación Civil Acción Campesina (Farmers in Action)
$60,106 To strengthen community planning institutions, their interaction with local government officials, and their ability to address the priorities and concerns of the local populations.

Asociación Civil Consorcio Desarrollo y Justicia (Consortium for Development and Justice)
$49,904 To continue strengthening its observatory program to monitor the judiciary in Venezuela.

Asociación Civil Consorcio Desarrollo y Justicia (Consortium for Development and Justice)
$79,632 To promote democratic participation and defend human rights.

Asociación Civil Consorcio Justicia-Capítulo Occidente (Justice Consortium - West) $27,460 To bolster democratic participation and social consciousness in Táchira State.

Asociación Civil Justicia Alternativa (Alternative Justice)
$26,750 To strengthen the capacity of justices of the peace in Aragua State.

Asociación Civil Kapé-Kapé (Kapé-Kapé)
$39,900 To train indigenous leaders on negotiation, leadership, and human rights, and to facilitate a socioeconomic development agenda.

Asociación Civil Liderazgo y Visión (Leadership and Vision)
$64,823 To continue democracy and human rights training for members of the police and fire departments in the states of Aragua, Carabobo, and Cojedes.

Asociación Civil Uniandes (Uniandes)
$21,630 To promote participation in local citizen councils in Mérida.

$16,200 To promote consensus building and strengthen political leadership in Sucre State.

Center for International Private Enterprise
$98,173 To educate community leaders.

Centro al Servicio de la Acción Popular (Center for Popular Action) (CESAP)
$74,675 To enhance civil society's capacity to monitor and evaluate government social programs and social policy expenditures.

Centro de Estudios de Derechos Humanos (Center for Human Rights Studies) (CEDH)
$45,652 To establish a network of independent judges and jurists to encourage judicial reform.

Centro Educativo de Adiestramiento Comunitario y Ético (Education Center for Community Training and Ethics) (CEACE)
$70,800 To implement a national-level training program for grassroots leaders, professionals, and government officials.

Fundación Justicia de Paz Monagas (Justice of Peace of Monagas State Foundation)
$28,850 To promote increased community participation.

Instituto Prensa y Sociedad de Venezuela (Institute of Press and Society of Venezuela) (IPYS)
$82,700 To monitor freedom of expression violations at the national level and to provide training to journalists.

International Republican Institute
$200,000 To strengthen the institutional capacity and internal democratic processes of political parties

AfroAmerica XXI
To promote local political participation of Afro-Latino communities in Honduras, Panama, and Venezuela.

American Center for International Labor Solidarity
$687,823 To strengthen unions' capacity to involve workers democratically at their workplaces in Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia.

American University, Academy for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
$169,984 To promote the role of law schools in influencing public policy regarding human rights issues.

Asociación Ser en el 2000 (2000 Association) (SER)
$110,000 To promote the capacity of civilians in the area of security and defense.

Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)
$160,000 To promote and defend human rights in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.


elsoberanomanda said...

... Just wondering... How much of this dough is going to the "Consejos Comunales"?
Wouldn't they find that money and counseling useful?
Oh, now I get it! That money's not meant for the populace... only for the "Sociedad Civil"!
Some strange way to be "generous" and "helping democracy"...
Franco Munini.

Democracy Lover said...

The very idea of undemocratic America, where we cannot hold an honest election and have a media that merely repeats official statements, spending money to "promote democracy" in Venezuela, where they have honest elections and a feisty anti-government media, would be laughable were it not so potentially tragic.

If the US had a media, they might be asking the same questions you are asking about those nuclear subs.

Vigilis said...

" isn't paranoid to assume that the increase in US military presence on Curaçao and surrounding bases is directed at intimidating Venezuela."

Has the U.S. not supported Venezuela's democracy? Have you been unaware that the U.S. has never been a friend of communism or its authoritarian puppet states?

You seem to have made your choice in support of a leader who sees himself in a perpetual role (constitutional elections, or not).

We may soon revisit how history treats lawyers in communist states. Good luck to you!

Eugene Weixel said...

Thank you for this very informative item. Your work really made a difference. Right minded USAmericans need to be standing up against interference and intervention in Venezuela's internal affairs.

I took the liberty of reproducing this item for my blog, trying to spread the word- "Let Venezuela Be Venezuela".