Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Check out this week's Correo del Orinoco International - English Edition!





Saludos friends of Venezuela!

Please find this week's Correo del Orinoco International - English Edition here.

We are pleased to announce that this week's newspaper is dedicated to the military rebellion led by Hugo Chávez 18 years ago, on February 4, 1992. "For Now, Forever: The Day Hugo Chavez Changed Venezuela's Destiny", goes in depth into what sparked the beginning steps that have led to the Bolivarian Revolution. In Caracas, on this February 4, a mass march and rally will take place in the famous Los Proceres Avenue, in Fort Tiuna, concluding with an inspiring speech by President Chávez. The anniversary of this event is now known in Venezuela as the "Day of Dignity".

This week's edition also has a special story on Colored Revolutions as a new form of regime change, currently at play in Venezuela by opposition forces. We go into depth on the history of this strategy, how it has been successfully applied in the former Yugoslavia, Ukraine and Georgia, and how it is developing in Venezuela, which agencies are behind it and how it works. We also have interesting stories on the battle against media monopolies; how community councils are taking decision-making power into their own hands to build their ideal nation; a pioneering urban cultural youth center in Caracas that is changing the lives of poor urban youth; UNESCO's latest report on education achievements in Venezuela; an exclusive interview with Dario Azzellini, author of The Business of War and the new documentary, Comuna under Construction; and a stellar OpEd by Michael Parenti on Empire and Imperialism that you shouldn't miss.

Friends, we are still looking for high-quality writers for the Correo International, and always accept submissions for consideration. We can't promise everyone will get published, but I personally will evaluate each article for publication. Again, please send your suggestions on story topics and themes for future editions.

We're also really happy to announce that next Friday, February 12, is the date of the official launching of the Correo del Orinoco International - English Edition and the website, in both Spanish and English. While we have published three editions so far, our official, official launch date is next Friday. After that day, the print edition of the Correo del Orinoco International - English Edition, will be available as a separate publication in newsstands across Venezuela. But don't worry, I will still send out the digital version! And, the website will be up so you will also be able to access the digital version directly online from the website.

We are still looking for help with international distribution. Please let us know if you can help. And please let everyone know about this new and exciting project. Thank you!

Revolutionary Regards,
Eva Golinger
Editor-in-Chief
Correo del Orinoco International - English Edition

US Intelligence Report Classifies Venezuela as “Anti-US Leader”

By Eva Golinger

3 February 2010 - As is custom at the beginning of each year, the different US agencies publish their famous annual reports on topics ranging from human rights, trafficking in persons, terrorism, threats, drug-trafficking, and other issues that indicate who will be this year’s target of US agression. Yesterday, it was the intelligence community’s turn. Admiral Dennis Blair, National Director of Intelligence, presented the Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

The report details the principle threats to the interests and security of the US worldwide. This year, in addition to mentioning the usual suspects - Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Al Qa’ida and Iraq - the report dedicates significant space to Venezuela.

In the section referring to threats in Latin America, which carries the title “Latin America Stable, but Challenged by Crime and Populism”, a large portion is dedicated to Venezuela. “In…countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, elected populist leaders are moving toward a more authoritarian and statist political and economic model, and they have banded together to oppose US influence and policies in the region. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has established himself as one of the US’s foremost international detractors, denouncing liberal democracy and market capitalism and opposing US policies and interests in the region.”

Classifying President Chavez as “one of the US’s foremost international detractors” already gives indication that the US intelligence community considers the Venezuelan president as an enemy. But following that paragraph, further down, a section titled “Venezuela: Leading Anti-US Regional Force”, further confirms the official US vision of Venezuela as a major adversary. “President Chavez continues to impose an authoritarian populist political model in Venezuela that undermines democratic institutions. Since winning a constitutional referendum in early 2009 that removed term limits and will permit his reelection, Chavez has taken further steps to consolidate his political power and weaken the opposition in the run up to the 2010 legislative elections.”

The mention of the congressional elections in Venezuela this year evidences how deeply involved US intelligence agencies are in internal Venezuelan affairs. The US is not always interested in legislative elections in a foreign nation. Such a focus only occurs when the US has some kind of investment in the outcome of the electoral process, as in this case. There is no question that the flow of US dollars will increase this year to fund campaigns of opposition candidates and aid in the execution of strategies to undermine the Chavez government.

In the following paragraph, the intelligence assessment utilizes every claim made by opposition groups and media in Venezuela against Chavez, “The National Assembly passed a law that shifted control of state infrastructure, goods, and services to Caracas in order to deprive opposition states and municipalities of funds. Chavez has curtailed free expression and opposition activities by shutting down independent news outlets, harassing and detaining protestors, and threatening opposition leaders with criminal charges for corruption. Chavez’s popularity has dropped significantly in recent polls as a result of his repressive measures, continued high crime, rising inflation, water and power shortages, and a major currency devaluation, raising questions about his longer term political future.”

Not only is the US intelligence community demonstrating poor intelligence collecting and analyses here, but also evidencing its clear dependency on opposition sources inside and outside Venezuela. No news outlets have been shut down in Venezuela. Some have been fined and sanctioned for not following legal regulations, but that happens frequently in the US as well. The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) imposes sanctions on hundreds of media outlets in the US each year. No one classifies those actions as violating freedom of expression, but rather merely enforcing the law.

Furthermore, not only has the Chavez administration not detained protestors that regularly violate all kinds of laws by blocking highways and vital roads throughout the nation, marching without permission from local authorities, calling publicly for the overthrow of the government, throwing molotov cocktails and other deadly objects at state security forces, but President Chavez himself has actually ordered police to refrain from carrying deadly weapons when dealing with public protests and to respect demonstrators’ human rights. In the US, protestors are regularly detained and violently repressed by police forces - almost at every demonstration - and constantly denied permission to march or protest near any government building.

Also, Chavez’s popularity has not “dropped significantly”. It remains well above 60%, as it has been during the past several years.

But the report goes on to accuse Chavez of forming an “anti-US alliance” in Latin America. “On foreign policy, Chavez’s regional influence may have peaked, but he is likely to continue to support likeminded political allies and movements in neighboring countries and seek to undermine moderate, pro-US governments. He has formed an alliance of radical leaders in Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, an until recently, Honduras.” (Note: Honduras was part of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas “ALBA”, until the recent Washington-backed coup d’etat. This statement in the intelligence report evidences the US’s clear satisfaction with Honduras’ withdrawal from the alliance).

In the following phrase, the US intelligence report also relates Chavez and ALBA nations to drug-trafficking and terrorism, “He and his allies are likely to oppose nearly every US policy initiative in the region, including the expansion of free trade, counter drug and counterterrorism cooperation, military training and security initiatives, and even US assistance programs.”

“Chavez’s relationship with Colombia’s President Uribe is particularly troubled. His outspoken opposition to Colombia’s Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US has led to an increase in border tensions. Chavez has called the agreement a declaration of war against Venezuela. He has restricted Colombian imports, warned of a potential military conflict and continued his covert support to the terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).”

In the above statement, the US again accuses the Chavez government of supporting the FARC, yet has never presented any solid evidence to back this claim, which has been repeatedly denied by the Venezuelan government. Cynically, the US is also accusing Chavez of somehow “increasing tensions” with Colombia because he opposes the establishment of seven US military bases in Colombia right across the Venezuelan border. A May 2009 US Air Force official document detailed how one of the Colombian military bases in Palanquero would be used by US armed forces to “combat the constant threat of anti-US governments in the region” and would improve the US’s capacity to execute “Expedentiary Warfare”.

Clearly, as the report classifies Venezuela as the “anti-US leader” in the region, that would indicate, as outlined in the US Air Force document, that the increased US military presence in Colombia is precisely to threaten and/or attack Venezuela.

Finally, the US intelligence report discusses the perceived threat surrounding Chavez’s relationship with Iran, Russia and China. “Chavez will continue to cultivate closer political, economic and security ties with Iran, Russia and China. He has developed a close personal relationship with Iranian President Ahmadinejad and they have signed numerous agreements…Most of the agreements Moscow has signed with Chavez relate to arms sales and investments in the Venezuelan energy sector…On paper, Venezuela’s acquisitions are impressive, but their armed forces lack the training and logistics capacity to use these to their full capability. Yet, the scale of the purchases has caused concern in neighboring countries, particularly Colombia, and risks fueling a regional arms race.”

The report ends by mentioning Venezuela in the section on “Significant State and Non-State Intelligence Threats”, claiming that “North Korea and Venezuela posess more limited intelligence capabilities focused primarily on regional threats and supporting the ruling regime…Venezuela’s services are working to counter US influence in Latin America by supporting leftist governments and insurgent groups.” The other countries mentioned in this section are China, Russia and Cuba, along with non-state actors Al Qa’ida and Hizballah.

Apparently, now the US formally views Venezuela as a threat in the same class as Al Qa’ida.

What this intelligence report really means is that operations against the Chavez government will substantially increase this year. The report will be used to justify a larger budget allocation to intelligence missions against Venezuela. But even more dangerously, the focus in the report on Hugo Chavez, the man, evidences that he has become the principal target of US agression. Placing such an emphasis on one individual as the cause of major threats to US interests raises the possibilities of an assassination attempt or other tactic to rid Empire of an individual perceived as an “anti-US leader”.

See the original report here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

CORREO DEL ORINOCO INTERNATIONAL - ENGLISH EDITION - WEEK OF JANUARY 29, 2010




Saludos Friends of Venezuela!

Our Correo del Orinoco International - English Edition for the week of January 29, 2010 is now available! Attached is a digital version of Venezuela’s first and only English-language weekly newspaper. This edition will be distributed in print for free in Venezuela on Friday, January 29, as an insert in the Correo del Orinoco en español, our sister publication.

This issue provides insightful analysis and information about: Evo Morales’ recent inauguration in Bolivia - the second historical term for the world’s only indigenous president; Why Venezuelans march on January 23; The Bolivarian Counterattack - mass marches and campaigns launched nationwide in Venezuela; A new report from the US revealing Venezuela has the largest oil reserves on Earth; Violent protests end with two students killed in Venezuela on Monday in reaction to legal sanctions against a cable television station that refuses to follow the law - How many lives is corporate media worth?; An exciting metrocable system changes the lives of Caracas’ low income communities; Police fight against gender violence; and our newest stellar columnist, Cindy Sheehan, on corporate rule in the US; in addition to many other interesting and exciting topics.

We are excited to announce that next February 4 we will launch the #1 issue of the Correo del Orinoco International - English Edition, as a separate publication. It will be on sale at newstands throughout Venezuela and will be available online for no-cost viewing. We are still seeking international distribution for the print publication and welcome any suggestions or offers for collaboration to bring Correo del Orinoco International to your community or country. Our website will also be launched simultaneously next week in both English and Spanish.

If you are interested in contributing to the Correo del Orinoco International as a writer, distributor or columnist, please contact us at: [email protected] We welcome all constructive criticisms and suggestions to improve our quality and content and to make us the leading source of information and news in English from a Venezuelan perspective. Please also let us know if there is a particular topic you would like to see addressed in future issues.

Download this week’s edition here: http://centrodealerta.org/documentos_desclasificados/correo_del_orinoco_internat_2.pdf

Please repost on your websites and send to others who might be interested in receiving the digital version in their inboxes.

Thanks for reading us and caring about the always interesting (and never boring) events taking place in Venezuela.

Eva Golinger
Editor-in-Chief
Correo del Orinoco International - English Edition

Thursday, January 21, 2010

ANNOUNCING VENEZUELA’S FIRST AND ONLY ENGLISH LANGUAGE NEWSPAPER, THE CORREO DEL ORINOCO INTERNATIONAL

Caracas, 22 January 2010 - This Friday, Venezuela celebrates the launching of its first and only English language newspaper, the Correo del Orinoco International. While in the past other English-language publications have existed, none remain in circulation today, and no others have been created during the Bolivarian Revolution.

Editor-in-Chief Eva Golinger explained, “This will be the first newspaper of its kind in Venezuela. We will produce news and information for an international audience, but from the Venezuelan perspective. Most of the news that’s out there in English comes from international news agencies that report with a biased perspective and tend to ignore important human interest stories that paint a positive picture of the Chávez government.”

“Our most important mission is to combat the massive media manipulation and information blockade against Venezuela and to inform the international community about many incredible events taking place daily inside Venezuela that rarely receive attention from the corporate media”, commented Golinger.

The original Correo del Orinoco was founded by Venezuela’s liberator, Simón Bolívar on June 27, 1818. It served as a principal source of information during the time of independence and the creation of the Venezuelan Republic. Bolívar encouraged writing and reporting as a form of “artillery”, termed by him as the “Artillery of Ideas”.

One hundred ninety one years later, the Correo del Orinoco in Spanish was relaunched as part of the Venezuelan people’s effort to combat corporate media misreporting and disinformation campaigns against the Venezuelan government and the Bolivarian Revolution, nationally and internationally. Today, the Correo del Orinoco is a widely-read and referenced daily paper, reporting on political, social, economic, judicial, cultural and international events of importance to the Venezuelan people, with a balanced and informative tone.

In times of Simón Bolívar, the Correo del Orinoco was published not only in Spanish, but also occasionally in English and French. Today this tradition is continued with the creation of the first foreign language version of the Correo del Orinoco International, a weekly paper in English for distribution nationally and internationally.

“Issues and stories of how social and economic justice are being built in Venezuela today will be our priority”, added the editor, Eva Golinger.

The Correo del Orinoco International will be available in print this Friday, January 22, and next Friday, January 29, as a free insert in the Spanish-language daily edition. The English-language paper will be formally launched as a separate publication on February 4, and then will be available every Friday at newstands across Venezuela. International distribution of the print edition is a future goal, but for now, it will be available in digital format on the Spanish-language website, also to be launched February 4.

This week’s trial edition is available at: http://centrodealerta.org/documentos_desclasificados/correo_del_orinoco_internat.pdf.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

US combat plane stationed at the military base in Curaçao violated Venezuelan airspace yesterday




Curaçao: The Third Frontier of the United States
US combat plane stationed at the military base in Curaçao violated Venezuelan airspace yesterday

By Eva Golinger

Caracas, January 9, 2009 - Yesterday’s violation of Venezuelan airspace by a P-3 US military combat plane is another example of the escalation in provocations against Venezuela and evidence of the danger US military presence in the region represents. During a live television broadcast on the evening of January 8, President Hugo Chávez revealed that at approximately 12:55pm earlier that day, a US P3 combat plane took off from the air base in neighboring Curaçao and entered Venezuelan airspace during a 15-minute period. Two Venezuelan F-16 planes intercepted the foreign military aircraft, prepared to escort it outside Venezuelan territory. “When the F-16 planes attempted communication with the US aircraft, it immediately took off towards the north, but later it returned”, announced President Chávez. He said that at 1:37pm Venezuelan time, the combat plane returned and flew for about 19 minutes inside Venezuelan territory. “It was escorted out and pressured by our F-16s, we didn’t have to bring in the Sukhois”, added Chávez.

The Pentagon has denied violation of Venezuelan airspace, yet the Venezuelan military has video and photographic images of the US combat plane incursion yesterday.

Just days earlier, Venezuela’s Vice-President Ramón Carrizalez had publicly denounced the intromission of a US military plane also originating from the air base in Curaçao during 2009. The governments of Washington and Holland denied the violation, yet Carrizalez revealed an audio recording between the Venezuelan airport control tower and the US pilot while inside Venezuelan airspace. The pilot stated clearly that he was flying a US Navy military plane stationed at the base in Curaçao. He claimed ignorance as to the violation of Venezuelan territory, stating he was “unaware” he had entered an unauthorized zone. But the US military plane hadn’t just merely crossed a border that some might argue is difficult to visualize, rather the pilot had flown over a strategic Venezuelan military base on La Orchila, a small island off Venezuela’s northern coast, clearly well inside Venezuelan territory. This was not an isolated incident.

Since 2008, Washington has been increasing its military and intelligence presence on the small Dutch island of Curaçao, where it maintains a Forward Operating Location (FOL) since 1999. The original contract between Holland and Washington stipulated use of Curaçao for counter-narcotics operations. But since September 11, 2001, Washington began using its military installations around the world to combat “terrorist threats” and threats against US interests, and in some cases, such as in Curaçao and Aruba, violating the terms of previous military agreements that only authorized counter-narcotics or humanitarian missions.

By 2006, US operations from Curaçao were not just US Air Force counter-narcotics missions, but a clear presence of US Navy, Marines, Army, Special Forces and CIA had taken over the tiny Caribbean island. Together, the US military and intelligence community components were conducting joint exercises and operations to combat a “potencial threat in the region”. At the same time, the Bush Administration was trying to brand Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism, despite the lack of any evidence to back such a dangerous accusation.

The arrival of US aircraft carriers, war ships, combat planes, Black Hawk helicopters, nuclear submarines, and thousands of troops to the waters of Curaçao to participate in “joint exercises” caused alarm in the region. The Commander of the U.S.S. Stout, one of the war ships that docked in Willemstad during Spring 2006, declared to the Curaçao press on April 11, 2006, “…we are the most powerful Naval force in the world and the United States will defend its friends in the region under all circumstances.” Commander Thomas K. Kiss also exclaimed that his powerful ship represented “…a formidable presence to defend US interests in the region.”

That was in 2006. In 2008, the stakes intensified. Washington formally attempted to place Venezuela on the terrorism list, though Congress didn’t approve the request because of oil dependence. But in July 2008, the US Naval Fourth Fleet was reactivated after almost 60 years, to “demonstrate US power and force in the region”. In 2009, a military agreement between Colombia and Washington was sealed, allowing the Pentagon to occupy and use seven military bases in Colombian territory and any civilian installation necessary. US Air Force documents justifying the agreement and budget requests to improve Colombian military installations underlined the necessity to combat “…the constant threat of …anti-US governments in the region” and to engage in Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaisance missions, as well as to improve the US armed forces’ capacity to execute “Expeditionary Warfare” in the region.

In December 2009, President Chávez denounced the detection of a US drone plane that had violated Venezuelan territory from Colombia.

A Department of State publication from 2006 classified the Dutch islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao as the “The Third Frontier of the United States”, considering the Caribbean colonies part of the “geopolitical border of the United States”. In reaction to the growing US military presence on Curaçao, a local journalist commented, upon visiting one of the US war ships, “After leaving the war ship, we had the sensation that all of a sudden, we are now very important…”

Thursday, December 31, 2009

CIA Agents assassinated in Afghanistan worked for “contractor” active in Venezuela, Cuba





At least eight U.S. citizens were killed on a CIA operations base in Afghanistan this past Wednesday, December 30. A suicide bomber infiltrated Forward Operating Base Chapman located in the eastern province of Khost, which was a CIA center of operations and surveillance. Official sources in Washington have confirmed that the eight dead were all civilian employees and CIA contractors.

Fifteen days ago, five U.S. citizens working for a U.S. government contractor, Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), were also killed in an explosion at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) office in Gardez. That same day, another bomb exploded outside the DAI offices in Kabul, although no serious injuries resulted.

The December 15 incident received little attention, although it occurred just days after the detention of a DAI employee in Cuba, accused of subversion and distribution of illegal materials to counterrevolutionary groups. President and CEO of DAI, Jim Boomgard, issued a declaration on December 14 regarding the detention of a subcontractor from his company in Cuba, confirming that, “the detained individual was an employee of a program subcontractor, which was implementing a competitively issued subcontract to assist Cuban civil society organizations.” The statement also emphasized the “new program” DAI is managing for the U.S. government in Cuba, the “Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program”. DAI was awarded a $40 million USD contract in 2008 to help the U.S. government “support the peaceful activities of a broad range of nonviolent organizations through competitively awarded grants and subcontracts” in Cuba.

On December 15, DAI published a press release mourning “project personnel killed in Afghanistan”. “DAI is deeply saddened to report the deaths of five staff associated with our projects in Afghanistan…On December 15, five employees of DAI’s security subcontractor were killed by an explosion in the Gardez office of the Local Governance and Community Development (LGCD) Program, a USAID project implemented by DAI.”

DAI also runs a program in Khost where the December 30 suicide bombing occurred, although it has yet to be confirmed if the eight U.S. citizens killed were working for the major U.S. government contractor. From the operations base in Khost, the CIA remotely controls its selective assassination program against alleged Al Qaeda members in Pakistan and Afghanistan using drone (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) Predator planes.
A high-level USAID official confirmed two weeks ago that the CIA uses USAID’s name to issue contracts and funding to third parties in order to provide cover for clandestine operations. The official, a veteran of the U.S. government agency, stated that the CIA issues such contracts without USAID’s full knowledge.

Since June 2002, USAID has maintained an Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI) in Venezuela, through which it has channeled more than $50 million USD to groups and individuals opposed to President Hugo Chávez. The same contractor active in Afghanistan and connected with the CIA, Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), was awarded a multi-million dollar budget from USAID in Venezuela to “assist civil society and the transition to democracy”. More than two thousand documents partially declassified from USAID regarding the agency’s activities in Venezuela reveal the relationship between DAI and sectors of the Venezuelan opposition that have actively been involved in coup d’etats, violent demonstrations and other destabilization attempts against President Chávez.

In Bolivia, USAID was expelled this year from two municipalities, Chapare and El Alto, after being accused of interventionism. In September 2009, President Evo Morales announced the termination of an official agreement with USAID allowing its operations in Bolivia, based on substantial evidence documenting the agency’s funding of violent separtist groups seeking to destabilize the country.

In 2005, USAID was also expelled from Eritrea and accused of being a “neo-colonialist” agency. Ethiopia, Russia and Belarus have ordered the expulsion of USAID and its contractors during the last five years.

Development Alternatives, Inc. is one of the largest U.S. government contractors in the world. The company, with headquarters in Bethesda, MD, presently has a $50 million contract with USAID for operations in Afghanistan. In Latin America, DAI has operations and field offices in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

This year, USAID/DAI’s budget in Venezuela nears $15 million USD and its programs are oriented towards strengthening opposition parties, candidates and campaigns for the 2010 legislative elections. Just two weeks ago, President Chávez also denounced the illegal presence of U.S. drone planes in Venezuelan airspace.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

US Military Aggression against Venezuela escalating





Caracas, 20 December - Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez revealed today on his Sunday television and radio program, Aló Presidente, that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, have illegally entered Venezuela’s airspace during the past several days. “A few days ago, one of these military planes penetrated Venezuela as far as Fort Mara,” a Venezuelan military fort in the State of Zulia, bordering Colombia. The drone was seen by several Venezuelan soldiers who immediately reported the aerial violation to their superiors. President Chávez gave the order today to shoot down any drones detected in Venezuelan territory. Chávez also directly implicated Washington in this latest threat against regional stability by confirming that the drones were of US origen.

On Thursday, President Chávez denounced military threats against Venezuela originating from the Dutch islands Aruba and Curazao, situated less than 50 miles off Venezuela’s northwest coast. Both small islands host US air force bases as a result of a 1999 contract between Washington and Holland establishing US Forward Operating Locations (FOLs) in the Caribbean colonies. Originally, the contract stipulated US military presence in Aruba and Curazao soley for counternarcotics missions. However, since September 2001, Washington uses all its military installations to combat perceived terrorist threats around the world. The military bases in Aruba and Curazao have been used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaisance missions against Venezuela during the past several years.

In 2006, Washington began conducting a series of high level military exercises using Curazao as the principal zone of operations. Hundreds of US aircraft carriers, warships, combat planes, Black Hawk helicopters, nuclear submarines and thousands of US military troops have been engaging in different military exercises and missions in the Caribbean region during the past three and a half years, causing substantial alarm and concern to nations in the region, particularly Venezuela, which has also been subject to hostile and agressive diplomatic actions from Washington.

In 2008, the Pentagon reactivated the Navy’s Fourth Fleet, charged with defending US interests in the Latin American region. The Fourth Fleet was deactivated in 1950, after accomplishing its original defense mission during World War II. The fleet’s reactivation nearly 60 years later was perceived by a majority of nations in Latin America as a direct threat to regional sovereignty and provoked South American countries to establish a Defense Council to deal with external threats. The Pentagon responded by proudly admitting the Fourth Fleet’s reactivation was a “showing of US force and power in the region” and a demonstration that the US “will defend its regional allies”. This was perceived as direct support to Colombia, and an attempt to intimidate Venezuela.

On October 30, Colombia and the US signed a military cooperation agreement authorizing US occupation of seven military bases in Colombian territory and all other installations as required. The agreement is seen as the largest US military expansion in Latin American history. Although the two governments publicly justified the agreement as an increased effort to fight drug trafficking and terrorism, official US Air Force documents revealed that the US would conduct “full spectrum military operations” throughout South America from the Colombian bases. The Air Force documents also justified the disproportional military expansion as necessary to combat “the constant threat…from anti-US governments in the region”. The documents further revealed that the US presence in Colombia will increase the success of “Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaisance” operations and will improve the Pentagon’s capacity to conduct “expeditionary warfare” in Latin America.

Since 2006, Washington has classified Venezuela as a nation “not fully collaborating with the war against terror”. In 2005, Venezuela was labeled by the State Department as a nation “not cooperating with counter-narcotics operations”. Despite no substantive evidence to prove such dangerous accusations, the US has utilized these classifications to justify an increase in agression towards the Venezuelan government. In 2008, the Bush Administration attempted to place Venezuela on the list of State Sponsors of terrorism. The initiative was unsuccessful primarily because Venezuela is still a principal supplier of oil to the US. Should Washington consider Venezuela a terrorist state, all relations would be cut off, including oil supply.

Nevertheless, Washington still views Venezuela as a major threat to US interests in the region. The US is particularly concerned about Latin American nations engaging in commercial relations with countries such as China, Russia and Iran, perceived as economic threats to US control and domination in the region. Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a warning to countries in Latin America that have recently forged relations with Iran, such as Bolivia, Brazil, Nicaragua and Venezuela. “…I think that if people want to flirt with Iran, they should take a look at what the consequences might well be for them, and we hope that they will think twice…”, Clinton stated during remarks made regarding the State Department’s Latin American policy.

The Colombian government announced yesterday that a new military base will be built right near the border with Venezuela, with funding and equipment from the United States. Colombia’s Defense Minister Gabriel Silva also announced the activation of two air battalions at other border areas near Venezuela. The new military base, located in the Guajira peninsula, which borders the Venezuelan State of Zulia, would have up to 1,000 troops and would also allow the presence of US armed forces and private military contractors. This announcement clearly ups the anty against Venezuela.

Today’s statements made by President Chávez regarding the US military drones discovered violating Venezuelan territory just days ago further escalate the growing tensions between Venezuela and Colombia. The MQ-1 Predator UAV, a type of combat drone, has been used over the past year in Afghanistan and Pakistan to assassinate suspect terrorists. The drones are equipped with Hellfire missiles and are capable of hitting ground targets in sensitive areas.

Venezuela is on high alert in the face of this dangerous threat. Chávez made the statements regarding the drone detection during the launching of the new National Police Force, a recently created communal police force directed at preventive security operations and community-based service.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

CIA AGENT CAPTURED IN CUBA: An employee of a CIA front organization working in Venezuela was detained in Cuba this week

EN ESPAÑOL

CIA Agent Captured in Cuba

An employee of a CIA front organization that also funds opposition groups in Venezuela was detained in Cuba last week

By Eva Golinger

An article published in the December 12th edition of the New York Times revealed the detention of a US government contract employee in Havana this past December 5th. The employee, whose name has not yet been disclosed, works for Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), one of the largest US government contractors providing services to the State Department, the Pentagon and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The employee was detained while distributing cellular telephones, computers and other communications equipment to Cuban dissident and counterrevolutionary groups that work to promote US agenda on the Caribbean island.

Last year, the US Congress approved $40 million to “promote transition to democracy” in Cuba. DAI was awarded the main contract, “The Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program”, with oversight by State and USAID. The use of a chain of entities and agencies is a mechanism employed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to channel and filter funding and strategic political support to groups and individuals that support US agenda abroad. The pretext of “promoting democracy” is a modern form of CIA subversion tactics, seeking to infiltrate and penetrate civil society groups and provide funding to encourage “regime change” in strategically important nations, such as Venezuela, with governments unwilling to subcomb to US dominance.

DAI IN VENEZUELA

DAI was contracted in June 2002 by USAID to manage a multimillion dollar contract in Venezuela, just two months after the failed coup d’etat against President Hugo Chávez. Prior to this date, USAID had no operations in Venezuela, not even an office in the Embassy. DAI was charged with opening the Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI), a specialized branch of USAID that manages large quantities of liquid funds destined for organizations and political parties favorable to Washington in countries of strategic interest that are undergoing political crises.

The first contract between USAID and DAI for its Venezuela operations authorized $10 million for a two year period. DAI opened its doors in the Wall Street of Caracas, El Rosal, in August 2002, and began to immediately fund the same groups that just months earlier had executed - unsuccessfully - the coup against President Chávez. The USAID/DAI funds in Venezuela were distributed to organizations such as Fedecámaras and the Confederación de Trabajadores Venezolanos (CTV), two of the principal entities that had led the coup in April 2002 and that later headed another attempt to oust Chávez by imposing an economic sabotage and oil industry strike that crippled the nation’s economy. One contract between DAI and these organizations, dated December 2002, awarded more than $10,000 to help design radio and television propaganda against President Chávez. During that time period, Venezuela experienced one of the most viscious media wars in history. Private television and radio stations, together with print media, devoted non-stop programming to opposition propaganda for 64 days, 24 hours a day.

In February 2003, DAI began to fund a recently created group named Súmate, led by Maria Corina Machado, one of the signators of the “Carmona Decree”, the famous dictatorial decree that dissolved all of Venezuela’s democratic institutions during the brief April 2002 coup d’etat. Súmate soon became the principal opposition organization directing campaigns against President Chávez, including the August 2004 recall referendum. The three main agencies from Washington operating in Venezuela at that time, USAID, DAI and the National Endowment for Democracy (“NED”), invested more than $9 million in the opposition campaign to oust Chávez via recall referendum, without success. Chávez won with a 60-40 landslide victory.

USAID, which still maintains its presence through the OTI and DAI in Venezuela, had originally announced that it would not remain in the country for more than a two year period. Then chief of the OTI in Venezuela, Ronald Ulrich, publically affirmed this notion in March 2003, “This program will be finished in two years, as has happened with similiar initiatives in other countries, the office will close in the time period stated…Time is always of the essence”. Technically, the OTI are USAID’s rapid response teams, equipped with large amounts of liquid funds and a specialized personnel capable of “resolving a crisis” in a way favorable to US interests. In the document establishing the OTI’s operations in Venezuela, the intentions of those behind its creation were clear, “In recent months, his popularity has waned and political tensions have risen dramatically as President Chávez has implemented several controversial reforms…The current situation augers strongly for rapid US government engagement…”

To date, the OTI still remains in Venezuela, with DAI as its principal contractor. But now, four other entities share USAID’s multimillion dollar pie in Caracas: International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), Freedom House, and the PanAmerican Development Foundation (PADF). Of the 64 groups funded from 2002-2004 with approximately $5 million annually, today the OTI funds more than 533 organizations, political parties, programs and projects, mainly in opposition sectors, with an annual budget surpassing $7 million. Its presence has not only remained, but has grown. Obviously this is due to one very simple reason: the original objetive has still not been obtained; the overthrow or removal of President Hugo Chávez.

DEVELOPMENT ALTERNATIVES INC. IS A CIA FRONT ORGANIZATION

This organization dedicated to destabilizing governments unfavorable to US interests has now made its appearance in Cuba, with millions of dollars destined to destroy the Cuban revolution. Ex CIA officer Phillip Agee affirmed that DAI, USAID and NED “are instruments of the US Embassy and behind these three organizations is the CIA.“ The contract between USAID and DAI in Venezuela confirms this fact, “The field representative will maintain close collaboration with other embassy offices in identifying opportunities, selecting partners and ensuring the program remains consistent with US foreign policy.” There is no doubt that “selecting partners” is another term for “recluting agents” and “consistent with US foreign policy” means “promoting Washington’s interests”, despite issues of sovereignty. Clearly, all DAI activities are directly coordinated by the US Embassy, a fact which negates the “private” nature of the organization.

The detention of a DAI employee is a very important step to impede destabilization and subversion inside Cuba. This episode also confirms that there has been no change of policy with the Obama Administration towards Cuba - the same tactics of espionage, infiltration and subversion are still being actively employed against one of Washington’s oldest adversaries.

VENEZUELA SHOULD ALSO EXPEL DAI

Now that Cuba has exposed the intelligence operations that DAI was engaging in (recluting agents, infiltrating political groups and distributing resources destined to promote destabilization and regime change are all intelligence activities and illegal), the Venezuelan government should respond firmly by expelling this grave threat from the country. DAI has now been operating in Venezuela for over seven and a half years, feeding the conflict with more than $50 million dollars and promoting destabilization, counterrevolution, media warfare and sabotage.

In an ironic twist, currently in the United States five Cuban citizens are imprisoned on charges of alleged espionage, yet their actions in US territory were not directed towards harming US interests. But the DAI employee detained in Cuba - working for a CIA front company - was engaged in activities intended to directly harm and destabilize the Cuban government. The distribution of materials to be used for political purposes by a foreign government with the intent of promoting regime change in a nation not favorable to US interests is clearly a violation of sovereignty and an act of espionage.

Development Alternatives, Inc. is one of the largest US government contractors in the world. Currently, DAI has a $50 million contract in Afghanistan. In Latin America, DAI is presently operating in Bolivia, Brasil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haití, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Perú, República Dominicana and Venezuela.


[All references in this article to DAI in Venezuela are thoroughly documented in The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela by Eva Golinger (Olive Branch Press 2006).]

Sunday, December 6, 2009

EVA GOLINGER GANADORA DEL PREMIO INTERNACIONAL DEL PERIODISMO EN MEXICO/WINNER OF INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISM AWARD IN MEXICO 2009

(México D.F. 02 de diciembre). La periodista, abogada escritora e investigadora estadounidense-venezolana Eva Golinger recibirá el Premio Internacional de Periodismo que otorga el Club de Periodistas de México por sus trabajos difundidos entre el 31 de octubre de 2008 y el 01 de noviembre de 2009. La Doctora en Derecho Internacional, Eva Golinger, ha sido otorgado el Premio Internacional de Periodismo Altruista y Trabajo Periodístico de Mayor Servicio a la Sociedad del distinguido Club de Periodistas de México.

El premio le será entregado durante una ceremonia que se efectuará en la sede de esta prestigiosa institución en la Calle Filomeno Mata de Ciudad de México, el próximo 08 de diciembre.

En la comunicación dirigida a la Doctora Golinger, los directivos del Club de Periodistas de México, Presidente Mario Méndez Acosta, la Secretaria General, Celeste Sáenz de Miera y el Director General, Mouris Salloum, a nombre de los socios del Club, de sus delegaciones nacionales e internacionales y de su brazo académico y asistencial, la Fundación Antonio Sáenz de Miera, felicitan a la galardonada “por su destacado trabajo periodístico”.

Este Premio fue creado en 1951 por Antonio Sáenz de Miera, entonces Presidente de la Asociación Mexicana de Periodistas “para enaltecer la profesión y distinguir el desempeño de funciones específicas a nivel nacional e internacional”. Es un premio de periodistas para periodistas, pues el jurado está integrado por reconocidos profesionales de este oficio.

El premio es absolutamente independiente, no recibe subsidios, patrocinios ni apoyo de injerencia externa. El respeto que despierta el certamen como defensor de la libertad de expresión queda de manifiesto por el número de trabajos periodísticos recibidos este año, más de siete mil.

Durante su permanencia en Ciudad de México, Eva Golinger dictará la conferencia “La ofensiva imperial de Washington en América Latina”, el 9 de diciembre, en el Teatro del Pueblo. El 10 regresará a Caracas.

Eva Golinger es abogada, escritora y analista política. En la última década ha denunciado la injerencia de Estados Unidos de Norteamérica en Venezuela y en otros países de América Latina a través de varios trabajos de investigación. Es autora de los libros “El Código Chávez: Descifrando la intervención de Estados Unidos en Venezuela” (Monte Avila 2005); “Bush vs Chávez: la guerra de Washington contra Venezuela” (Monte Avila 2006); “La Telaraña Imperial: enciclopedia de injerencia y subversión” (Monte Avila 2009) y otros. Sus libros y escritos han sido traducidos al inglés, francés, alemán, italiano, farsi, chino, portugués, sueco y ruso.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

REFLECTIONS OF FIDEL...(mentions me!)

IS THERE ANY MARGIN FOR HYPOCRISY AND DECEIT?

The United States, in its struggle against the Revolution, had in the Venezuelan government its best ally: the eximious Mr. Rómulo Betancourt Bello. We did not know it then. He had been elected President on December 7, 1958; he had not taken office yet when the Cuban Revolution triumphed on January 1st, 1959. Weeks later I had the privilege of being invited by the provisional government of Wolfgang Larrazábal to visit Bolivar’s homeland, which had been so supportive of Cuba.

Very seldom in my life had I seen a warmer people. The film images are still preserved. We drove down the broad highway that replaced the paved road I was taken through the first time I traveled to Venezuela in 1948 -from Maiquetía to Caracas- by the most reckless drivers I had ever seen.

That time I heard the noisiest, longest and most embarrassing booing of my life when I dared to mention the name of the recently elected President-to-be. The more radical masses of the heroic and combative Caracas had overwhelmingly voted against him.

The “illustrious” Rómulo Betancourt was referred to with interest by Latin America and Caribbean political circles.

What was the explanation for that? He had been so radical when he was young that at the age of 23 he became a full member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Costa Rica and remained there from 1931 to 1935. Those were the hard times of the Third International. From Marxism-Leninism he learned about the class structure in a society, the exploitation of men by men throughout history and the development of colonization, capitalism and imperialism in recent centuries.

In 1941, together other leftist leaders, he founded the Partido Acción Democrática (Democratic Action Party) in Venezuela.

He acted as provisional president of Venezuela from October 1945 to February 1948 by virtue of a civic and military coup d’état. He went again into exile when the eminent Venezuelan writer and intellectual, Rómulo Gallegos, was elected Constitutional President and almost immediately after was ousted.

The well-lubricated machinery of his party elects him President during the elections held on December 7, 1958, after the Venezuelan revolutionary forces, led by Junta Patriótica (Patriotic Junta) that was headed by Fabricio Ojeda, overthrew the dictatorship of General Pérez Jiménez.

By the end of 1959, when I spoke at Plaza del Silencio, where hundreds of thousands of people had gathered, and I mentioned, out of sheer courtesy, the name of Betancourt, there was this colossal booing that I mentioned earlier against the President-elect. To me that was a true lesson of political realism. Later I had to pay a visit to him, since he was the President-elect of a friendly nation. I found him to be an embittered and resentful man. He was already the model of “democratic and representative” government the empire needed. He collaborated as much as he could with the Yankees previous to the mercenary invasion through Girón.

Fabricio Ojeda, a sincere and unforgettable friend of the Cuban Revolution, whom I had the privilege to meet and with whom I talked extensively, told me later much about the political process in his homeland and the Venezuela he dreamed of. He was one of the many persons assassinated by that regime, which was totally to the service of the imperialism.

Almost half a century has gone by ever since. I can attest to the exceptional cynicism of the empire that we, the Revolutionary Cubans, the proud heirs of Bolivar and Marti, have indefatigably confronted.

During all these years, ever since the days of Fabricio Ojeda, the world has changed significantly. The military and technological power of that empire has grown bigger, and so have its experience and total absence of ethics. Its media is ever more costly and less committed to moral standards.

To accuse Hugo Chávez, the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, of inciting a war against the people of Colombia and unleash an arms race, to portray him as the mastermind and promoter of drug trafficking, and accuse him of repressing the freedom of expression, violating human rights and other similar misdeeds is a repugnant and cynical action, as everything else that the empire has done, still does and promotes. We can neither ever forget nor stop reiterating realities. Objective and well-reasoned truth is the most important weapon with which we should ceaselessly hammer into the conscience of peoples.

The US government -it is necessary to remind us of that- promoted and supported the fascist coup d’état in Venezuela on April 11, 2002, and after it failed, it pinned all its hopes in an oil coup, supported with technical programs and resources capable of destroying any government, thus underestimating the people and the revolutionary leadership of that country.

Ever since then, the US government has ceaselessly plotted against the Venezuelan revolutionary process, just as it did and has continued to do against the Revolution in our Homeland for fifty years now. The United States is far more interested in controlling Venezuela -given its huge energy resources and the other raw materials it has, which are obtained at negligible prices, as well as the huge facilities and services owned by transnationals - than Cuba.

After violently crushing the Revolution in Central America and thwarting, by bloody and repressive coups, the democratic and progressive advances in South America, the empire could not resign itself to the construction of socialism in Venezuela. This is a real fact that could not be denied by or hidden from those with a minimum political education in Latin America or elsewhere in the world.

It is worthwhile remembering that not even after the coup promoted by the United States on April 2002 the Venezuelan government armed itself. One oil barrel was hardly 20 dollars worth, a currency that was already devalued since 1971, when Nixon suspended the gold standard mechanism, almost thirty years before Chávez became President. When he took office, the Venezuelan oil was hardly 10 dollars worth. Afterwards, when prices went up, he invested the country’s resources in social programs, development and investment projects and cooperation with several Caribbean and Central American nations and other poorer economies in South America. No other country had offered such a generous cooperation.

He did not buy a single rifle during the first years of his government. He even did something that no other country would have done at a time when his integrity was at stake: he legally suspended the obligation of every honest and revolutionary citizen to defend their country with the arms in their hands.

I would rather say that the Bolivarian Republic waited for too long to acquire new weapons. The infantry rifles they had were the same that existed more than 50 years ago, when the head of the Provisional Government, Admiral Larrazábal, presented me with an automatic FAL rifle on November 1958, the penultimate month of the war. Venezuela continued to use that kind of infantry weaponry for several years after Chávez took office.

It was the US government the one that decreed the disarmament of Venezuela, when it banned the supplies of spare parts for all the Yankee military equipment which it had traditionally sold to that country, including fighting planes, military transport aircraft and even communication equipment and radars. Accusing Venezuela of engaging in an arms build-up is an extremely hypocritical attitude.

Quite on the contrary, the United States has supplied billions of dollars worth in arms, means of combat, aircraft and training to the Armed Forces of the neighboring Colombia. The pretext was the struggle against the guerrillas. I can bear witness to the efforts made by President Hugo Chávez in his quest for the internal peace in that sister nation. The Yankees not only supplied weapons; they also instilled feelings of hatred against Venezuela among the troops they trained, as they did in Honduras, through the Task Force based in Palmerola.

Wherever the US has military bases, it supplies the combat units with the same type of uniform and equipment used by the interventionist troops of that country anywhere else in the world. The United States does not need soldiers of its own, as in Iraq, Afghanistan or the northern region of Pakistan, to plot acts of genocide against our peoples.

The imperialist extreme right, which holds the reins of power, resorts to brazen lies to mask its plans.

The Venezuelan-American lawyer and analyst, Eva Golinger has shown how the strategic arguments used in the message sent on May, 2009, to the United States Congress to justify an investment in the military base of Palanquero were absolutely altered in the agreement whereby the United States received that same base together with several other civil and military facilities. The document sent to the Congress on November 16 entitled “Addendum to reflect terms of the US-Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement” that signed on October 30, 2009, has been completely altered, as was explained by the analyst. The document is no longer about “the mobility mission providing access to the entire South American continent with the exception of Cape Horn”. All references to global reach operations, security theaters and increased capability of the US Armed Forces to launch an expeditious warfare in the region have also been modified, according to the sharp and well informed analyst.

Furthermore, it is obvious that the President of the Bolivarian Republic is striving very hard to overcome the obstacles put by the United States against Latin American countries, among them, social violence and drug trafficking. The American society was not able to prevent drug trafficking and consumption, the consequences of which are affecting many countries of the region.

Violence has been of the most exported products by the United States capitalist society during the last half a century, through the increasing use of the media and the so called entertainment industry. Those are new phenomena that the human society did not know about before. Such means could be used to create new values in a more humane and just society.

Developed capitalism created the so called consumption societies and with that it also created problems that it is not able to solve today.

Venezuela is the country that has more rapidly been implementing the social programs that can counteract those extremely negative trends.The colossal successes achieved in the last Bolivarian Sport Games is a proof of that.

At the UNASUR meeting, the Foreign Minister of the Bolivarian Republic made a crystal-clear explanation about the problem of peace in the region. What is the position adopted by each country regarding the installation of Yankee bases in South America? This is an obligation not only of each and every State, but also a moral obligation of each and every conscious and honest man and woman of our hemisphere and the world. The empire should know that whatever the circumstances, Latin Americans will fight tirelessly for their most sacred rights.

There are far more serious and pressing problems affecting all peoples in the world: climate change is perhaps the worst and most urgent at this moment.

Before December 18, each State should adopt a decision. Once again the illustrious Peace Nobel Laureate, Barack Obama, should define his position regarding this thorny issue.

Since he accepted the responsibility of receiving the Prize, he will have to respond to the ethical request launched by Michael Moore when he heard the news: “now you should earn it!” I wonder if he could. At a time when there is a unanimous demand on the part of scientific circles to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by no less than 30 per cent of the levels attained in 1990, the United States is only offering to reduce 17 per cent of what it emitted in 2005, which hardly accounts for 5 per cent of the minimum that Science demands from all the inhabitants of this planet by the year 2020. The United States consumes twice as much per inhabitant than Europe, and its emissions exceed those of China, despite its 1.338 billion inhabitants. An inhabitant of the society that consumes the most, emits tens of times more CO2 per capita that a citizen from a poor country of the Third World.

In only thirty more years, the no less than 9 billion human beings that will inhabit the planet will require that the carbon dioxide volumes emitted into the atmosphere be reduced to no less than 80 per cent of the 1990 levels. Such figures are being bitterly understood by an increasing number of leaders of rich countries. But the hierarchy that leads the most powerful and rich country in the planet, the United States, comforts itself by asserting that such predictions are scientific inventions.

Everybody knows that in Copenhagen, countries will, at best, agree on continuing discussions so that an agreement could be reached among the more than 200 States and institutions that should discuss about the commitments, among them, a very important one: which will be the rich countries that will contribute to the development and energy saving of the poorest countries and how much resources will they give?

Is there any margin for hypocrisy and deceit?

Fidel Castro Ruz
November 29, 2009
7:15 p.m.