Friday, February 26, 2010

CORREO DEL ORINOCO INTERNATIONAL - ENGLISH EDITION - WEEK OF FEBRUARY 26, 2010





Saludos friends of Venezuela!

Yet another edition of our Correo del Orinoco International - English Edition is out and circulating! This week's analyzes and reports on the groundbreaking meeting this week that took place in Cancun, Mexico, where 25 Latin American presidents and representatives from 33 countries in the region met and voted to create the new Community of Latin American and Caribbean States - the first formalized organization in the hemisphere without the presence of the US and Canada. This is a HUGE development and a major advance for sovereignty and regional integration. Read on for more details...Also in this week's edition are in depth articles on the new socialist supermarket and the complexities of switching from a capitalist model to a socialist one; Colombia & Venezuela at a crossroads; a new law for a Communal State; the coup in Niger and it's implications for Africa and the Global South; a detailed report on the Caracazo - the Great Caracas Explosion we commemorate this February 27, that changed the history of Venezuela and set the path for today's revolution; and a great article by Cindy Sheehan, who happens to be visiting us this week in Venezuela and hopes to show folks in the US a truth not told in the mass media about what really is happening here. Also, we recommend a fabulous documentary about William Kunstler, one of the greatest lawyers and revolutionaries ever in the US. Please check it out!

You can find this edition as always on: http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/correo-del-orinoco...

Still looking for contributors! Send us your letters and submissions to [email protected]

Revolutionary Regards,

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

Friday, February 19, 2010

CORREO DEL ORINOCO INTERNATIONAL - ENGLISH EDITION - WEEK OF FEBRUARY 19, 2010




Hi Friends of Venezuela!

This week's Correo del Orinoco International - English Edition, dated Friday, February 19, 2010 is out! Our cover is a fantastical image of a Carnival costume, on display during the celebration and festivities this week that overcame most of the nation. We have stories about Venezuela's Carnival traditions, particularly in the small village of El Callao, an area that still cherishes and reenacts the customs created from times of Colonialism that have African, Spanish and English roots. We feature an in depth article and analysis on the legislative campaigns already in effect throughout the country, gearing up for next September's elections. Some say those elections are as important as the future of the Bolivarian Revolution. Other articles detail an import People's Summit in Bolivia to Support Mother Earth's Rights; a stellar baseball game that pitted President Chavez against some heavy hitters from the US Major Leagues; a study on the world economic crisis, now hitting the European Union and especially Greece, and how Venezuela is impacted; a groundbreaking socialist supermarket chain inaugurated over the weekend that guarantees low prices to consumers and benefits to workers previously exploited; a grand makeover for the historical downtown area of Caracas; and a great article from professor Michael Lebowitz on the 4 Rs of capitalism.

We are still happy as always to announce that this issue, along with our past four editions, is available at http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/correo-del-orinoco. We hope that our website will be up and running by next week!

Please continue to send your comments, letters and articles to us at [email protected], and please help distribute this paper to all our friends, colleagues and those you think might be interested in news and information from Venezuela, from a Venezuelan perspective.

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

Friday, February 12, 2010

CORREO DEL ORINOCO INTERNATIONAL - ENGLISH EDITION - WEEK OF FEBRUARY 12, 2010





Dear Friends of Venezuela:

This week's issue of Correo del Orinoco International - English Edition is out! It can be found at the following link: http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/correo-del-orinoco. We hope to have our web page up and running by next week and will send out an announcement to everybody so you all can access the site.

Our Correo del Orinoco International this week has in depth articles on the celebration of National Youth Day this Friday, February 12, which also commemorates la Batalla de la Victoria (The Battle of Victory), a definitive battle during the War of Independence victoriously won by students; an analysis of the mass media manipulation campaign against Venezuela, evidenced in recent articles in The Washington Post, Miami Herald and other major newspapers; an interesting study of geo-strategic interests in Africa and Latin America placing China and the US at odds; a remarkable story of a free solar energy project being implemented in rural Venezuela; a spotlight on Carmen Clemente Travieso, the founder of Venezuela's Feminist Movement at the turn of last century; and other interesting stories about the creation of socialist communes and a new national program to fight crime and violence in Venezuela. We are also really excited that this week's stellar columnist is John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman and Hoodwinked!

Please send this issue far and wide to your friends, colleagues, families and anyone who may be interested in news and information from Venezuela, and from a Venezuelan perspective. We are still looking for writers and contributors to future issues, so feel free to submit articles, suggestions or letters to the editor. And we still need worldwide distribution, so please help if you can. Send to: [email protected]

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

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Colored Revolutions: A New Form of Regime Change, Made in USA

by Eva Golinger

In 1983, the strategy of overthrowing inconvenient governments and calling it "democracy promotion" was born.

Through the creation of a series of quasi-private "foundations", such as Albert Einstein Institute (AEI), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute (NDI), Freedom House and later the International Center for Non-Violent Conflict (ICNC), Washington began to filter funding and strategic aid to political parties and groups abroad that promoted US agenda in nations with insubordinate governments.

Behind all these "foundations" and "institutes" is the US Agency for Inter- national Development (USAID), the financial branch of the Department of State. Today, USAID has become a critical part of the security, intelligence and defense axis in Washington. In 2009, the Interagency Counterinsurgency Initiative became official doctrine in the US. Now, USAID is the principal entity that promotes the economic and strategic interests of the US across the globe as part of counterinsurgency operations. Its departments dedicated to transition initiatives, reconstruction, conflict management, economic development, governance and democracy are the main venues through which millions of dollars are filtered from Washington to political parties, NGOs, student organizations and movements that promote US agenda worldwide. Wherever a coup d'etat, a colored revolution or a regime change favorable to US interests occurs, USAID and its flow of dollars is there.

How Does a Colored Revolution Work?

The recipe is always the same. Student and youth movements lead the way with a fresh face, attracting others to join in as though it were the fashion, the cool thing to do. There's always a logo, a color, a marketing strategy. In Serbia, the group OTPOR, which led the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic, hit the streets with t-shirts, posters and flags boasting a fist in black and white, their symbol of resistance. In Ukraine, the logo remained the same, but the color changed to orange. In Georgia, it was a rose-colored fist, and in Venezuela, instead of the closed fist, the hands are open, in black and white, to add a little variety.

Colored revolutions always occur in a nation with strategic, natural resources: gas, oil, military bases and geopolitical interests. And they also always take place in countries with socialist-leaning, anti-imperialist governments. The movements promoted by US agencies in those countries are generally anti-communist, anti-socialist, pro-capitalist and pro-imperialist.

Protests and destabilization actions are always planned around an electoral campaign and process, to raise tensions and questions of potential fraud, and to discredit the elections in the case of a loss for the opposition, which is generally the case. The same agencies are always present, funding, training and advising: USAID, NED, IRI, NDI, Freedom House, AEI and ICNC. The latter two pride themselves on the expert training and capacitation of youth movements to encourage "non violent" change.

The strategy seeks to debilitate and disorganize the pillars of State power, neutralizing security forces and creating a sensation of chaos and instability. Colonel Robert Helvey, one of the founders of this strategy and a director at AEI, explained that the objective is not to destroy the armed forces and police, but rather "convert them" -- convince them to leave the present government and "make them understand that there is a place for them in the government of tomorrow". Youth are used to try and debilitate security forces and make it more difficult for them to engage in repression during public protests. Srdja Popovic, founder of OTPOR, revealed that Helvey taught them ". . . how to select people in the system, such as police officers, and send them the message that we are all victims, them and us, because it's not the job of a police officer to arrest a 13-year old protestor, for example. . . ."

It's a well-planned strategy directed towards the security forces, public officials and the public in general, with a psychological warfare component and a street presence that give the impression of a nation on the verge of popular insurrection.

Venezuela

In 2003, AEI touched ground in Venezuela. Colonel Helvey himself gave a 9-day intensive course to the Venezuelan opposition on how to "restore democracy" in the country. According to AEI's annual report, opposition political parties, NGOs, activists and labor unions participated in the workshop, learning the techniques of how to "overthrow a dictator". This was a year after the failed coup d'etat -- led by those same groups -- against President Chavez. What came right after the AEI intervention was a year of street violence, constant destabilization attempts and a recall referendum against Chavez. The opposition lost 60-40, but cried fraud. Their claims were pointless. Hundreds of international observers, including the Carter Center and the OAS, certified the process as transparent, legitimate and fraud-free.

In March 2005, the Venezuelan opposition and AEI joined forces again, but this time the old political parties and leaders were replaced by a select group of students and young Venezuelans. Two former leaders of OTPOR came from Belgrade, Slobodan Dinovic and Ivan Marovic, to train the Venezuelan students on how to build a movement to overthrow their president. Simultaneously, USAID and NED funding to groups in Venezuela skyrocketed to around $9 million USD. Freedom House set up shop in Venezuela for the first time ever, working hand in hand with USAID and NED to help consolidate the opposition and prepare it for the 2006 presidential elections. ICNC, led by former Freedom House president Peter Ackerman, also began to train the youth opposition movement, providing intensive courses and seminars in regime change techniques.

That year, the newly-trained students launched their movement. The goal was to impede the electoral process and create a scenario of fraud, but they failed. Chavez won the elections with 64% of the vote, a landslide victory. In 2007, the movement was relaunched in reaction to the government's decision to not renew the broadcasting license of a private television station, RCTV, a voice of the opposition. The students took to the streets with their logo in hand and along with the aid of mainstream media, garnered international attention.

Several were selected by US agencies and sent to train again in Belgrade in October 2007. Student leader Yon Goicochea was awarded $500,000 USD from the right-wing Washington think tank, Cato Institute, to set up a training center for opposition youth inside Venezuela.

Today, those same students are the faces of the opposition political parties, evidencing not only their clear connection with the politics of the past, but also the deceit of their own movement. The colored revolutions in Georgia and the Ukraine are fading. Citizens of those nations have become disenchanted with those that took power through an apparent "autonomous" movement and have begun to see they were fooled.

The colored revolutions are nothing more than the red, white and blue of US agencies, finding new and innovative ways to try and impose Empire's agenda.

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.