[Green Left Weekly's Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter interview Venezuelan-US lawyer and author of The Chavez Code, Eva Golinger, about the nature of US intervention in Venezuela. --Ed]
The cover of Eva Golinger's new book, Bush vs. Chavez: Washington’s War Against Venezuela.
Interview with Eva Golinger
Washington's "Three Fronts of Attack" on Venezuela
By Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter - Green Left Weekly
November 22, 2006
Eva Golinger is a Venezuelan-American lawyer and author of The Chavez Code, which exposed US government involvement in the April 2002 military coup that briefly ousted left-wing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, before he was reinstated by a popular uprising. Golinger is a determined campaigner against Washington’s attacks on revolutionary Venezuela. She has just published a new book, Bush vs Chavez: Washington’s War on Venezuela, detailing the current US threats to Venezuela. She spoke to Green Left Weekly in late October.
Golinger told GLW that she analysed US intervention in Venezuela as having “three different fronts of attack”. “One of them is the financial front, which the US has been pursuing over the last five years or so, by financing the opposition. This has increased over the past year, doubled in some instances. In fact, funding by USAID [the US Agency for International Development], through its Office of Transition Initiatives (set up here after the coup), is now up to US$7.5 million a year. But, more interestingly, the recipients of the funding have increased dramatically.
“Two years ago, there were about 63 organisations receiving funding and, today, according to the latest documents I’ve gotten under the US Freedom of Information Act, there are 132 groups. When we talk about financial power, it’s not just the money; it’s about the penetration of Venezuelan society by using money to get into the various sectors. They find groups that are allegedly human rights groups, groups that work in the education system and so on, but are really working for the opposition.
“Basically, the US is funding these organisations in civil society ... to obtain control in all different parts of the country. There are large concentrations of programs in Merida, for example, also in Tachira, Zulia, and then in the interior of the country - places like Barquisimeto, and the states of Lara, Monagas, and Anzoategui.
“The US government has censored the names of organisations, but they’ve left the descriptions of what the funding is for, and even the titles of the projects. So we know what they are proposing to do with the money; we just don’t know if they’re actually doing it. In some cases, they’ve made an error and left names in. I’ve actually taken them to court over all this. The case is in the final stages in the District Court in Washington DC. It has already gone through the entire legal process with appeals, their motion to dismiss, and our response, and now it’s in the hands of the judge. It could be decided any time. I think we have a really strong chance of winning the case.
“The issue is over the fact that they used an exemption in the FOI legislation to censor the names of organisations. This exemption protects personal privacy rights. But we’re using the legal argument that we’re not trying to get individuals’ names, but rather the names of organisations - which have no privacy rights. On top of that, we’re talking about USAID - not the CIA, or the NSA [National Security Agency] - so what’s so private? This is public money. We should win, but we’re up against the government, so you never know.
“So, USAID money has increased, and the same with [money from] the National Endowment for Democracy. And it’s not just the money. They’re bringing down their best experts. For example, in the case of the [presidential] election campaign right now, they’re bringing in political strategists, communications experts, to help them craft the entire [opposition] campaign. It’s not just money, because in the case of Venezuela, which is different from Haiti, or Nicaragua, or even Bolivia, the opposition doesn’t need the money. The dollars don’t really compare, if you contrast it to the new Plan for Transition in Cuba, for example. The total there is about $80 million. In Venezuela, the total is about $9 million a year.
“It’s the political contacts as well. For instance, on October 28, a right-wing think-tank, closely tied to the Republican Party, is hosting an event in Washington, DC, called ‘Can Venezuela be saved?’ And the only speaker is Julio Borges, who is the opposition vice-presidential candidate with [presidential candidate] Manuel Rosales. All sorts of things are involved with what I call the ‘financial front’.”
Golinger explained that the second major area of US intervention is the “diplomatic front”, “basically the exercise of diplomatic terrorism by the US government toward Venezuela”. “This includes sanctions against Venezuela for made-up things. There are three areas of sanctions right now. The US is claiming Venezuela is not collaborating on [curbing] drug trafficking, which is not true ... The US government just released a new report saying that they’re sanctioning Venezuela again for not cooperating on the war on drugs.
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