The American Blueprint for Destroying Venezuela

John Bolton

The ongoing and transparent attempts by Washington to rid Venezuela of what they have deemed to be an unsuitable leader has its roots nearly a decade ago.  Thanks to the dreaded WikiLeaks, we have proof that Washington, through one of its most influential global intelligence partners, has long had plans in place to re-engineer the world’s most oil-rich nation.

On February 27, 2012, Wikileaks began to publish the Global Intelligence Files which consisted of over five million emails from Texas-based Stratfor. One of these emails dated September 23, 2010 provides an internal analysis of the situation in Venezuela.  To put this email into context, Venezuela held parliamentary elections on September 26, 2010 to elect 165 deputies to the National Assembly.  In this election, then-President Hugo Chavez’s ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela won the most seats (98) which maintained their majority but relinquished his supermajority which allowed for the easy passing of his legislative agenda.  The email was written by Srdja Popovic, one of the founders of the Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) which has the following mandate:

The core of CANVAS’s work is rather to spread the word of “people power” to the world than to achieve victories against one dictator or another.  Our next big mission should obviously be to explain to the world what a powerful tool nonviolent struggle is when it comes to achieving freedom, democracy and human rights.

CANVAS touts that it has worked with pro-democracy activists from more than fifty nations including Iran, Venezuela, Palestine, Ukraine and Egypt and touts the following successes:  

Booking.com

….and the following areas where it is currently attempting to create change:

Let’s go back to Mr. Popovic’s musings about Venezuela.  Here is a screen capture showing the first page of the document:

Here is his analysis of Venezuela’s social and economic issues and the resulting vulnerabilities:

1. Oil based economic resources, used for covering basic needs and social control shows its weakness as prices of oil continue to fall on world Market. This produces plenty of difficulties for the almost exclusively Oil based economy. Critics accuse Chavez’s government of severe incompetence and corruption, and many people are unhappy that Venezuela’s oil-driven economy remains in a recession while all other South American countries are seeing growth

2. High inflation rate causes economic decline, which is reflected in growing dissatisfaction among people. But, Chavez irresponsible politics is not recognized as a main reason for failed economy, and majority of the population are accusing corrupt ministers, bureaucrats, and foreign powers. If opposition could change this widespread opinion, it would attract the poor and low educated people who are the Chavev’s strong support. 

3. Violent crime is very common in Venezuela.  In the first 11 months of 2009, Venezuela had 12,257 homicides. Earlier this month, Interior and Justice Ministry director of security and surveillance Haitam Sabeck was shot six times in an apparent theft. Kidnapping is also a major and growing problem, though the exact numbers are not known due to widespread underreporting. This crime situation is exacerbated by the failure of the law enforcement to act, and in many cases law enforcement officials are actually the perpetrators of the crimes.

4. Continuation of nationalization carried by state against domestic and international business sector deteriorates the situation in economy. More firm proofs that the State is in fact very bad manager is spun by state propaganda but consequences are getting recognized by employers.

5. Increase of use of coercive pillars by the regime: Use of fear and economic dependency as tools for social control. Pressure towards Business and Union Associations, along with the Church, Enactment of repressive laws, Human Rights are violated and not guaranteed. There is a rising level of Discrimination against dissidents.

a. Two main methods by which the climate of fear and dependency are created is through the fabrication of the threat of international invasion, and the use of economic pressure. The possibility of attack from the United States and its ally Colombia are constantly being raised by Chavez and his government. In August 2009, he said that the military needed to be ready for a confrontation with Colombia, because the US plans to expand their presence there posed a threat.Businesses are threatened and frequently nationalized. Threats on business are rife, as Venezuela has used the nationalization of banks in the country to arrest wealthy bank owners (although there are indications this was related to a personal vendetta). Chavez also recently threatened to seize businesses that raised prices after the devaluation of Venezuela’s currency.

b. Pressure on dissidents comes in a number of different forms. The government has violently broken up protests and rallies, as have pro-government groups. Additionally, opposition groups and politicians are harassed in a number of ways. Chavez has accused the opposition governor of Tachira of secessionism and attempted to remove him from office. The opposition mayor of Maracaibo, Manuel Rosales, was forced into exile.

6. Mass Media under censorship and a self-inflicted censorship. Limited freedom of expression. Continuous crackdown on private media in order to narrow the political space available for the opposition. 

7. High level of positive expectations of opportunities, deteriorating public confidence in state institutions despite Chavez steady charisma, confrontational discourse, populism and demagogy.” (my bold)

Here are his comments on Venezuela’s international alliances:

1. Alliance with Cuba and other strategic countries, such as: Iran, China, Libya, etc (replacement of Venezuelans with non-Venezuelans Human resource and skills and knowledge)

a.) Relations with Iran: Venezuela developed closer energy partnerships with Iran in 2009, entering into a fuel delivery agreement through which Venezuela pledged to deliver shipments of up to 20,000 barrels of gasoline to Iran. Iran also pledged to invest $760 million in the Dobokubi and Ayacucho oil fields in Venezuela. There are continuous rumors that Iran and Venezuela are cooperating in uranium exploration in Venezuela to supplement the relatively small reserves of uranium that Iran currently has. There have also been allegations that Iranian militant proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas could be using Venezuela as a training ground and as a way to raise funds through drug smuggling.

b.) Relations with China: Venezuela agreed to ship 630,000 barrels of crude oil per month to China in 2010. A commission to review joint Chinese-Venezuelan construction projects was established in Dec. 2009. The commission will reportedly review energy, technological, economic and political cooperation agreements. China’s interest in Venezuela is relatively peripheral. The energy agreements are primarily for China to secure from Venezuela the orimulsion technology so that when it develops other heavy and sour oil deposits, it will be able to process the crude into fuel. So while China appears to be quite interested in Venezuela, it is primarily for its own economic purposes.

c.) Relations with Russia and arms purchases: Venezuela has made agreements for more than $6 billion worth of arms purchases from Russia. In addition to purchases of fighter jets and other military equipment, Chavez recently announced in Nov. 2009 that shipments of armored vehicles and antiaircraft systems had already begun arriving. Construction also began on a Russian-backed Kalashnikov factory in the state of Aragua. The Kalashnikovs are reportedly destined to arm the militia organizations that support the regime.”

Is it just me or do some of these issues sound just like the talking points that Washington has been using to justify their recent (and possibly future) actions in Venezuela?  Not surprisingly, Mr. Popovic invokes the use of Chavez’s crusade against American imperialism, noting that this mimics the rhetoric that Fidel Castro used against Washington.

Mr. Popovic goes on to list potential opposition allies that could participate in a campaign to oust President Chavez:

“1. Political parties that will oppose Chavez on Elections (hopefully united).

2. Student and Civil Groups, potentially active in mobilization of youth, Get Out To Vote Campaign and “control the ballot boxes and defend the votes” activities.

3. Media: Independent, foreign, 

4. Guilds, Unions and Professional Associations: journalists, medical, engineering, law.

5. Federacion Campesina

6. Federacion Venezolana de Maestros

7. Fedecamaras

8. Fedenagas

9. Entertainment and cultural actors (find out if they are organized)

10. Immigrant communities in VE (Asociacion Italo-Venezolana, Hermandad Gallega, etc…)

11. Neighborhood Associations

12. Asamblea de Ciudadanos (discuss political situations)

13. Asamblea de Padres y Representantes

14. Fe y Alegria 

15. Dividendo Voluntario para la Comunidad

16. Rotary Club

17. Sports communities (baseball players in the US, FIFA)

18. Former oil workers and executives

19. Catholic Church

20. University Faculty Members”

Here is a list of issues that the author feels could be exploited to convince Venezuelans to rid themselves of their current political leaders:

1. Crime and insecurity: 18000 murders a year and complete areas in barrios ungovernable by security force. The Situation has tremendously deteriorated since 2006. Elections dramatically: Reason for change.

2. Education: Government is taking over the education system: Professors need to get fired up. They will have to lose their jobs or submit! They need to be encouraged and there will be a risk. We will have to convince them that we hold them to the highest levels of society; they hold the most valued responsibility. Teachers will motivate the students. Who will influence them? How will we touch them?

3. Youth: The message needs to be tailored towards the young people, not just university students. 

4. Economy: Oil is Venezuela’s, not the government’s, it’s your money, is your right! Welfare and Social Security. 

5. Women: What do mothers want? Rule of Law, police under local authorities. We will allocate the necessary resources. We don’t want any more thugs. 

6. Transportation: Workers need to be able to reach their jobs. It’s your money. We need to be able to hold government accountable, and we cannot do it as it is right now. 

7. Government: Redistribution of wealth, everyone must see an opportunity. 

8. There is a strong presidentialist trend in Venezuela. Can we change it? How can we work with it?”

Given the recent massive failure of Venezuela’s electricity infrastructure, the following comment is either prophetic or sinister:

A key to Chavez’s current weakness is the decline in the electricity sector. There is the grave possibility that some 70 percent of the country’s electricity grid could go dark as soon as April 2010. Water levels at the Guris dam are dropping, and Chavez has been unable to reduce consumption sufficiently to compensate for the deteriorating industry. This could be the watershed event, as there is little that Chavez can do to protect the poor from the failure of that system. This would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate. At that point in time, an opposition group would be best served to take advantage of the situation and spin it against Chavez and towards their needs.” (my bolds)

This is particularly interesting given this tweet from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:

Let’s close this section with this observation about the basic requirements for a successful coup against the current Venezuelan political leadership: 

“Alliances with the military could be critical because in such a situation of massive public unrest and rejection of the presidency, malcontent sectors of the military will likely decide to intervene, but only if they believe they have sufficient support. This has been the pattern in the past three coup attempts. Where the military thought it had enough support, there was a failure in the public to respond positively (or the public responded in the negative), so the coup failed.”

With all of this in mind, let’s close with what CANVAS had to say about recent events in Venezuela:

While Stratfor functions as a private global intelligence company, its links with Washington, the intelligence state as well as the Deep State are suspected as shown in this email from Stratfor which lists various think tanks that are, in some cases, controlled by former Washington-based politicians:

They (CANVAS) are supported by the Albert Einstein Institution (founded by Gene Sharp), Democracy Research Guide, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict Resources, International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. They may have also received CIA funding and training during the 1999/2000 anti-Milosevic struggle.”

In any case, it certainly appears that Washington is at least partially following the CANVAS script for a revolt/coup in Venezuela.  After all, it does help to at least have some sort of plan for re-engineering a nation that has a long track record of ignoring Washington.

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