RE: learning about the world

From: Carmen Torres (
Date: Sun May 11 2003 - 04:11:36 PDT

Hello, since one or two month ago, I am not regularly receiving posts, only
one or two per week. I don't know where's the problem. I 'll be grateful if
someone solve it for me.


-----Mensaje original-----
De: Mike Cole []
Enviado el: Sabado, 28 de Diciembre de 2002 07:35 p.m.
Asunto: learning about the world

There are a lot of good hints hear about how to find information on current
US policies toward its citizens and other countries. Delete now if you are
not interested. There is a long article about Venezuala which is a personal
interest of the writers and mine, but maybe not yours!
Subject: Re: comparative contemporary news analysis
To: Mike Cole <>

Hi Mike,

Go to Google and for the INS info type in under
"search": "United Lawyers Gild".
There is a new addition to the basic google page:
"News file", on the far right side of the screen, then
type in anything : It is Excellent....

World News

Foreign Policy In Focus:

the Project on the Present Danger:

Middle east maps:

Center for International Private Enterprise:

Human Rights Watch:

International Republican Institute to follow the
military and war activity: (IRI)

National Democratic Institute for International

National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

The U.S. and Venezuela: Official Texts | U.S.
Department of State:

Progress: England


Washington Post:

American Civil Liberties Union

Here is a good article...
By Mike Ceaser (December 9, 2002)
Online at
After this April's aborted coup against Venezuela's
President Hugo Chavez, many observers accused
Washington of having been behind the attempted ouster.
The Bush administration denies any U.S. involvement in
the affair, and certainly Chavez has made plenty of
domestic foes for himself. However, one relatively
clear connection has emerged between the U.S.
government and the anti-Chavez movement: millions of
dollars in U.S. taxpayer money that funded groups
opposed to Chavez during the years preceding the April
coup--often in disguised ways.

As Turmoil Deepens in Venezuela, Questions Regarding
NED Activities Remain Unanswered

by Mike Ceaser | December 9, 2002

Download and Print


Share this page with a friend

After this April's aborted coup against Venezuela's
President Hugo Chavez, many observers accused
Washington of having been behind the attempted ouster.
The Bush administration denies any U.S. involvement in
the affair, and certainly Chavez has made plenty of
domestic foes for himself. However, one relatively
clear connection has emerged between the U.S.
government and the anti-Chavez movement: millions of
dollars in U.S. taxpayer money that funded groups
opposed to Chavez during the years preceding the April
coup--often in disguised ways.

Chavez was elected in 1998 by a landslide, and won a
second endorsement of popularity two years later when
his new Bolivarian Constitution garnered majority
backing. Despite his popularity with some sectors,
however, he has also antagonized church leaders,
unions, the business community, and much of the
Venezuela's middle and upper classes. Chavez also
earned the enmity of U.S. authorities by befriending
Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro, criticizing the war
in Afghanistan, and working within the Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to raise oil

Against that backdrop, street protests triggered by a
strike of managers at the state oil company culminated
with the April 11 shooting of some 17 people by
still-unidentified gunmen. That day, military leaders
removed Chavez and installed as interim president
Pedro Carmona, a pro-U.S. business leader.

While several Latin American nations condemned what
they termed a coup, the United States appeared
disposed to recognize the new regime. A State
Department statement on the matter blamed the crisis
on "undemocratic actions committed or encouraged by
the Chavez administration," and the U.S. ambassador to
Venezuela quickly met with Carmona. However, Carmona
was expelled by Chavez supporters two days later and
Chavez reassumed the presidency.

Reports in the Venezuelan and U.S. media following
Chavez' ouster revealed that the generals who removed
him from power had met repeatedly with U.S. officials.

Since then, research has shown that public money from
U.S. coffers was channeled to anti-Chavez groups
without clear accounting of its use, raising
objections that these finances may have contributed to
political instability in Venezuela.

The Long Arm of the NED

The funding was sent by the National Endowment for
Democracy (NED), a nominally private institution
created during the cold war, which receives nearly all
of its annual budget from congressional
appropriations. The NED's express mission is to
"strengthen democracy throughout the world." However,
many academics view the institution as a cold war
mechanism for deploying U.S. "soft power" during the
East-West standoff, and critics have frequently
accused the NED of simply being a tool for supporting
regimes friendly to the United States and opposing
ones considered hostile. The NED funnels its money
overseas either through direct grants to foreign
organizations or through four NED core institutes: the
American Center for International Labor Solidarity
(ACILS), the Center for International Private
Enterprise (CIPE), the International Republican
Institute (IRI), and the National Democratic Institute
for International Affairs (NDI).

Between 2000 and 2001, as the political and social
crisis here worsened, the NED more than tripled its
Venezuela funding, from $257,831 to $877,435. The
lion's share went to Chavez opponents.

A several-month examination of the use of more than a
million dollars in 2000 and 2001 NED grants has
revealed not only a consistent pattern of support for
Chavez opponents--including two groups active in the
protests that brought about his brief downfall this
April--but also apparent deception concerning some of
the money's use as well as the fact that other monies
never reached their intended destination.

Follow the Money--If You Can

One of the organizations prominent in the anti-Chavez
protests that received NED funding is the nation's
primary union, the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers
(CTV). It was granted $154,377 in 2001, nearly triple
the $60,084 it received in 2000.

The CTV, historically plagued by corruption and
closely aligned with the entrenched political parties
that Chavez displaced, receives its NED grants through
the ACILS, which is run by the AFL-CIO.

According to the NED's grant list, the CTV's 2001
grant was supposed to be used for organizing a
"unified national industrial union" and holding
internal elections for new leadership. However,
apparently none of the money was used for the November
rank-and-file elections held by the union. "We as an
electoral commission never received money," asserted
Daniel Santolo, who headed that CTV organ. "Absolutely

Rather, all of the NED funds paid for union training
courses at the CTV's Institute of Higher Union Studies
(INAESIN), said the institute's director, Jeszs
Urbieta. He said the CTV never handled the funds;
instead the AFL-CIO's solidarity center paid them
directly for things like room rental and teacher

Meanwhile, Alfredo Ramos, one of the new members of
the CTV executive committee elected in November 2001
and an anti-Chavez parliamentary deputy for the Causa
R party, questioned that claim, saying that the
INAESIN has operated with little financial oversight.
"They don't have to show their accounts," he said.

Another prominent anti-government activist
organization that received a 2001 grant was the
Assembly of Educators, which was granted $55,000 to
"organize grassroots support to monitor education
reform." The group is headed by Leonardo Carvajal, who
was tapped by Carmona during his brief two-day April
presidency as prospective Minister of Education. The
assembly, which works to reform educational policy,
was one of the first organizations to carry out
anti-government marches, said Carvajal during an
interview. He added that during the grant application
process NED officials expressed no concern about the
activist side of his organization, and asserted that
all NED funds were used correctly for traveling and
carrying out workshops.

Several other NED beneficiaries are also headed by
Chavez critics, among them Primero Justicia, which is
linked by origin to one of the most radical
anti-Chavez political parties. Another organization,
Prodel, which received $50,000 in 2000 to "promote
government decentralization," is directed by Ignacio
Betancourt, the former executive secretary of
ex-President Carlos Andris Pirez and a prominent
Chavez opponent who now lives in exile in the
Dominican Republic and the United States. In January
of this year, the Venezuela media acquired and
broadcast a recording of a telephone conversation in
which Pirez and the CTV's president plotted against

Betancourt said the NED funds went to their intended
purposes. Representatives of other organizations
contacted also said the U.S. money went for what it
was earmarked.

Circumstantial Evidence?

While on one hand Chavez has succeeded in alienating
major portions of Venezuelan society, the appearance
of so many Chavez opponents on NED grant lists angers
the president's backers, many of whom suspect U.S.
complicity in the president's April ouster.

"This must be investigated, because almost all of
these organizations are open enemies of the Chavez
government," said Deputy Tarik William Zaab, a
prominent member of Chavez' Fifth Republic Movement
(MVR) party.

In April an NED official told The New York Times that
none of its 2001 money had gone to support Chavez's
ouster but did say that the endowment had "hurriedly
increased its outlays in Venezuela" that year to
"create political space for opponents to Mr. Chavez."
Neither the NED nor the AFL-CIO's solidarity center
responded to repeated telephone calls and emails
requesting comment for this article.

For some observers, the most troubling grant was that
to the IRI, because of its apparently false claims
about the institution's work and its director's strong
support for Chavez' ouster. The grant amount for the
IRI, which has an office in Caracas, more than
sextupled from $50,000 in 2000 to $339,998 in 2001.

In an April 12 facsimile sent to news media, IRI
President George A. Folsom rejoiced over Chavez'
removal from power. "The Venezuelan people rose up to
defend democracy in their country," he wrote.
"Venezuelans were provoked into action as a result of
systematic repression by the government of Hugo

Fanning the concerns about how the IRI may have
utilized its NED funds are doubts regarding the
accuracy of its reporting on activities in Venezuela.
According to the organization's website, it has
several times collaborated with a Venezuelan partner
organization called the Youth Participation Foundation
(FPJ). Indeed, working with the FPJ was the primary
purpose of the IRI's $50,000 year 2000 grant. But
dozens of Venezuelan politicians, activists, and
nongovernmental organization (NGO) representatives
interviewed for this story--including several who have
worked with the IRI--had never heard of the FPJ.

According to the IRI's Caracas office, the FPJ ceased
to exist "several years ago." According to the IRI
website, prior to the 1998 elections the FPJ arranged
a pair of youth forums featuring major presidential
candidates. But neither the candidates nor the
television station supposedly involved had any record
or memory of such events.

The Caracas IRI office referred inquiries to
Washington, where a spokesman said the institute was
not commenting on its Venezuela work.

The IRI did carry out other activities here, including
political party-building workshops, which participants
described as valuable. However, only opposition
politicians were invited to those events, they added.

Some here justify the IRI's work with opposition
parties because of what they call Chavez's autocratic
style and his cut-off of the opposition's public
funding. "It's absolutely legitimate for anybody
trying to rebuild a democratic system," said Enrique
Salas Romer, the leader of the Venezuelan Project
party who lost to Chavez in the 1998 elections. "You
have government parties who have a lot of money and
opposition parties who have none."

In the Name of Democracy

However, the IRI evidently began opposing Chavez even
before his 1998 election. Prior to that year's
congressional and presidential elections, the IRI
worked with Venezuelan organizations critical of
Chavez to run newspaper ads, TV, and radio spots that
several observers characterize as anti-Chavez.

The IRI has also flown groups of Chavez opponents to
Washington to meet with U.S. officials. In March 2002,
a month before Chavez's brief ouster, one such group
of politicians, union leaders, and activists traveled
to DC to meet with U.S. officials, including members
of Congress and State Department staff. The trip came
at the time that several military officers were
calling for Chavez' resignation and talk of a possible
coup was widespread.

Trip participants said the U.S. officials expressed
support only for a constitutional departure for
Chavez. The Assembly of Educators' Carvajal, who
participated in the IRI trip, said that bringing
varied government opponents together in Washington
accelerated the unification of the opposition. "The
democratic opposition began to become cohesive," he
said. "We began to become a team." Shortly after
returning from that trip, Carvajal said, opposition
organizations "precipitated" a plan of action against

Mike Ceaser is a freelance journalist based in
Caracas, Venezuela. He can he reached at

--- Mike Cole <> wrote:
> Is there any (or are there any) web pages that are
> tracking simultaneously such linked stories as INS
behavior toward middle eastern visa holders, callups
and movement of troops to the middle east, events in
> and the Korean peninsula?
> mike

Claudia DaMetz
Computer Resource Specialist
University of California, San Diego
Department of Communication
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0503

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