The choreographed provocations on
Venezuela’s borders this past week highlight an often overlooked component of
the U.S.-orchestrated regime change machine—USAid (United States Agency for
Its motto, “From the American People,”
usually stamped on containers bound for conflict zones, might more accurately
be read as “From the U.S. State Department” as USAID functions as a direct arm
of U.S. foreign policy.
It is funded and staffed by the State
Department, controlling or overseeing a budget of “US$16.8 billion in
assistance that USAID fully or partially manages through the Economic Support
and Development Fund, Global Health Programs, Transition Initiatives,
International Disaster Assistance, and USAID operational accounts.”
USAID works closely with the more
visible regime change body the National Endowment for Democracy in “Transition
Initiatives”—Washington-speak for regime change or regime consolidation
USAID’s Bureau for Democracy,
Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance oversees the Office of Transition
Initiatives (OTI), which “supports U.S. foreign policy objectives by helping
local partners advance peace and democracy” and whose “programs serve as
catalysts for positive political change.” USAID has been instrumental in
organizing the fake humanitarian “aid” convoys ostensibly designed to alleviate
suffering inside Venezuela.
In a recent CNN interview in a
Colombian warehouse where the convoy trucks were parked, USAID’s chief
administrator Mark Green said: “Today [February 17] what we did was bring in a
new shipment of humanitarian assistance, about 66 metric tons.
“As I made clear, this was not the
first, nor will it be the last, there will be other shipments coming in, other
materials coming in from countries like Indonesia, they’ll be coming in from a
variety of sources and it really is [inaudible] what President Guaidó asked of
“President Guaidó, who we officially
recognize as interim president of Venezuela, had a specific request for
emergency medical care and nutrition, and so we’ve been responding.
“We’ve been mobilizing assistance
getting here, prepositioning here in Colombia, obviously Cucuta primarily,
which is what President Guaidó and his representatives have asked for. But it’s
important because we’re providing real hope for the people of Venezuela.”
Green does not even bother to hide
that this “aid” is aligned with the political agenda of the Trump
administration and its hand-picked “interim president.”
USAID was set up in 1961 as part of
the Cold War battle for hearts, bellies, and minds.
In 2009, in a briefing for the
Carnegie Endowment, Thomas Carothers outlined the integrated nature of U.S.
regime change—or to use one of the preferred euphemisms “democracy
assistance”—agencies and particularly that of USAID.
He wrote: “Over the past 25 years, the
United States has built up a substantial body of democracy assistance and now
devotes approximately $2.5 billion a year to it (with about half of the
assistance directed at Iraq and Afghanistan).
“Three organizations serve as the main
funders of such aid: the United States Agency for International Development
(USAID), the Department of State, and the private, nonprofit National Endowment
for Democracy (NED).
“Beyond USAID and the State
Department, several other parts of the government also sponsor assistance
programs that include efforts to support democratic institutions and practices
abroad, including the Department of Defense, the Millennium Challenge
Corporation (MCC), and the Department of Justice.”
According to Carrothers, USAID’s
spending on political work rose from $165 million in 1991 to $635 million by
1999, with $288 million allocated to central and eastern Europe and the former
Soviet Union; $123 million in sub-Saharan Africa; $111 million in Asia and the
Middle East, $86 million in Latin America, and $27 million on global programs.
According to the agency’s website:
“USAID’s Venezuela program supports civil society, promotes human rights,
strengthens democratic governance, encourages civic engagement, and expands
“We also help address the rights of
citizens to be informed by independent and free media. Our assistance provides
trainings, exchanges with other Latin American countries, support for research,
and opportunities for Venezuelans to share ideas.
“USAID programs reflect the principles
enshrined in the United Nations Convention on Human Rights and the
Inter-American Democratic Charter, such as freedom of assembly, freedom of
speech, and the rights to fair and transparent elections.
“USAID is building the capacity of the
National Assembly to be a viable democratic institution that represents all
USAID and the NED have channeled
hundreds of millions of dollars into the counter-revolutionary camp in
Venezuela since the very first years of the Hugo Chávez-initiated Bolivarian
Revolution. The same level of sabotaging democratically elected regime of
Venezuela is continuing. (IPA Service)
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