A couple days ago, I wondered why the anti-Chavez shadow group Sumate, supposedly an “open book” as far as its finances went, hadn’t been listing their most recent cash receipts from the US government. Well, looks like li’l ol’ Vheadline has the answer to my question:
A Venezuelan National Assembly (AN) special commission investigating outside funding for Venezuelan civil associations is attempting to sniff out opposition Sumate electoral group’s funding sources.
Patria Para Todos (PPT) leader and committee president, Jose Albornoz says the first thing the committee has discovered is that Sumate is not registered with the official exchange administration body (Cadivi).
The discovery came after Albornoz and committee members met Cadivi chief, Manuel Antonio Barroso and his board.
The second discovery is that Sumate has allegedly been receiving dollar remittances from Sivensa and Jantesa industrial companies. Sivensa is a big aluminum company, while Jantesa moves in the oil sector.
Albornoz has stated that Sumate is breaking the law in not declaring entry of dollars from the US Republican Party’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Any organization that receives more than $10,000 must make a declaration and sell the foreign money to the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV).
Sumate has allegedly received $240,000 from NED.
The next step of the investigation, Albornoz maintains, is to summons Banking Superintendent, Trino Alcides Diaz and Sumate administrator, Felix Sanchez.
Albornoz says private companies could be helping to finance Sumate … Sivensa and Jantesa have been singled out for investigation after their names were mentioned during a closed door meeting with Cadivi board members.
Sumate has rejected the charges, arguing that Sumate existed long before the exchange rate control came into being and the NED contribution is $107,200, not $240,000.
In earlier reports on Sumate funding, Vheadline.com had suggested the probability of funds from US government organizations reaching Sumate and other opposition groups via third parties/ third flags or green paths (caminos verdes).
And it looks like they’ve proven correct!
Now, a correction to a minor error above: The NED is not a specifically Republican organization (that would be its subsidiary, the International Republican Institute, or IRI). The NED also funnels money through the AFL-CIO (to influence foreign labor movements), USAID (to give it a “humanitarian” mask), and the National Democratic Institute, NDI (to deodorize it with the apparent sanction of the US Democratic party.) Certainly its meddling in other countries is quite congenial to the Republican mindset, though–and there are plenty of neo-cons on its roster. No surprise there, since their mission dates back to Ronald Reagan–who had an active interest in making sure no democratically elected leftists came to power–or stayed there!
The NED paints itself as a “private, nonprofit organization” whose mission is, nebulously put, “democracy assistance”. This alone should raise eyebrows over what it’s doing in Venezuela, where democracy already prevails without its “help”. Since when does any country’s democracy need “assistance” from an organization formed to administer US taxpayer dollars, by US congressional fiat? Is democracy really so fragile? Well, yes…and its biggest enemy is not who you might think. In fact, what the NED is up to all over the world is distinctly antidemocratic. They were behind the illegal ouster of President Aristide of Haiti, particularly via the IRI. And one of their astroturf “reporters” was recently unmasked to loud clamor. Little wonder they’re feeling the sting of rejection lately. But they’re still full of lies and denial about what’s really going on:
In recent years in Venezuela the trade unions have been threatened with dissolution, journalists have been put at risk with their freedom curtailed and democratic institutions and processes have been manipulated and undermined. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reports that the conditions in Venezuela “demonstrate a clear weakness in the fundamental pillars that must support the rule of law in a democratic system, consistent with the American Convention on Human Rights and other international instruments.” NED has increased its funding over the past two years for programs in Venezuela that help groups defend basic democratic rights. The objective of the NED’s programs in Venezuela, as in all such countries where democratic rights are threatened, has been and remains to support groups and individuals struggling to strengthen democratic processes, rights, and values, irrespective of their political or partisan affiliations. All of these groups represent the most moderate, and democratic elements in what has become an extremely polarized situation.
Sumate, “moderate and democratic”? That’s good for a laugh. They are far-right elitist, not grassroots but astroturf, and their only concern is how to oust Chavez and make it look legal. They tried it once before and failed rather dramatically. Shame on the NED for fudging over this fact!
Interestingly, like Sumate, the NED are not mentioning any activities since 2003. Yet according to FOIA documents dug up by Eva Golinger, they have been active in Venezuela throughout the years 1993 to the present, financing Sumate since its inception in 2002, and this year’s “contribution” is expected to be their largest yet, though the precise number is unspecified. The reason for this is obvious: Hugo Chavez is up for re-election in December, and all the signs are that he’ll coast to an easy victory. (He predicts there will be ten million votes for him; we’ll see.) Naturally the NED would be remiss if they didn’t try to muck with that.
Meanwhile, here’s something to make both Sumate and the NED gnash their expensively-maintained teeth: co-ops are blooming all over Venezuela. These social-democratic groups have government support and start-up money, but many are moving toward eventual self-sufficiency. That’s the last thing the wingnuts want for a US “client state”!
(And if you need a good chuckle, click here to read about one of the “better” astroturf candidates against Chavez. If this is the best the interfering Yanquis can do, they deserve to go right on losing.)