Now that the U.S. government has succeeded in subverting democracy in Haiti, they can go back to their continuing effort of subverting democracy in Venezuela. Since he came into power, the US has been determined to get Hugo Chavez removed, despite the fact that he is the democratically elected leader of Venezuela. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that, in 2002, the US paid out more than a million dollars to opposition political groups in Venezuela. This funding has been made by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) a non-profit agency financed entirely by Congress. It distributes $40m ($22m) a year to various groups in what it says is an effort to strengthen democracy. In Venezuela, the NED channeled the money to three of its four main operational “wings”: the international arms of the Republican and Democratic parties – the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs respectively – and the foreign policy wing of the AFL-CIO union, the American Center for International Labor Solidarity.
If the NED exists to “strengthen democracy,” then why would it support the opposition forces that staged a coup against Chavez in 2002? Historically, the role of the NED has not been, as it claims, to support deomocracy, but rather it works to promote neo-liberal economic policies. Chavez’s crime, in the eyes of Washington, is not being anti-democratic but rather being anti-neo-liberal. As Chavez himself says “I consider myself a humanist, and a humanist has to be anti-neo-liberal.” As to Chavez’s opinion of George W. Bush, the unelected leader that is funding Venezuela’s opposition groups, Chavez referred to him quite understandably as an “asshole.”