As hard as we try to expose all of the mechanisms of interventionism, these are so diverse that some of them slip through our fingers after we have had the evidence in hand. This is the curious story of how, after more than a year, I was able to tie down the loose end that had escaped me when I denounced the event called Danger in the Andes: The Threats to Democracy, Human Rights, and Inter-American security.
A few days ago I was interviewed by the renowned journalist Jorge Gestoso for his program, De Frente. With a sharpness of thought perfected through his years of experience, he had made a connection that escaped me. Attempting to give me the opportunity to correct the oversight, he read the following fragment from my article: “During the second panel, on terrorism, the panelists demonized Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador as anti-American, and they described the end of the world caused by those three countries with nuclear arms built with the support of Iran. Obviously, they did not allow me to ask any more questions because Jose Cardenas, the moderator of the first panel, had already passed on the information about me to Otto Reich, the moderator of the second.” After explaining that Otto Reich was the former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs during the government of George W. Bush, Gestoso raised his head and asked me, point-blank: “Who is Jose Cardenas?”
I was dumfounded, not knowing what to answer, because it had not even crossed my mind that the name could be as relevant as that of the other big shots on whom I had concentrated more that afternoon at the Capitol, when I found myself surrounded by the most radical of the Republican hounds who were preparing the invasion of Latin America. I did not remember the name, because in my article I had mentioned him only as the moderator of the first panel, and had bypassed the details of who Jose Cardenas might have been in his professional life. In order to finesse the predicament, I answered with what I had thought when I was writing the article: he is just another politician, of Latin American origin and rightist. I saw the disappointment in Jorge’s face, but, with the professionalism that characterizes him, he let the awkward moment pass. From then on, the interview was somewhat uncomfortable for me, because I could not stop thinking about why the name of Jose Cardenas had not led me to recall anything of relevance.
When I got home, I retrieved the recording of the event and paid attention to the introduction made on behalf of the sponsors –the Hudson Institute, a committee of experts (think tank) in Washington dedicated to “global security, prosperity, and freedom.” It was explained that the event was divided into two panels. The first of these would focus on the internal dangers for three Latin American countries: Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. The second would focus on the external threats to democracy for those same countries, dangers that, according to them, derived from links with the radical Islamism of Iran, drug trafficking, and terrorism.
Jose Cárdenas was the moderator of the first panel, for whom the internal threats to democracy in the mentioned countries were, supposedly, violations of the freedom of the press, violations of human rights, and the concentration of power in the hands of the president. Cardenas explained it this way: “let me start by saying that we really want to recognize the courage of many of the speakers here today, who actually live in the countries they will be talking about… because many of this speakers that we reached out to have expressed to us a concern, a fear of speaking out in public for fear of retribution when they return to their countries. And, just keep that in mind as a backdrop as to why we are here to discuss the internal situation in those countries. Think of it as ostensibly (ph) a democracy where citizens have an overt fear of speaking out in public, for fear of retribution.”
I was surprised at the immense capacity for manipulation shown by the gentleman, and the shamelessness of using such a grotesque lie to influence from the start the receptivity of the audience. In retrospect, his falsity can be demonstrated by the fact that none of the panelists, despite their open campaigns of slander against the mentioned leftist governments, has been persecuted, and far less have there been any attempts against their lives.
The panelists whom Mr. Cardenas presented to prove the internal threat of the democracies in “the Andes” were the following. Guillermo Zuluaga spoke in the name of freedom of the press, and denied his political campaign of media manipulation against President Chávez. The supposed violations of human rights were denounced by Javier El-Hage, speaking for the Human Rights Foundation, an NGO that was involved with the separatism of Santa Cruz through his support for Cruzan rightists in their campaign for autonomy. The accusation of concentration of power was handled by Luis Nunez, President of the Civic Committee for Santa Cruz, an institution opposed to President Morales and linked not only to the dictatorships of the past but also to the right-wing governments and to the secret societies that controlled power in Santa Cruz. The said Civic Committee was also linked to the same movement for autonomy that resulted in the attempted coup d’etat, the planned assassination of President Morales, to the case of terrorism, and the separatism of the eastern departments.
All of these “dignitaries,” who created a Dantesque vision of reality, were being praised, defended, justified, and even portrayed as victims by the moderator of the panel, Mr. Jose Cardenas. It was time, then, to turn to the official document of the event and look for the professional past that I had failed to notice. Jose Cardenas was USAID’s sub-regional director for Latin America during the administration of George W. Bush, but also a member of the National Security Council at the White House during that same administration that made history by adopting the policy of “preemptive strike,” which can be interpreted as the right to attack, without warning or provocation, any country that develops weapons or mechanisms perceived by Washington as dangerous for its “national security.”
How to explain such diversity in the talents of José Cardenas? On one hand, at USAID he carried out the “humanitarian” functions of helping our countries to conquer poverty, but, at the same time, he was part of the National Security Council that granted itself the power of attacking the whole world? We know, according to the same event at the Capitol, that national security is simply another of the excuses with which the United States intends to invade Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. But that’s no surprise, because that has been the Trojan horse of the wars of the United States. What is new in this case is for those plans to be connected openly with USAID, which supposedly carries out only humanitarian functions.
Perhaps the organizers of the event intended to keep hidden USAID’s political-military goal of facilitating in Latin America the dark projects of the “national security” of the United States. But resorting to dividing the panel into two parts and to leave Cardenas in charge of only the first part, was not enough to hide forever the evidence that USAID, unquestionably, functions as one more of the mechanisms for intervention of the United States. Further, it coordinates everything that it does with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the governmental agency that promotes a democracy complacent with U.S. interests, and with the NGOs through which it channels ample resources for the same purposes. Those three mechanisms for intervention acted in unison in the incessant campaign of destabilization against the process of change in Bolivia, and they continue to do it in the sister nations that advance similar processes.
The regional decision to expel USAID definitively must materialize as soon as possible, because this agency of the U.S. government serves as a Trojan horse designed to destroy from the inside the governments of its former area of influence, which now resist its policies. Its mask of humanitarianism allows it to draw close to its victims, and to gain the trust of the most humble sectors, in order to make way for the invasion of those same peoples. The case of Jose Cardenas, providing services in two organizations with goals officially so opposed, is also proof of the notorious system of the revolving door, by means of which are rotated in their different organizations the representatives of the different power groups that defend the status quo, which defends by any and all means the interests of capital against the interests of the peoples. USAID must be expelled as soon as possible from Latin America.
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