Washington¹s New Imperial Strategy In Venezuela


Richard Moore

        The destabilization attempts are taking form in a concrete
        way in the coming weeks in the form of huge anti-government
        protests in Caracas to reject the government¹s actions
        against the private TV channel RCTV. Opposition groups have
        organized around the government decision, claiming that it
        steps on their ³freedom of expression,² and have organized a
        series of large protests in the capital leading up to a
        massive march on May 27th, the day RCTV¹s broadcast license

        What most protesters probably do not know is that they are
        simply pawns in a larger strategy to open up the world to
        ³free-market² global capitalism and corporate-dominated
        privatizations.  While huge multinational corporations carve
        up the world among themselves, small nations like Serbia and
        Venezuela are simply unfortunate obstacles to their
        objectives. In the worldwide scramble to see who will get
        bigger and who will get eaten, the fact that some countries
        would prefer not to be eaten simply doesn¹t matter to the
        bureaucrats in Washington.

Original source URL:

Setting the Stage for Turmoil in Caracas
Washington¹s New Imperial Strategy In Venezuela
Sunday, May 13, 2007

By: Chris Carlson - Venezuelanalysis.com

First used in Serbia in 2000, Washington has now perfected a new imperial 
strategy to maintain its supremacy around the globe. Whereas military invasions 
and installing dictatorships have traditionally been the way to control foreign 
populations and keep them out of the way of business, the U.S. government has 
now developed a new strategy that is not so messy or brutal, and much sleeker; 
so sleek, in fact, that it¹s almost invisible.

It was so invisible in Serbia that no one seemed to notice in 2000 when a regime
was toppled, the country was opened to massive privatization, and huge 
public-sector industries, businesses, and natural resources fell into the hands 
of U.S. and multinational corporations. Likewise, few have noticed as countries 
in the former Soviet-bloc have recently been victims of the same strategy, with 
the exact same results.

Nations that do not give in to the demands of the empire and the expansion of 
global capitalism are targeted by an undercover, well-designed plan to change 
the political situation in the country, and open it up to corporate investors. 
U.S.-supported groups inside the country overthrow the president, making it seem
like there is no outside intervention. And now, Washington has turned toward its
new biggest threat: Latin America, and more specifically, Venezuela.

The Rise of the New World Order

During the second half of the twentieth century, capitalists in the first world 
began to saturate domestic opportunities for investment and growth. Big business
reached a point where possibilities for expansion within national borders were 
mostly exhausted, and the only option for growth was to look for new 
opportunities abroad. Growing corporate conglomerates looked to expand their 
operations throughout the world, investing, privatizing, and buying up 
everything they could get their hands on. National capital was looking to go 
international, and by the end of the century, capitalism had become truly 

"Get big, or get eaten," was their new philosophy, and they decided to get big 
by eating whole nations. With the help of the World Bank and the International 
Monetary Fund, economies everywhere were opened up to privatization. The phone 
systems, electrical grids, water systems, and natural resources were bought up 
by wealthy capitalists in countries around the world. Free-market capitalism now
ruled the day; a paradise for international capital as the world¹s wealth became
more and more concentrated in their hands.[1]

Some nations, however, were determined to not be eaten. Privatization was an 
unpopular idea among populations that had developed the crazy idea that their 
natural resources belonged to them, and not foreign corporations. Resistance 
developed in several areas of the world, and some nations would not consent to 
the logic of global capitalism. Washington, however, was determined to open the 
world up to corporate expansion. They would oblige those countries that didn¹t 
comply, either by force or by cunning.

The Case of Yugoslavia: A Model for Regime Change

It was in Yugoslavia, and more specifically, in Serbia, where Washington¹s new 
strategy would really take shape for the first time. From here they would carry 
it on to other countries in an attempt to repeat the tremendous success of the 
Serbian experience. And it¹s not hard to see why. After the toppling of the 
Milosevic regime allowed for mass privatization, all that remained of the 
formerly socialist country, including some of Europe¹s largest reserves of 
natural resources, soon fell into the hands of U.S. and international investors.

The strategy is a sophisticated one. With the intention of ousting an 
undesirable regime, the U.S. government dedicates itself to strengthening and 
uniting opposition to the government. This includes funding opposition political
parties, and creating non-governmental organizations dedicated to toppling the 
regime in power. On top of this, the U.S. might contract political consultants 
and polling agencies to help their favored candidate win at the ballot box. But 
in the event they cannot win the election, fake polls cast doubt on the official
electoral results, and the opposition claims fraud. Massive protests and media 
attention put pressure on the regime to step down, or to give in to opposition 

As implausible as it might sound, it was exactly this strategy that toppled 
Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia in 2000. After the war in Kosovo and NATO bombing 
had failed to produce regime change, the United States worked to strengthen 
Milosevic¹s internal opponents by uniting them behind one candidate, Vojislav 
Kostunica, and pumping about $40 million into his election campaign.[3] 
U.S.-funded NGO¹s and electoral consultants helped create a propaganda campaign 
surrounding the elections, and worked behind the scenes to help organize mass 
resistance to the Milosevic regime.[4] U.S.-trained ³election helpers² were 
deployed around the country on election day to monitor results. The U.S. even 
provided young activists with thousands of cans of spray paint and campaign 
stickers to cover the country with anti-Milosevic slogans.[5]

According to official results of the first round elections, neither candidate 
had won a majority of the vote, and so it would require a second round run-off.
But U.S. consultants published their own ³exit polls,² giving Kostunica a huge 
victory and Milosevic refused to recognize them.[6] The opposition claimed fraud
and U.S.-backed groups staged acts of non-violent resistance to put pressure on 
the government. Armed groups stormed the Federal Assembly and the state 
television headquarters.[7] Massive protests and rebellion forced Milosevic to 
step down. There would be no second round election, and Washington¹s candidate 
Vojislav Kostunica took power. The strategy had worked.

But why had the U.S. targeted Serbia, and, even more specifically, the small 
province of Kosovo? The answer goes back to the Reagan administration and a 1984
secret document on ³US Policy towards Yugoslavia.² A censored version was 
revealed in 1990, advocating ³expanded efforts to promote a Œquiet revolution¹ 
to overthrow Communist government and parties.²[8]

The US government had worked on dismantling and dividing socialist Yugoslavia 
for years, supporting any and all independence movements within the individual 
provinces, including the 1999 military intervention to help the province of 
Kosovo break away. What was once a relative economic success under the famous 
Josip Tito, the socialist economy, based on socially-owned, worker-controlled 
companies, did not allow for foreign investment or US capital. This was a mortal
sin in modern global capitalism. As Michael Parenti put it:

³Yugoslavia was the only country in Eastern Europe that would not dismantle its 
welfare state and public sector economy.  It was the only one that did not beg 
for entry into NATO.  It was - and what's left of it, still is - charting an 
independent course not in keeping with the New World Order.²[9]

Breaking up the country into smaller, dependent states and destroying their 
public-sector economy was the ultimate goal, and Milosevic, an admirer of 
socialist Tito, was the only thing standing in their way.

The rewards for their work were substantial. Once Milosevic was gone, one of the
first actions taken by the new government was to repeal the 1997 privatization 
law and allow 70% of a company to be sold to foreign investors.[10] In 2004 the 
UN Mission in Kosovo announced the privatization of 500 enterprises, and U.S. 
corporations were the big winners. Phillip Morris bought up a $580 million 
tobacco factory, U.S. Steel got a $250 million deal on a steel producer, 
Coca-Cola grabbed a bottled water producer for $21 million, and the list goes 

In addition, western investors now had access to what the New York Times called 
the ³war¹s glittering prize,² the second largest coal reserves in Europe and 
large reserves of lead, zinc, gold, silver, and, even petroleum.[12] And the 
real gem was located in the province of Kosovo; the huge Trepca mine complex, 
valued at over $5 billion, now open to the highest bidder.[13]

The success of the strategy in Serbia was an important lesson for the Washington
policy makers. They would repeat it several more times throughout Eastern Europe
in places like Georgia (2003), the Ukraine (2004), Kyrgyzstan (2005), and 
Belarus (unsuccessfully in 2001). In what became known as the ³Color 
Revolutions,² each U.S.-aided movement would remove a regime in exchange for one
more favorable to the ³free-market² policies promoted by Washington.[14] The 
preferred strategy for regime change became this new sort of non-violent 
resistance, and now the empire turned its gaze on South America, where a new 
threat to global capitalism had suddenly emerged.

The Problem of Venezuela

If the Trepca mine in Kosovo was the jackpot of the Serbian intervention, in 
Venezuela it is the state-owned oil company, PDVSA. Venezuela has some of the 
largest oil reserves in the world, possibly passing Saudi Arabia in total 
reserves if all extra-heavy crude deposits are included. And it is PDVSA that 
dominates in Venezuela with a total monopoly over the nation¹s oil resources. 
With a production capacity of 3.3 billion barrels per day, and a $65 billion 
yearly revenue, the company also possesses a network of more than 13,000 gas 
stations in the United States, including several refineries in both the U.S. and
Europe, making it the second largest company in all of Latin America.[15]

You can be sure that corporate investors would love to get their hands on PDVSA,
along with other public sector companies in Venezuela. In fact, they were doing 
just that throughout the 1990¹s.  By 1998, multinational corporations had 
already bought up the national phone company, the largest electricity company, 
and PDVSA was going through what they called an ³opening² to international 
capital; a prettier way of saying privatization.[16]

But that same year, Hugo Chavez was elected president on an anti-imperialist 
platform, and the auctioning-off of Venezuela came to an abrupt halt. In fact, 
Hugo Chavez has become a real problem for the corporate imperialists and their 
servants in Washington. Not only has he stopped privatization, but he is 
reversing it by re-nationalizing all that was once privatized. The privatization
of the state oil company is now prohibited by law, and his government has taken 
complete control of it, using it to finance the country¹s development.

But what is even more worrying for Washington and their corporate sponsors is 
how this trend is spreading through Latin America. The Chavez government has 
built close ties to many of his neighbors, and many are following in his 
footsteps. Countries like Bolivia and Ecuador are taking greater control of 
their gas and oil reserves, leaving less room for the huge corporations that 
hoped to one day own them.

And so, just as they did in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and others, Washington has 
deployed its forces in Venezuela with the intention of getting rid of the Chavez
menace. After trying many things over the years, including a short-lived coup, 
electoral manipulation, and mass protests, Washington has not been able to 
topple the popular leader. But they haven¹t given up.  To the contrary, they¹ve 
actually just continued to increase their level of involvement.

Repeating the East European experience in Venezuela

The new imperial strategy includes something called ³American Corners.² These 
³corners² are small offices set up by Washington throughout the target country 
that basically serve as mini-embassies. It is not completely clear what exactly 
these ³corners² do, but inside you will find an array of information about the 
United States, including study abroad opportunities, English classes, and 
pro-U.S. propaganda. On top of this, the mini-embassies also organize events, 
trainings, and lectures for young students.

Interestingly, they seem to be very abundant in countries that Washington seeks 
to destabilize. The former Yugoslav countries have a total of 22 American 
Corners, including 7 in Serbia. The Ukraine has 24, Belarus 11, Russia 30, even 
Iraq, with 11. By far the highest concentration of the ³corners² is in Eastern 
Europe, where Washington has focused its destabilization efforts in recent 

There are at least 4 ³American Corners² in Venezuela, the most for any Latin 
American country, and the U.S. also finances literally hundreds of organizations
throughout the country, to the tune of more than $5 million a year.[18] 
Together, these U.S.-funded organizations are working to implant the Eastern 
European experience in Venezuela. As reported by Reuters, the Venezuelan 
opposition is already learning the Serbian tactics to overthrow a regime from a 
retired U.S. army colonel named Robert Helvey.

³Helvey, who has taught young activists in Myanmar and Serbian students who 
helped topple the former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, is giving 
courses on non-violent opposition tactics this week at an east Caracas 
university,² said the article. ³Neither Helvey nor the organizers of the Caracas
seminar would give details of exactly what opposition tactics were being taught.
But in his work in Serbia before Milosevic¹s fall, Helvey briefed students on 
ways to organize a strike and on how to undermine the authority of a dictatorial
regime,² reported Reuters.[19]

And more recently, in the university city of Mérida, history professor from 
Texas, Neil Foley, hosted an event sponsored by the U.S. embassy and the 
Venezuelan-American Center (Cevam), not an official ³American Corner² but 
serving the same purpose. Foley, who has also spoken in various ³American 
Corners² in Serbia, gave speeches in both Bolivia and Venezuela on ³American 

I attended one of Foley¹s speeches and, as expected, it was a complete pro-U.S. 
propaganda campaign imposed upon the university students. The professor gave 
exactly the message that the U.S. Embassy had paid him to give, speaking wonders
about American society and ³American democracy.² According to Foley, the United 
States solves all of its problems by tolerance for others and an all-inclusive 
³dialogue,² between opposing parties. And sending a clear hint to the Venezuelan
students, Foley implied that any government that does not live up to these 
standards ³must be overthrown.²[21]

All of these efforts come together into a nationwide campaign to unite, 
strengthen, and mobilize opposition to the democratically elected Chavez 
government. The ultimate goal, of course, is to destabilize the government by 
organizing and directing opposition groups to commit acts of peaceful resistance
and mass protests. Just like they did in 2002, when the Venezuelan opposition 
groups staged massive protests that turned violent, and eventually led to the 
temporary overthrow of the Chavez government, the U.S.-financed campaign seeks 
to destabilize the government in any way they can, perhaps provoking violence 
for which they will later blame the government.[22]

Now nearly every element of the strategy used in Serbia and other Eastern 
European countries has been implemented in Venezuela as Washington directs and 
controls the campaign of the Venezuelan opposition. The same ³electoral 
consultants² that were used in Serbia, the Washington-based Penn, Schoen and 
Berland, have also been used in Venezuela to publish fake exit polls in an 
effort to cast doubt on Venezuelan elections. This strategy of electoral 
manipulation was used during the 2004 recall referendum when the U.S.-funded NGO
Sumate and the Penn, Schoen and Berland firm released false exit polls claiming 
that Chavez had lost the referendum. They did the same thing before the 2006 
elections, claiming that Chavez¹ opponent ³clearly has the momentum.²[23] Both 
in 2004 and 2006 the fake polls would give credence to the opposition¹s claims 
of fraud with the hope of producing massive protests against the government. The
strategy mostly failed, but it did cast doubt on the legitimacy of the Chavez 
government and weakened its image internationally.

The destabilization attempts are taking form in a concrete way in the coming 
weeks in the form of huge anti-government protests in Caracas to reject the 
government¹s actions against the private TV channel RCTV. Opposition groups have
organized around the government decision, claiming that it steps on their 
³freedom of expression,² and have organized a series of large protests in the 
capital leading up to a massive march on May 27th, the day RCTV¹s broadcast 
license expires.

All the private media have played a role in advertising and calling on viewers 
to attend the march to protest the government.  All expectations are that there 
will be a huge turnout by both pro-government and anti-government groups, and 
the government has already warned of the possibility that violence could be used
during the march in an attempt to blame the government and destabilize the 
regime. In the last few days, government intelligence found five sniper rifles 
in the hands of opposition groups as well as 144 Molotov cocktails in what 
appears to be evidence that there are plans for some sort of violence.[24]

It was exactly this kind of protest in 2002 that led to dozens of deaths, 
hundreds wounded, and the temporary overthrow of the Chavez government. Private 
media channels like RCTV manipulated video footage to blame deaths on Chavez 
supporters, and condemned the government for human rights abuses. So this time 
government officials have called on pro-government activists to monitor the 
opposition protests with photos and video on May 27th and May 28th in order to 
avoid a situation similar to the 2002 coup.

If it had not been for huge pro-government protests after Chavez had been 
overthrown in 2002, Washington¹s strategy might have already gotten rid of the 
popular president. But the strategy failed, and so the empire keeps trying. Just
as they did in the Ukraine, Serbia, Georgia and others, the strategy requires 
getting a large number of people into the streets to protest against the 
government. Regardless of whether the government is popularly-supported or not, 
or democratically-elected or not, opposition groups attempt to impose their will
on the government by putting on the pressure.

What most protesters probably do not know is that they are simply pawns in a 
larger strategy to open up the world to ³free-market² global capitalism and 
corporate-dominated privatizations.  While huge multinational corporations carve
up the world among themselves, small nations like Serbia and Venezuela are 
simply unfortunate obstacles to their objectives. In the worldwide scramble to 
see who will get bigger and who will get eaten, the fact that some countries 
would prefer not to be eaten simply doesn¹t matter to the bureaucrats in 

[1] To read more about how the World Bank and IMF force privatization on poor 
countries, Third World Traveler has a large section devoted to the topic. 

[2] Michael Barker has a 4 part series of articles on Znet that explain this 
strategy in further detail. 

[3] Michael A. Cohen and Maria Figueroa Küpçü, Privatizing Foreign Policy, World
Policy Journal, Volume xXII, No 3, Fall 2005 

[4] Chulia, Sreeram. Democratisation, Colour Revolutions and the Role of the 
NGO¹s: Catalysts or Saboteurs?, Global Research, December 25, 2005, 

[5] Michael Dobbs, ŒUS advice guided Milosevic opposition: political consultants
helped Yugoslav opposition topple authoritarian leader¹, The Washington Post, 11
December 2000, 

[6] Ian Traynor explains how opposition ³exit polls² have been strategically 
used to weaken or overthrow regimes in Eastern Europe in his November 2004 
article in The Guardian. ³US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev,² 

[7] Chris Marsden, ³How the West organised Milosevic's downfall,² World 
Socialist Web Site, 13 October 2000, 

[8] Finley, Brooke.  ³Remembering Yugoslavia: Managed News and Weapons of Mass 
Destruction,² from the book Censored 2005, Project Censored, Seven Stories 
Press, 2004.

[9] Michael Parenti, The Media and Their Atrocities, You Are Being Lied To, pg. 
53 , The Disinformation Company Ltd., 2001

[10] Neil Clark, ³The Spoils of Another War ­ NATO¹s Kosovo Privatizations,² 
Znet, September 21, 2004, 

[11] Elise Hugus, ³Eight Years After NATO¹s ³Humanitarian War² ­ Serbia¹s new 
³third way², Z Magazine, April 2007, Volume 20 Number 4, 

[12] Hedges, C., "Kosovo War's Glittering Prize Rests Underground," New York 
Times, 08/08/98

[13] Michel Chossudovsky, ³Dismantling Former Yugoslavia, Recolonizing 
Bosnia-Herzegovina,² Global Research February 19, 2002, Covert Action Quarterly,
Spring 1996-06-18, 

[14] Jonathan Mowat, ³Coup d¹État in Disguise: Washingtons¹s New World Order 
³Democratization² Template,² Global Research, February 9, 2005, 

[15] http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petróleos_de_Venezuela

[16] Steve Ellner, The Politics of Privatization, NACLA Report on the Americas, 
30 April 1998, http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/42/170.html

[17] http://veszprem.americancorner.hu/htmls/american_corners_worldwide1.html

[18] Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, ³Eva Golinger: Washington's 'three fronts of 
attack' on Venezuela,² Green Left Weekly, 17 November 2006, 

[19] Pascal Fletcher, ²US democracy expert teaches Venezuelan opposition,² 
Reuters, April 30, 2003, 

[20] On the web page of the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia it shows that Neil Foley 
gave a speech in La Paz, Bolivia for ³U.S. Culture Week² the week before he was 
in Venezuela. 

[21] From my personal notes of Mr. Foley¹s speech at the University of the Andes
in Merida, Venezuela on April 16, 2007

[22] For the best, most detailed, account in English of the 2002 coup, read 
Gregory Wilpert¹s recent article, ³The 47-Hour Coup That Changed Everything,² 

[23] See my previous article ³Coup d¹État in Venezuela: Made in the U.S.A. ­ The
U.S.-designed Plan to Overthrow Hugo Chavez in the Days Following the Election,²
Venezuelanalysis.com, November 22, 2006 

[24] President Chavez announced that his intelligence had infiltrated opposition
groups and found a man belonging to an opposition group with 5 sniper rifles 
with silencers and scopes. ³Chávez anuncia incautación armas vinculadas a 
complot en su contra,² Milenio.com, May 6th, 2007,  
http://www.milenio.com/index.php/2007/05/05/65937/ Also, police in Los Teques, 
near Caracas, found 144 Molotov cocktails all ready to be used to ³take them out
to the street next week with the intention of disturbing the public order and 
for direct confrontation with authorities,² Prensa Latina, May 9, 2007, 

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