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Transformation by Embrace
by german-foreign-policy.com
6 July 2007

CARACAS/QUITO
(Own report) - Through a revision from a confrontational strategy to one of “embrace,” the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) is seeking a regime change in Venezuela. This was learned from reports on a conference that the CDU Party affiliated foundation, together with US American foundations convened in Washington DC at the end of last May. This demonstrates that the KAS is continuing to pursue its activities to overthrow the Chávez government, which has been democratically reconfirmed several times. The KAS is modifying the old approach because of its persistent inefficacy and because of growing Venezuelan resistance to foreign interference. Just recently Caracas soundly rejected the accusations raised by the German EU Council Chairmanship concerning the expiration of a television channel’s broadcasting license. The RCTV channel had supported the attempted coup d’état. Resistance to German interference is also awakening in Ecuador, because of the German ambassador’s diplomatic intervention, hostile to policies of the Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa, an ally of President Chavéz of Venezuela. The dispute threatens to escalate. Correa intends to review several of his country’s economic treaties, including one with Germany, for terms disadvantageous to his country’s interests.

Regime Change
The colloquium held in Washington DC at the end of May, convened by the German KAS and the front organizations of both major US political parties, the “International Republican Institute” (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), focused on strategies to effectuate an externally directed “democratic regime change” [1] in Venezuela. In light of the unsuccessful attempts to overthrow the disliked government in Caracas, through aiding coup attempts, general strikes or referenda, the German foundation is seeking new means for removing the Chávez government. Because of the alliances with similarly oriented Latin American governments (e.g. Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua), the KAS considers it advisable to take a systematic approach, coordinated with Washington.

Parallel Structures
The measures discussed within the framework of the KAS colloquium, were similar to subversion techniques applied under the slogan “Change Through Rapprochement,” which contributed to the overthrow of the socialist system in Eastern Europe. Therefore the German foundation considers it useful to engage in a “political embrace” of the Chávez government. Criticism “through open dialogue” is to provide support to opposition forces and thereby systematically undermine the authority of those currently in power. [2] The creation of “parallel structures and organizations in these Latin American countries” is apparently also under consideration. The US front organizations and German party foundations are supposed to set up this network outside these countries. “Within the organizations the flow of communication and information (...) [should be] ameliorated” is how the KAS circumscribes the reinforcement of those counter structures to the legitimate government in power. Using “financial incentive” through a US government organization, the “Millenium Challenge Corporation” (MCC), it would also be possible, to obtain direct influence on the government, according to the reports. Also here, transatlantic cooperation is not excluded. This is shown by connections between these organizations involved in Africa. In Africa, a branch of the German Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), serves as the fiscal agent of the MCC. [3]

Sovereign
With the intended change of strategy, the KAS is reacting to the growing resistance in Venezuela and its allied nations to intrusions from the EU and the USA. The Colloquium in Washington coincided with the climax of a PR campaign that had been waged for the past few weeks over the refusal of a license extension for the private Venezuelan channel “Radio Caracas Televisión” (RCTV). Among other things, the European Parliament criticized an alleged limitation of the freedoms of opinion and the press in Venezuela. The German EU Council Chairmanship also made a declaration to this effect. RCTV had supported the attempted coup d’état in the spring of 2002. [4] The Venezuelan authorities reacted to the German/European interference with a public protest. The Venezuelan embassy in Berlin declared that the refusal of the extension of the broadcasting license was a “sovereign decision taken by the Venezuelan state, in accordance with the prevailing legal framework and within the framework of the policy of democratization of the communication media, being pursued since 2002.” [5] German interference will no longer be tolerated.

Targeted
Resistance against German-European interference is not only on the rise in Venezuela, but also in Ecuador. Following his election in November 2006, the Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, considered a confident of Hugo Chavez’, initiated broad reforms aimed at enhancing the political, social and economic situation of the majority of the population, which had been marginalized in that South-American country. These reforms are encountering not only resistance from the opposition in parliament and the Ecuadorian elite, but also from the USA and the EU, who had been able to exert their influence over the preceding governments. In a discussion with gfp.com, Eric Toussaint (Belgium), the president of the Committee for the Cancellation of the Third World Debt (CADTM), recalls that the major western industrial states had already targeted Correa in April 2005. [6] Correa, at the time, Ecuadorian minister of the economy, decided to use a portion of the oil revenues to increase the social budget rather than repay foreign debts. The World Bank and the IMF attempted to intervene in Quito - to no avail. In retaliation, the Bretton Woods Institutions suspended their payments to the Ecuadorian government. Berlin was in full support of these measures against Quito’s sovereign decision - as in numerous other cases. In his discussion with gfp.com Toussaint gave more examples. [7]

Expectation
The German Foreign Ministry’s interventions continue against Correa. In a meeting with the Ecuadorian President on Mai 10, the German ambassador in Quito, Bernd Sproedt, expressed his “concern” about the government’s course. In an open affront against Correa’s reforms, Sproedt stated, that the EU “expects” Ecuador “to respect (...) the common values and ideas”. [8] Quito immediately rejected this interference. The Ecuador’s Permanent Assembly for Human Rights condemned the German-European interference and recalled that European diplomacy never expressed “concern” about “former corrupt and undemocratic presidents of the country”. [9] Under their rule, Ecuador functioned as an unrestricted provider of natural resources and agrarian products for the major western industrial nations.

Privileges
Berlin doubts that Ecuador will continue this role, not only because of Ecuador’s rapprochement to Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia, but also because of the government’s announcement to review numerous bilateral economic treaties. [10] This includes all investment protection treaties that were concluded under the usually compliant predecessor governments, among them a treaty concluded with Germany in 1965 and broadened in 1999. The Quito government plans to examine, whether those treaties adequately respect the country’s interests. Like in Bolivia, where the government is also planning a re-examination of economic treaties, this could bring an end to privileges for German enterprises.

Threats
In view of the mounting Latin-American resistance to German-European interference, cold war front-organizations are calling for an aggressive policy toward these unruly states, while the KAS is calling for a policy of “embracement”. The International Society for Human Rights (ISHR), founded by Russian Nazi-collaborators and always among the most aggressive Western cold war forces, is calling for drastic measures against Venezuela, the initiator of the current resistance. According to ISHR, the EU and the German government should “intervene” in Caracas and eventually apply measures of “sanctions”. [11] These threats provide the needed illusion of a selfless cooperation proposed by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s policy of “dialog”.

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Footnotes :

[1The Challenges of Promoting Democracy in Latin America. Colloquium with International Republican Institute representatives, National Democratic Institute and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung; Washington, 24. und 25. Mai 2007

[2The Challenges of Promoting Democracy in Latin America. Colloquium with International Republican Institute representatives, National Democratic Institute and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung; Washington, 24. und 25. Mai 2007

[3see also Die Schatzinsel

[4Begrenzte Vollmachten; taz 16.01.2007

[5Decision of the European Parliament: An attack on the Venezuela sovereignty ; Press release of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ambassy in Germany 24.05.2007

[7Toussaint reports that the IMF, directly after the putsch against Chavez government in April 2002, supported the new Regime. The right opposition party Primero Justicia, wich have been supported by the KAS since 2001, was also involved in former putsch attempts.

[8Correa reject european’s preocupations for Ecador; CadenaGlobal.com 10.05.2007

[9They refuse interferences of EU in Ecuador internals affairs; Prensa Latina 14.05.2007

[10Investments treaties will be reviewed; El Comercio 10.05.2007

[11Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: Venezuela Si! - Cubazuela No!; Press release of the International Society for Human Rights 12.06.2007

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