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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 03:38 PM
Original message
The AFL-CIO’s Covert Ops in Venezuela
Weekend Edition December 9-11, 2011
The Corrupting Influence of the NED
The AFL-CIO’s Covert Ops in Venezuela
by ALBERTO C. RUIZ

In 2002, the AFL-CIO’s international arm known as the “Solidarity Center” was greatly embarrassed when it came to light that it had been supporting actors in Venezuela participated in the short-lived coup against President Hugo Chavez. As a number of authors and publications noted at the time, the Solidarity Center, with money donated from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), gave support to the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (“CTV”) which in turn was instrumental in the coup against Chavez which, as the reader may call, involved the kidnapping of Hugo Chavez.

For example, the New York Times explained in an article entitled, “U.S. Bankrolling Is Under Scrutiny for Ties to Chavez Ouster,” that”f particular concern is $154,377 given by the endowment to the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, the international arm of the AFL-CIO, to assist the main Venezuelan labor union in advancing labor rights.” As the Times noted, “The Venezuelan union, the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers, led the work stoppages that galvanized the opposition to Mr. Chavez. The union’s leader, Carlos Ortega, worked closely with Pedro Carmona Estanga, the businessman who briefly took over from Mr. Chavez, in challenging the government.”

And what’s more, it turns out that the Solidarity Center played a critical role, just before the coup, in bringing the CTV together with FEDECAMARAS (the Venezuelan chamber of commerce). This is important because the CTV and FEDECAMARAS went on to plan and carry out the coup together. However, quite curiously, the Solidarity Center did not stick around long enough to see how the coup ended up. This is because it moved its office (which is in charge of the entire Andean Region) from Caracas, Venezuela to Bogota, Colombia just three weeks before the coup took place.

The Solidarity Center attempted to defend itself against charges that it was up to its old Cold War tricks of working with the U.S. government to overthrow progressive, nationalist governments in the Third World – e.g., in the overthrow of Allende in Chile and Arbenz in Guatemala – by denying that the CTV, which it supported up to and indeed through the time of the coup, had anything to do with the coup. As the Boston Globe later noted in an article entitled, “US Tax Dollars Helped Finance Some Chavez Foes, Review Finds,” this denial had a hollow ring to it in light of the fact that “the Venezuelan media broadcast a recorded telephone conversation between Perez and Carlos Ortega, president of the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers , in which the pair plotted against Chavez.” In the end, the AFL-CIO later privately conceded that the CTV leadership did actively participate in the coup against Chavez. The same Boston Globe story concluded that the Solidarity Center’s other defense – that it was merely helping the CTV with matters of internal democratization – were also proven to be false.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/12/09/the-afl-cio%e2%8...
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Citizen Worker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 04:02 PM
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1. AIFLD lives on!
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Never heard of the organization 'til seeing this article. Had to look for more information.
Here's the Sourcewatch description of this truly unworthy, dishonorable operation:
American Institute for Free Labor Development
From SourceWatch

The American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) was an AFL-CIO organization whose purpose was to undermine foreign unions. It received funding from the US government, mostly through USAID, and starting in the 1980s it began receiving funds from the National Endowment for Democracy. The AIFLD also had close ties to the Central Intelligence Agency.

The AIFLD most often concentrated on union officials in foreign unions, both paying them off as well as "training" them.

The AIFLD was created in 1962. A US Comptroller General's report says "In May 1961 the AFL-CIO approached private foundations, business men, and government agencies to seek financing for the planned Institute". One of the foundations it applied to was the Michigan Fund, identified by Congressional sources as a conduit for CIA money. AIFLD found welcome open pockets in the business group. George Meany, President of the AFL-CIO and also of AIFLD, boasted support from the "largest corporations in the United States . . . Rockefeller, ITT, Kennecott, Standard Oil, Shell Petroleum . . . Anaconda, even Readers Digest. . . and although some of these companies have no connection whatsoever to US trade unions, they are all agreed that it was really in the US interest to help develop free trade unions in Latin America, and that's why they contributed so much money".

J. Peter Grace, Chairman of the Board of AIFLD and also Chairman of the Board of the W.R. Grace Corporation, one of the ninety five transnational companies that back the Institute, applies the doctrine in tactical terms. Grace says AIFLD urges "cooperation between labor and management and an end to class struggle" and "teaches workers to increase their company's business". He says the goal of AIFLD is to "prevent communist infiltration, and where it exists . . . get rid of it".
More:
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Ins...

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Citizen Worker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. AIFLD, re-branded as the Solidarity Center, is an ugly anti-worker, anti-Union cancer that continues
to be an instrument of US foreign policy and hegemony.
When John Sweeney was elected to head the AFL/CIO in 1996 many of us believed that he would dismantle this anti-Union arm of the US Labor movement but the name was simply changed. AIFLD never did have much of a public presence and instead operates sub-rosa just like the CIA.
The existence of AIFLD and now the Solidarity Center speaks loudly about how cozy Labor is to capital, and the political establishment. and until that changes there is little hope of a revitalized Labor movement in the US or the formation of a Labor movement in Latin America.
This is a scourge on Labor and must be eliminated.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:49 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Interesting, I never heard of them until now.
So many organizations working against the people. I wish there were laws against this kind of thing. There is no reason why we cannot trade honestly with countries like Venezuela or even Libya and Iraq and Iran, to get what we need without these horrible wars and/or groups working covertly to destabalize nations and cause so much human suffering.

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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:26 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. J. Peter Grace
http://watch.pair.com/database.html

J. Peter Grace - CNP Membership Directory (1984-85; 1988). Bachelor of Arts Yale University (1936), started in 1936 as Assistant Secretary at W. R. Grace, in 1945 became President and CEO, Newcomen Society, CFR, Knights of Malta: American Chapter of the Board of Founders, Knights of Malta President, 114 Avenue of the Americas Grace was involved in Project Paperclip -- a post World War II CIA arrangement to remove classified information from dossiers so that former SS members and 900+ Nazi scientists could emigrate to the U. S. Hundreds of war criminals would find employment within government agencies and companies such as W.R. Grace chemical company whose president was J. Peter Grace.

When it was at its height in drug experiments, operation MK-ULTRA was formed. This was the brainchild of Richard Helms who later came to be a CIA director. It was designed to defeat the "enemy" in its brain- washing techniques. MK-ULTRA had another arm involved in Chemical and Biological Warfare (CBW) known as MK-DELTA. The "doctors" who participated in these experiments used some of the same techniques as the Nazi "doctors". Those doctors who were not indicted in the Nuremberg trials were imported from Germany under the program called "Operation Paperclip." The Nazi doctors were a valuable source of information to the CIA since many of the U.S. techniques mimicked what had already been done by the Nazis.

From 1982-95, J. Peter Grace (CFR) was Chairman of the Advisory Committee of AmeriCares, which included William E. Simon (CFR), Treasury Secretary under Richard Nixon. The Honorary Chair of AmeriCares is Zbigniew Brzezinski (BB/CFR/TC); Ambassador-At-Large is Barbara Bush and the Advisory Committee includes: Prescott S. Bush, Jr. , 33º Mason Gen. Colin L. Powell (ret.) (CFR) and Sol M. Linowitz (CFR/TC), chairman of Xerox Corp and officer of the World Future Society. Sol Linowitz was also a representative to the Organization of American States and co-founder in 1964 with David Rockefeller (CFR) of the International Executive Services Corp, an international business development organization for which Linowitz and Rockefeller received the Medal of Freedom Award in 1998.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 04:13 PM
Response to Original message
2. Thank you for this. I remember that coup and how every
democrat online was outraged that this country was involved in it. And how Condi pretty much gave it away before it turned out the coup had failed, thanks to the people of Venezuela.

Now, we have people on the left who would have supported that coup. Times have changed and so has the Dem Party it seems.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Are they really people on the Left, I wonder,
or merely ex-Republicans who maintain their Republican economic and foreign policy views but have disavowed the utter craziness of the current Republican party?
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:55 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. I think you are right because I never met a real Democrat
who was not rooting for the success of Venezuela after the attempted coup, until relatively recently. In fact I remember signing a petition for Kerry asking him to speak out on the Bush policies against Venezuela, assuming that Democrats were opposed to those policies. I know some were and were outspoken about it at the time. But it looks like Bush' policies have been adapted by both parties. The Wikileaks cables revealed the US attitude towards that country. Chavez is not a fool, he knows his country is not safe from attack. And what a shame, those S. American countries suffered greatly under the influence of the US and are now trying to restore their sovereignty. I hope they succeed.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. Me, too
Way back in the 1960s, my school's social studies program spent the entire sixth grade year on Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America. (We each had to report on a Caribbean island, and I was assigned Grenada, so you can imagine that I followed Reagan's attack on that island carefully.)

Anyway, even that sixth grade textbook had some information about U.S. interventions, and when I worked in a specialized library during graduate school, I was able to learn even more. The interventions in Central America prompted me to do even more reading on the subject.

So I wish the Latin American countries well in their struggle to become free of U.S. domination.
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Fuddnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 11:06 AM
Response to Original message
10. I think my Union Plus credit card is helping fund this shit.
Irony is, the last time I used it was in Honduras, on a cruise last month.

Time to put that card away.
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kscipes Donating Member (1 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 04:50 PM
Response to Original message
11. AFL-CIO Foreign Operations
For those wishing to understand AFL-CIO foreign operations, I just published a book in 2010 titled "AFL-CIO's Secret War against Developing Country Workers: Solidarity or Sabotage?" (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010 hardback, 2011 paperback). I argue that the AFL-CIO--like the AFL before it--is engaging in "labor imperialism." My book begins in the 1880s and continues to 2007, with a detailed overview of how these operations started--under Samuel Gompers, BEFORE the Russian Revolution--and in-depth case studies of their operations in Chile in the early 1970s, the Philippines in the mid-to-late 1980s, and in Venezuela in the early 2000s. I have a chapter on how union members have been fighting this imperialist foreign policy. For details on the book, links to reviews, and a 20% discount on the cover price, please go to http://faculty.pnc.edu/kscipes/book.htm .

Should you want to read (for free) information on the US Government's National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which the AFL-CIO's "Solidarity Center" is a part, you might check out my 2005 article "An Unholy Alliance" at www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/5864.

The best listing of articles and books published on AFL-CIO foreign policy and operations, go to my "Contemporary Labor Bibliography" at http://faculty.pnc.edu/kscipes/laborbib.htm , and go down to AFL-CIO foreign operations.

This is despicable behavior by the AFL-CIO, and I encourage all to work to end it. Please share widely.


In solidarity--

Kim Scipes, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology
Purdue University North Central
Westville, IN 46391
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Welcome to DU.
Thank you for the information. I have a question which you may have answered in your book and/or other articles on this subject, but is the Foreign branch of the AFL-CIO connected to the one we know here? Or does the foreign branch operate independently? I had never heard of this before and wonder if members of the AFL-CIO are aware of this history themselves.

I will check out your book and article and thank you for the info.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 05:19 PM
Response to Original message
12. The unions in collaberation with Wall Street are "At It Again." Fucking Shit!
I guess the Powers at the Top of the Union...know which way to go ...in THESE TIMES.

It's truly a bit disgusting, though.
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