|ALBA countries discuss expelling USAID|
On June 22, the political council of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) released a communiqué urging the governments of the member countries to pursue expelling the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from their nations. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa said this was based on what the ALBA countries consider violations of their political sovereignty. “We are now seriously analyzing among the ALBA countries expelling USAID from our countries because we don’t permit this type of blatant intervention,” Correa stated on Ecuadoran television. The communiqué said, with relation to the so-called “democracy promotion” programs funded by USAID, “Our countries do not require any type of external funding to sustain our democracies that are truly being consolidated by the will of the Latin American and Caribbean people.”
The next day, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega noted the withholding by the United States of the transparency waiver and, as a result, US$3 million in US aid to his government while aid to private “democracy promotion” groups in Nicaragua would continue. He said, “If they are not going to help us with health, if they have no money for the environment, if there will be no money to fight drug trafficking [all government programs], then there will be no money for those agents of the empire. We will close those programs.” US officials said that some of the organizations funded by USAID for political programs are the Association of Journalists of Nicaragua (APN), Hagamos Democracia, Ethics and Transparency, the Movement for Nicaragua, FUNDEMOS, Youth for Democracy in Nicaragua (JUDENIC) and numerous others.
Representatives of some of the groups receiving funds responded. Luisa Molina, spokesperson for the Civil Coordinator, a coalition of many groups that receive funding, said that she know well the organizations that work with USAID and they have nothing to do with interference or political stabilization. “They are projects that strengthen the capacities of Nicaraguans and their organizations,” she said. Speaking of the ALBA proposal she added, “The logic is to control everything that has to do with communications so that there will not be other voices; control what is done in the society; that is part of the model of the countries of ALBA.” [In all ALBA countries most media outlets are privately owned by wealthy individuals and corporations.]
However, analyst Aldo Diaz Lacayo said, “In some cases, such as in Venezuela, the levels of assistance through these agencies for the opposition are brutal; the same thing happens in Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, and apparently now it is happening, to an ever greater degree, in Nicaragua.” He said it was “a shame.”
(Radio La Primerisima, June 22, 24, 25; La Prensa, June 24; El Nuevo Diario, June 25)