Washington's Secret 'Street Armies': The 'Cubs of Reaction'
March 8, 2014
Luis Hernandez Navarro / La Journada
Venezuela, like Ukraine and Serbia, offers another example of how US-supported internal organizations (from student groups to neo-Nazi paramilitaries) are used to create an "opposition movement" designed to destabilize and, potentially topple, foreign governments targeted by Washington.
Venezuela: Cubs of Reaction
Luis Hernandez Navarro / La Journada
CARACAS (March 5, 2014) -- Lorent Saleh is a 25-year old Venezuelan youth, with flaming language, who studied foreign trade. He is one of the visible heads of the coalition that seeks to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro. He directs Operación Libertad (Operation Freedom) organization, which locates Cuban Castro-communism as the principal enemy of Venezuela.
Lorent began his task against the Bolivarian Revolution in 2007. Since then he has not let up. He organizes hunger strikes that campaigns as Chavez lies. Although he abandoned the classroom years ago, he still introduces himself as a student leader. And, although he has no known employment, he travels around Latin America to try to isolate the Maduro government.
The young Saleh has good friends in diverse countries. In Colombia, for example, the Nationalist Alliance for Freedom and Third Force, neo-Nazi groupings, protect and promote him (El Espectador, 21/7/13).
Vanessa Eisig is a pleasant 22-year old blond woman, who wears glasses and describes herself on her Twitter account as a "warrior for light and bigamous, married to my career and to Venezuela." She studies communications in the Andrés Bello University and confesses that, by participating in the protests, she feels that she makes history.
Vanessa is a member of United Active Venezuela Youth (JAVU, its initials in Spanish). It demands "the removal of the usurper Nicolas Maduro and all of his cabinet." The organization has a White Right Fist as its emblem, which -- the young woman says -- "is a sign of resistance and of mockery at socialism."
JAVU, which impels the Operation Freedom initiative, has performed a relevant role in the current disturbances that take place in Venezuela. Founded in 2007, the organization defines itself as a youth resistance platform, which seeks to overthrow "the pillars that sustain a government that scorns the Constitution, wounds our rights and delivers our sovereignty to the orders of the decrepit Castro brothers."
In its comunicado of February 22 of this year, JAVU denounced that: "foreign forces have militarily besieged Venezuela. Their mercenaries attack us in a vile and savage way. Their objective is to enslave us." Getting their freedom, they point out, is vital "defending the nation’s sovereignty, expelling the Cuban communists that are usurping the government and the Armed Forces."
JAVU is inspired and has a close relationship with the Otpor, which in Spanish signifies Resistance, and with the Center for the application of non-violent actions and strategies (Canvas).
Otpor was a student movement created in Serbia to remove the government of President Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, which received financing from US government agencies. Canvas is the new face of Otpor.
The guru of those groups is the philosopher Gene Sharp, who vindicates "non-violent" action to overthrow governments. Sharpe founded the Albert Einstein Institute, the promoter of the so-called revolutions of colors in countries that are not similar to the interests of NATO and Washington.
Cables distributed by Wikileaks made public that Canvas -- present in Venezuela since 2006 -- elaborated for the opposition of that country a plan of action, in which it proposes that the student groups and "the informal actors are the ones capable of constructing an infrastructure and exploiting their legitimacy" in the struggle against the government of Hugo Chavez.
The relationship between JAVU, Otpor and Canvas is very tight. As Marialvic Olivares, a member of the extreme right group confessed: "the international organizations that are supporting us at this time always have been at our side, not only in questions of protest, but also in questions of formation, and us with them we have always been at their side. We are not ashamed, we are not afraid to say it."
But the links between the young Venezuelan student leaders and the think tanks and agencies in cooperation with the right go far beyond the alliance with Otpor/Canvas. Different US foundations have openly financed the dissident movement. They have also counted on support from the Partido Popular of Spain and with the youth organization of Silvio Berlusconi in Italy.
It is the case of the young lawyer Yon Goicoechea, a brilliant star of the 2007 protests and that now is studying for a masters degree at Columbia University, after affiliating with the party of Henrique Capriles and abandoning it when they didn’t give him a deputy position.
In 2008, he was generously compensated for his commitment to struggle against Hugo Chavez. The Cato Institute awarded him the Milton Friedman Prize for Freedom, a grant of half a million dollars.
Another force that has played a relevant role in the attempt to depose Maduro is the March 13 University Social Movement, a student organization that acts in the University of the Andes. Its more known leader is Nixon Moreno, an old student of political sciences, accused of raping Sofía Aguilar, now a fugitive and exiled in Panama.
Those youths know what they do: promote political destabilization. They receive international financing. They are active members in the ranks of the ultra-right and anti-communism.
They are xenophobes. They are linked with Nazi and conservative organizations in several countries. And they march elbow to elbow with politicians of the radical right like Leopoldo López, María Corina Marchado and Antonio Ledezma.
Despite receiving all this support, Lorent Saleh of Operation Freedom, laments: "We are tremendously alone." They are partly right. They don’t awaken sympathy or solidarity among Latin American youth.
To the contrary, they arouse mistrust and repudiation. And it is how the holder of the pen sees them. Their cause has nothing to with the ideas of the 1968 Mexican student-popular movement. Not in vain do the combative Chilean students repudiate them publically. To them, the cubs of reaction are unpresentable.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translation: Chiapas Support Committee