Recently the US Congress hosted a convention of staunch opponents of Latin American “populist” regimes. The forum was seen in the ALBA countries as a challenge to the modern society's developmental alternative known as the XXI century socialism. Clearly, the Empire is outraged at the Latin American integration projects which it is not invited to join.
Outwardly, the event was organized by the Maiami-based Interamerican Institute for Democracy which the Latin American left media described as a front used by the anti-Castro mafia and its henchmen in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia. The Institute usually coordinates its subversive activities with the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICAAS) headed by former CIA analyst Jaime Suchlicki. The forum's sponsors and ideological curators included such ultraconservative thinktanks as the Hudson Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Center for Security Policy. The US intelligence community played the key organizational role behind the scenes.
A keynote address at the forum was delivered by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, notorious for her involvement in subversive activities and advocacy of terrorist struggle against the Castro brothers. She gained her political capital on campaigns of support for the humanitarian rights of such terrorists as Orlando Bosch, Eduardo Arocena, and Luis Posada Carriles. Ros-Lehtinen's irreconcilable position regarding the Cuban communist regime earned her the “ferocious wolf” (Loba Feroz) nickname.
Ros-Lehtinen ran as a Republican candidate in the past midterm elections in the US and won a seat in the US Congress House of Representatives. In the nearest future, she expects to become the chairwoman of the Republican-dominated US House Committee on Foreign Affairs and will certainly use the post to intensify the US pressure on the governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia at which which she levels permanent criticism over democracy and human rights. Ros-Lehtinen declared that it is an opportune moment to get rid of Latin American populism which she described as the region's disaster and called for struggle against H. Chavez. Ros-Lehtinen and her ideological brethren – the rightists in the US and Latin America – are emboldened by the recent ouster of Manuel Zelaya, the former populist leader of Honduras, the attack against the regime in Ecuador during which the country's president Rafael Correa narrowly escaped death, and the neutralization of Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo's reform plans.
The ranks of coordinators of the anti-populist forum included Otto Reich and Roger Noriega from G. Bush's Administration, congressman Conn Mac who will soon chair the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, former DEA chief John Walters, former president of Ecuador Lucio Gutiérrez, and G. Zuloaga who owns Globovision, a Venezuelan TV channel. Not long ago Zuloaga fled Venezuela. Currently he resides in Miami and is selling himself as a victim of political persecution, though he was actually implicated in automobile speculations and is trying to avoid facing justice in court. According to journalists from the ALBA countries, the public at the forum mostly comprised oligarchs, fascists, various renegades, and ordinary crooks rather than the populist regimes' political serious political opponents with strongly held views.
Venezuela's ambassador to the US Bernardo Álvarez says the alliance between the radical opposition in the ALBA countries and the current US Congress, which he slams as ultra-right and extremist, presents a serious problem. He said in an interview to the TeleSur TV channel that the objective behind the alliance is to destabilize the Latin American countries Washington perceives as hostile. Álvarez stressed that the key roles at the forum were played by group of conspirators including Lucio Gutiérrez, who was involved in the attempted coup in Ecuador, and Otto Reich who took part in coups in Venezuela in 2002 and in Honduras in 2009. Roger Noriega is another ominous character with a dozen of coup attempts across Latin America on his record.
Bolivia's ambassador to the US Erika Dueñas shares the view expressed by her Venezuelan colleague. She said she was concerned that the forum enabled criminals – former presidents Sánchez de Lozada and Carlos Mesa – to air their agendas. Both are guilty of provoking severe repressions in the country in 2003 when the death toll in Bolivia reached 60 and some 500 people were injured. Bolivia submitted an extradition bid to the US but it was turned down. At the moment Sánchez de Lozada and Carlos Mesa are conspiring against the government of Evo Morales. They also continue planning an assassination of the Bolivian president. Recently, a group of terrorists charged with the mission were brought to Bolivia from Europe but were killed by the government agencies. Their curators – separatists from the Santa Cruz province – managed to escape to the US.
Erika Dueñas remarked that several self-proclaimed Indian leaders were invited to the anti-populist conference. She opined that the creation of alternative Aymara and Quechuas organizations meant to draw American natives into the opposition to Morales was an element of the unfolding plot against the government of Bolivia.
The forum backed by the US Congress showed that the US intelligence community and propaganda machine are instructed to go on using without limitations all methods employed by the Bush Administration in the struggle against the ALBA countries. Having failed to perform at the face of the global economic downturn, Obama's Administration finds itself in desperate need of international-politics breakthroughs. Defeating the “populists”, overthrowing Hugo Chavez, and dismantling the regimes of his allies are on the Empire's 2011 Latin American Agenda.