Washington’s formula for regime change underwent a makover in the 1980s. In a bid to ensure US political and economic interests were safeguarded, CIA backed coup d’états ousted democratically elected leaders from Iran to Chile.
In their place were brutal dictatorships and governments that committed heinous crimes against their people.
By the 1980s, the reign of terror that blazed across Latin America was too much for most people to stomach. From death squads to torture chambers and various massacres, the Latin American generals who trained in the US to spread democracy around the world quickly gained reputations for major human rights abuses.
To replace the overt support for dictatorships, a new concept for regime change was born; one that sounds and looks better – democracy promotion.
The concept of democracy promotion is simple; finance, train, and politically back local opposition forces around the world that support the American agenda.
Dr. William Robinson is one of the foremost experts on Washington’s democracy promotion initiatives, he wrote the book ‘Promoting Polyarhcy.’
“In Latin America, in Eastern Europe with the Velvet Revolutions, in Africa, in the Middle East, really all over the world, the U.S. set up these different mechanisms now for penetrating these civil societies in the political systems of countries that are going to be intervened and to assure the outcome is going to be pleasing to Washington's foreign policy objectives,” said Robinson.
Lawrence Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “We do this through surrogates and nongovernmental organization and through people who are less suspecting of the evil that may lurk behind their actions than perhaps they were before. Have we learned some lessons in that regard? You bet! Do we do it better? You bet? Is it still just as heinous as it has always been? You bet!”
So while the goal remains the same, it’s no longer the CIA but the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and its partners spearheading the effort.
Allen Weintein, one of the founders of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) explained to the Washington Post in 1991, "A lot of what we do now was done covertly by the CIA 25 years ago.”
And like the CIA, USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy and a number of similar organizations receive funding from Congress.
“Millions and millions of U.S. tax payer dollars go every year into funding for political organizations and campaigns in different countries in the world that promote US agenda. Most U.S. citizens are unaware of the fact that that is how their money is being spent, to meddle, and to influence and to interfere in other nation’s affairs,” said Eva Golinger who has been investigating the US’s democracy promotion efforts in Venezuela.
The concept of facilitating regime change through democracy promotion has garnered wide criticism not just abroad but also at home in the United States.
Congressman Ron Paul once wrote "It is particularly Orwellian to call US manipulation of foreign elections 'promoting democracy.' How would we Americans feel if for example the Chinese arrived with millions of dollars to support certain candidates deemed friendly to China?"
“I think it’s terrible, we use taxpayer’s money to go over and use our military and the CIA these programs that say ‘this is what you outta do’ and influence them. There is no authority for that, it doesn’t work, it teaches a lot of people to despise us,” Congressman Paul told RT.
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