CARACAS/BERLIN (Own report) – Serious allegations are being raised against a partner cooperating with Germany’s Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FDP) in the context of an attempted putsch: The US Bloomberg news agency has reported that opposition officers had planned to storm the presidential palace in Caracas, capture President Nicolás Maduro and stop the May 20 presidential elections. The conspiracy was discovered and several putschists were arrested in mid-May. According to Venezuela’s military prosecutor’s investigations, an opposition politician María Corina Machado was involved in the attempted coup. Machado, who is said to be very popular within the military, denies the allegations. She is the leader of the “Vente Venezuela” party, which joined the “RELIAL” network last fall. The network was initiated and is backed by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FDP) and includes several parties who, in the past, have overthrown or attempted to overthrow democratically elected governments, for example in Honduras (2009) and in Paraguay (2012).
The – aborted – coup attempt, which had been prepared under the code name “Operación Constitución,” was first mentioned publicly in late May by the vice-chair of the ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV). In late June, a more detailed report was published by the Bloomberg news agency in New York. This is the first time, since President Nicolás Maduro’s election, that “a coup attempt has been confirmed by western media,” noted the web portal “amerika21,” which specializes in Latin America. The Bloomberg report draws its information from descriptions by participants as well as from investigations by the military court in charge of the case. The accounts from both sources concur to a large extent on essential points, Bloomberg writes.
Plot to Overthrow the Government
According to these accounts, scores of officers from all branches of Venezuela’s armed forces were involved in the coup attempt. The fact that secret preparatory meetings were held in affluent neighborhoods of the country’s capital, indicate that wealthy circles in Caracas supported this plot – just like the plots in the past. Unspecified individuals and organizations from Colombia’s capital Bogotá were also involved. Obviously, the preparations were already in full swing in early 2017, when a wave of protests began to rock the country. Participants say the coup was first planned for April 2017, when the protests were reaching a climax, but they were forced to pull the plug, because another allegedly unrelated coup attempt was discovered. Plans were subsequently protracted. Ultimately, it was decided to act before or during the May 20 presidential elections. Officers were to storm the presidential palace, capture President Nicolás Maduro and stop the elections. But, the plan was discovered, and, in mid-May, several dozen officers and a few civilians were arrested and put on trial in a court martial.
Supporters of the Coup
Information about foreign support for this attempted coup is contradictory. Since the USA and other western countries had sponsored the 2002 coup attempt, suspicion runs high that foreign powers had also been involved in this one. The right-wing Primero Justícia opposition party, which had been involved in the 2002 coup attempt, has been provided special backing from Germany. Already in 2001, the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation had supported it, euphemizing the attempted military coup as a “general protest,” and began intensively cooperating with Primero Justicia during the years that followed. Last September, Chancellor Angela Merkel had received the founder of Primero Justícia Julio Borges in the German Chancellery, even though, according to reports from Washington’s political establishment, he had been personally involved in the 2002 coup attempt. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.) Borges, who during the 2017 spring protests, had called on western banks to suspend Venezuelan government financial transactions, to throttle the country’s economy, received the European Parliament’s Sacharov Prize in December 2017.
Sympathy from Washington
Popular in the Military
Not the Brand Essence
The allegations against the Venezuelan opposition politician are also affecting German agencies. Machato and her “Vente Venezuela” party, founded in 2012, joined the RELIAL (“Red Liberal de América Latina”) network last year. RELIAL was founded in 2004 on the initiative of – and is supported by – Germany’s FDP party-affiliated Friedrich Naumann Foundation. It currently includes 39 organizations from 17 Latin American countries. The network’s official address is the Nauman Foundation’s field office in Ciudad de México. The network’s members consider themselves”liberals.” In recent years, some of them have organized or participated in coup attempts against democratically elected governments. Functionaries of RELIAL-member Partido Liberal de Honduras (PLH), for example, played a leading role in the June 2009 coup in Honduras. The Partido Liberal Radical Auténtico, (PLRA), the party of the Paraguayan politician Federico Franco, who seized power in the June 2012 coup in Paraguay, is also a member of RELIAL. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.) Organizations belonging to the Naumann network were also previously involved in destabilizing efforts in Bolivia, when members of the traditional elites from the Bolivian lowlands were attempting to overthrow the government, supported heavily by the indigenous population in the Andean highlands. Respect for democracy can hardly be seen as a brand essence of the Naumann network in Latin America.
Full article: Coup Attempt in Caracas (German Foreign Policy)