In a document classified as secret by the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, Ambassador William Brownfield had strong words about the newly elected president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup. “Accion Democratica’s main problem has a name: Henry Ramos Allup,” the document reads. Brownfield, who was ambassador to Venezuela from 2004-2007 called Ramos Allup “crude, abrasive, arrogant and thin-skinned“.
The secret embassy cable was sent on April 17, 2006, eight months before the presidential elections in Venezuela that resulted in the reelection of Hugo Chavez. During the previous year, Ramos Allup had led opposition calls for abstention in the parliamentary elections that took place in December 2005. Brownfield stressed in his text that “Ramos Allup has become perhaps the most vocal advocate of electoral abstention … Ramos Allup said those who advocated participation in the December 2006 presidential elections would be voting ‘with their pants around their ankles. ” He has disparaged those who have declared themselves as candidates.”
It’s ironic that the same electoral process Ramos Allup boycotted and denigrated in 2005 has today enabled him to lead parliament.
Accion Democratica, one of the traditional political parties in Venezuela known for corruption, clientelism and neoliberalism has been a major recipient of international financing, violating Venezuelan law that prohibits foreign financing of political parties in the country. Ambassador Brownfield criticized Ramos Allup’s reliance on international support. In a section of the secret document entitled “Solve Our Problems For Us,” Brownfield wrote, “Rather than court Venezuelan voters, Ramos Allup’s principal political strategy has been to seek help from the international community.” Brownfield also revealed that representatives of Accion Democratica (AD) “have explicitly and repeatedly sought funds and favors from the Embassy. When refused by one Embassy official, they ask another.”
In his text, Brownfield cites a specific example:
“AD first vice president, Victor Bolivar, who solicited funding from political officer (poloff) organized a meeting in December 2005 with the political counselor (PolCouns) to make the same pitch. When PolCouns changed the subject, Bolivar and his fellow AD officials made the same long, detailed request in English, in case poloff did not understand.”
Ambassador Brownfield then recalled more examples of AD’s constant requests for money and favors from the US government: “Former AD National Assembly deputy Pedro Pablo Alcantara calls and visits the Embassy regularly with requests for visas, scholarships for friends, etc. He calls different sections of the embassy if he does not receive what he requests.”
Although Henry Ramos Allup has only been the new president of the National Assembly of Venezuela for two days, his authoritarian tendencies are clear. Ramos Allup already flagrantly violated a decision by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) regarding the election of three legislators from Amazonas state, swearing them into office while the election results are still under review. The opposition leader has also abruptly shut off the microphones of socialist legislators, removed the paintings of Simon Bolivar and Hugo Chavez from the National Assembly grounds and has indicated that his main objective is ousting President Maduro within the next six months.
His dictatorial propensity is well known by the US government. Ambassador Brownfield underlined that Ramos Allup “does not support alternative views … Not only is AD extremely vertically organized, it is also dictatorial.”
Finally, Brownfield referred to Ramos Allup in his secret cable, which was sent to the US Secretary of State, the US Southern Command and over a dozen US Embassies in Latin America and the United Nations, as “delusional” and “a relic of the past”.
Unfortunately for Venezuela, it’s a past that has returned to haunt the present.
Despite full knowledge of Henry Ramos Allup’s dictatorial and anti-democratic intentions, the State Department congratulated the new “democratic” National Assembly of Venezuela and its “important role advancing and promoting a national dialogue.” Far from promoting dialogue, what Ambassador Brownfield described in his cable indicates that Henry Ramos Allup’s National Assembly will further divide and destabilize Venezuela.
It’s not new for Washington to support dictatorships and authoritarian governments and leaders in Latin America, so long as they serve US interests and are subordinate to US agenda. Through USAID and NED, the US government has invested millions of dollars in Henry Ramos Allup’s party and his opposition coalition. Never mind if he’s a “delusional”, “repellent” and “crude” dictator, because he’s Washington delusional, repellent and crude dictator.
The secret document published by Wikileaks can be found here.