CIA Operation “Pliers” Uncovered in Venezuela

An internal CIA memorandum has been obtained by Venezuelan counterintelligence from the US Embassy in Caracas that reveals a very sinister - almost fantastical, were it not true - plan to destabilize Venezuela during the coming days.

Last night CNN en Español aired the above image, which captions at the
bottom "Who Killed him?" by "accident". The image of President Chavez
with the caption about killing him below, which some could say
subliminally incites to assassination, was a "production error"
mistakenly made in the CNN en Español newsroom. The news anchor had
been narrarating a story about the situation between Colombia and
Venezuela and then switched to a story about an unsolved homicide but –
oops – someone forgot to change the screen image and President Chavez
was left with the killing statement below. Today they apologized and
admitted it was a rather "unfortunate" and "regrettable" mistake. Yes,
it was.

On a scarier note, an internal CIA memorandum has been
obtained by Venezuelan counterintelligence from the US Embassy in
Caracas that reveals a very sinister – almost fantastical, were it not
true – plan to destabilize Venezuela during the coming days. The plan,
titled "OPERATION PLIERS" was authored by CIA Officer Michael Middleton
Steere and was addressed to CIA Director General Michael Hayden in
Washington. Steere is stationed at the US Embassy in Caracas under the
guise of a Regional Affairs Officer. The internal memorandum, dated
November 20, 2007, references the "Advances of the Final Stage of
Operation Pliers", and confirms that the operation is coordinated by
the team of Human Intelligence (HUMINT) in Venezuela. The memo
summarizes the different scenarios that the CIA has been working on in
Venezuela for the upcoming referendum vote on December 2nd. The
Electoral Scenario, as it's phrased, confirms that the voting
tendencies will not change substantially before Sunday, December 2nd,
and that the SI (YES) vote in favor of the constitutional reform has an
advantage of about 10-13 points over the NO vote. The CIA estimates
abstention around 60% and states in the memo that this voting tendency
is irreversible before the elections.

Officer Steere emphasizes
the importance and success of the public relations and propaganda
campaign that the CIA has been funding with more than $8 million during
the past month – funds that the CIA confirms are transfered through the
USAID contracted company, Development Alternatives, Inc., which set up
operations in June 2002 to run the USAID Office for Transition
Initiatives that funds and advises opposition NGOs and political
parties in Venezuela. The CIA memo specifically refers to these
propaganda initiatives as "psychological operations" (PSYOPS), that
include contracting polling companies to create fraudulent polls that
show the NO vote with an advantage over the SI vote, which is false.
The CIA also confirms in the memo that it is working with international
press agencies to distort the data and information about the
referendum, and that it coordinates in Venezuela with a team of
journalists and media organized and directed by the President of
Globovision, Alberto Federico Ravell.

CIA Officer Michael
Steere recommends to General Michael Hayden two different strategies to
work simultaneously: Impede the referendum and refuse to recognize the
results once the SI vote wins. Though these strategies appear
contradictory, Steere claims that they must be implemented together
precisely to encourage activities that aim toward impeding the
referendum and at the same time prepare the conditions for a rejection
of the results.

How is this to be done?

In the memo, the CIA proposes the following tactics and actions:

  • Take the streets and protest with violent, disruptive actions across the nation
  • Generate a climate of ungovernability
  • Provoke a general uprising in a substantial part of the population
  • Engage
    in a "plan to implode" the voting centers on election day by
    encouraging opposition voters to "VOTE and REMAIN" in their centers to
    agitate others
  • Start to release data during the early hours of the
    afternoon on Sunday that favor the NO vote (in clear violation of
    election regulations)
  • Coordinate these activities with Ravell & Globovision and international press agencies
  • Coordinate
    with ex-militar officers and coupsters Pena Esclusa and Guyon Cellis –
    this will be done by the Military Attache for Defense and Army at the
    US Embassy in Caracas, Office of Defense, Attack and Operations (DAO)

To encourage rejection of the results, the CIA proposes:

  • Creating an acceptance in the public opinion that the NO vote will win for sure
  • Using polling companies contracted by the CIA
  • Criticize and discredit the National Elections Council
  • Generate a sensation of fraud
  • Use
    a team of experts from the universities that will talk about how the
    data from the Electoral Registry has been manipulated and will build
    distrust in the voting system

The CIA memo also talks about:

  • Isolating Chavez in the international community
  • Trying to achieve unity amongst the opposition
  • Seek an aliance between those abstentionists and those who will vote "NO"
  • Sustain firmly the propaganda against Chavez
  • Execute military actions to support the opposition mobilizations and propagandistic occupations
  • Finalize the operative preparations on the US military bases in Curacao and Colombia to provide support to actions in Venezuela
  • Control a part of the country during the next 72-120 hours
  • Encourage a military rebellion inside the National Guard forces and other components

Those involved in these actions as detailed in the CIA memo are:

  • The CIA Office in Venezuela – Office of Regional Affairs, and Officer Michael Steere
  • US Embassy in Venezuela, Ambassador Patrick Duddy
  • Office of Defense, Attack and Operations (DAO) at the US Embassy in Caracas and Military Attache Richard Nazario

Venezuelan Political Parties:

  • Comando Nacional de la Resistencia
  • Accion Democratica
  • Primero Justicia
  • Bandera Roja


  • Alberto Federico Ravell & Globovision
  • Interamerican Press Society (IAPA) or SIP in Spanish
  • International Press Agencies


  • Pena Esclusa
  • Guyon Cellis
  • Dean of the Simon Bolivar University, Rudolph Benjamin Podolski
  • Dean of the Andres Bello Catholic University, Ugalde
  • Students: Yon Goicochea, Juan Mejias, Ronel Gaglio, Gabriel Gallo, Ricardo Sanchez

Tenaza has the objective of encouraging an armed insurrection in
Venezuela against the government of President Chavez that will justify
an intervention of US forces, stationed on the military bases nearby in
Curacao and Colombia. The Operation mentions two countries in code: as
Blue and Green. These refer to Curacao and Colombia, where the US has
operative, active and equipped bases that have been reinforced over the
past year and a half in anticipation of a conflict with Venezuela.

document confirms that psychological operations are the CIA's best and
most effective weapon to date against Venezuela, and it will continue
its efforts to influence international public opinion regarding
President Chavez and the situation in the country.

Tenaza is a very alarming plan that aims to destabilize Venezuela and
overthrow (again) its legitimate and democratic (and very popularly
support) president. The plan will fail, primarily because it has been
discovered, but it must be denounced around the world as an
unacceptable violation of Venezuela's sovereignty.

The original
document in English will be available in the public sphere soon for
viewing and authenticating purposes. And it also contains more
information than has been revealed here.

For the full text in Spanish, see: Operación Tenaza: Informe confidencial de la CIA devela plan de saboteo al referéndum del 2 de diciembre