Conspiracy and Propaganda Centers: Illegal US Consulates in Venezuela

At the end of 2005, the Embassy of the United States in Venezuela inaugurated the first of what would become a total of four seats of "virtual consulates", known as "American Corners" in Latin America. These are no typical diplomatic seats.

At the end of 2005, the Embassy
of the United States in Venezuela, under the leadership of then
Ambassador William Brownfield (present U.S. Ambassador in Colombia),
inaugurated the first of what would become a total of four seats of
"virtual consulates", known as "American Corners" in Latin America.
These are no typical diplomatic seats, given the fact that they do not
have any authorization from the Foreign Ministry of the respective
countries in which they are situated; neither do they offer services to
the US citizens who reside in the country. Documents of the US State
Department, recently declassified in the realm of my investigations,
explicitly emphasize that the purpose of these "American Corners" is to
facilitate an "unfiltered" dialogue and relation between the Embassy of
the United States and the Venezuelan people. In a clear flagrancy [of
their disregard] for international law and the Vienna Convention on
Consular Relations in particular, Washington intends to ignore the
authority of the Venezuelan government in order to manage establishing
bilateral relations directly with sectors of the Venezuelan society.

Since President Chávez and the
Bolivarian Revolution came to power in 1998, Washington has intended to
undermine the Venezuelan democracy through different acts of
destabilization, including the coup d'état of April 2002, the economic
sabotage and the sabotage of the petroleum industry of 2002-2003,
Guarimbas1, electoral interventions, media
warfare, and a constant flow of dollars into the pockets of the violent
and anti-democratic groups of the opposition. Hence, when the Embassy
of the United States seeks to establish an "unfiltered" relation with
the Venezuelan people, it cannot be understood other than that they
have the same intentions as always; their objective continues to be the
overthrow of President Chávez and the destruction of the Bolivarian

Officially, the American
Corners are partnership programs between the Embassy of the United
States and certain local institutions that create small spaces, or
"corners", with access to information about the United States through
the Internet, and books and documentaries produced by the Department of
the State (DOS). Its goal is to create a kind of "virtual consulate"
that would not be sponsored formally by the government of the United
States but by a local organization, association, school, library or
institution. Actually, the American Corners constitute another
propaganda instrument of Washington which works not only as launching
pad for psychological warfare, but also subverts and violates the
diplomatic regulations by establishing places for "consular" access in
a nation without the authorization of the host country's government.

James Franklin Collins opened American Corners in Russia

Corners are closely monitored by the US State Department that keeps a
record of its efficacy. The concept of the American Corners originated
in the 90's and was inaugurated in Russia. The idea was to preserve the
advances achieved and the work realized during the Cold War and to
manage that Washington's presence would go unnoticed in Russia, with
the objective to guarantee that the US propaganda would continue to
exert influence on public opinion.

In 2002, the US State
Department's Bureau of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs expanded the
American Corners program, and at present more than two hundred
"Corners" exist worldwide.2 The majority of
them are located in nations in Eastern Europe, like Bulgaria and
Poland; in Asian countries like Uzbekistan, Kirguistan, Turkey,
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh; and in countries of
the Middle East, including Oman, amongst others. Venezuela is the first
Latin American nation that forms part of this program. On December 9th,
2005, then Ambassador William Brownfield inaugurated in Barquisimeto, a
city in the State of Lara, the first American Corner inside the office
of the Incorparated Law Society (Colegio de Abogados) of said region.
During the following six months, an additional three of those illegal
consulates were inaugurated in Margarita, Maturín and Lecherías (cities
in the State of Anzoátegui), almost all situated in the offices of the
regional incorporated law societies, except for Lecherías, where they
were given a space inside the municipal mayor's office. 

There are 395 American Corners worldwide, 50
in the Middle East. This AC map shows US presence in Georgia when they
attacked South Ossetia in a confrontation with Russia in September 2008

According to the recently
declassified documents, which include a series of contracts between the
US Embassy in Venezuela and the host entities, and according to other
reports on the functioning of said non-authorized diplomatic seats, the
American Corners in Venezuela receive their funding from the US State
Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and the US Embassy.
As a matter of fact, the host entities, such as the Incorporated Law
Society or municipal mayor's office, signed contracts with the Embassy
and receive money from the US State Department. This fact converts them
into Washington's actors, financed and monitored by a foreign
government that has maintained an aggressive attitude against the
Venezuelan government during the past decade.

Terms of the AC contract

The contracts between the
Embassy and its Venezuelan hosts are renewable in ten years and oblige
the host to provide a space that would be "to the complete
satisfaction" of the Embassy "to hold The Corner, including its
collections of printed work and electronic material, its public access
to Internet, and other related programs and activities…".

Next, the contract emphasizes that the Embassy would provide

"…The Corner with a basic print
material and CD-ROM collection about the United States … to the
discretion of the PAS [the Embassy's section for public affairs] and
with the assessment of La Biblioteca, the PAS would select and buy new
print material and electronic publications to incorporate them into the
collection of The Corner, concerning subjects that are related with:
economy, management, business, studies on the United States, English
lessons, political science, law, and democratic societies. The PAS
agrees to provide The Corner with multiple copies of the publications
produced by the State Department designed for public distribution…".

Amongst other things, the seat:

"shall realize programs with
speakers from the United States … [and] … shall provide information and
material about the programs, donations and educational opportunities
offered by the government of the United States."

In other words, these American
Corners are propaganda centers and meeting places of the US government,
established without authorization. They are illegal. They serve as
spaces for Washington to continue promoting their destabilization
agenda in Venezuela behind the back of the Venezuelan government. If
Venezuela would establish similar diplomatic seats in the United States
without the authorization of that government, they would be closed down
immediately and their US employees would be jailed for being
"non-authorized agents of a foreign government". Why then the
Venezuelan government has allowed that those illegal and harmful actors
and spaces would operate during more than three years? There is no
reason why Venezuela should open the door to conspiracy. The people
merit a better protection against those acts that attempt against their
will and undermine the hard work done by all of us in order to achieve
social justice.

Translator's notes:

See Eva Golinger's article Old School U.S. Intervention Model Used in Venezuela, published in Venezuelanalysis.com

  1. The 'Guarimba', a plan
    allegedly formed by opposition guru Robert Alonso, intended for
    right-wing forces to engage in widespread civil disobedience and
    violence in the streets of Caracas and other metropolitan areas,
    provoking repressive reactions from State forces that would then
    justify cries of human rights violations and lack of constitutional

  2. For a listing of countries and the official
    description and information provided about the American Corners Program
    Worldwide see (e.g.) American Corners  and American Corners in the World

Original Source in Spanish: YVKE, Radio Mundial – Los consulados ilegales de EEUU en Venezuela; published on March 18th, 2009.

This article has been translated from Spanish into English by Iris Buehler and revised by Les Blough, who are members of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. Both reside in Venezuela.

Read Eva Golinger's biography and more of her articles. Contact the author: Eva Golinger

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