By Eva Gollinger. Published on 18 November 2015 by Telesur English
Edward Snowden revealed to the world the 21st century spycraft in use against millions of innocent, unknowing people who now think twice about sending a text or an email. Amongst the documents obtained by Snowden were reports and details on surveillance of current and former heads of state, many of them from Latin America. Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff was outraged over revelations of NSA espionage against her government, including wiretaps of her own phone and email. Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was another major target of NSA operations. And now, Snowden has revealed the extensive espionage and penetration of the NSA in Venezuela's state-owned oil company, PDVSA, the lifeblood of the South American nation and fuel of Chavez's Bolivarian revolution.
Just three years before Edward Snowden became a household name, whistleblower organization WikiLeaks had already released a massive trove of classified and secret documents from the Pentagon and State Department that exposed U.S. government involvement in coups, destabilization campaigns, mass espionage and war crimes. The dirty tactics, strong-arming and back-stabbing revealed in internal State Department cables shed glaring light on the lengths Washington will go to impose its agenda. Allies are treated as enemies, and adversaries as partners, so long as it advances the self-serving objectives of U.S. power.
None of what Snowden or WikiLeaks revealed, as incredulous as it seemed to many, was surprising in Latin America. The region has been subjected to every tactic in the CIA book to ensure U.S. domination and control of its “backyard”. Throughout most of the 20th century, U.S. backed coup d’etats and interventions placed and removed heads of government, imposing School of the Americas-trained dictators that tortured, assassinated, disappeared, persecuted and incarcerated tens of thousands of civilians, disrupting and destabilizing their democratic, progressive movements and spiraling their nations into decades of darkness and brutality. When the dictators no longer served U.S. goals, they were switched out through coups or electoral processes heavily funded by U.S. agencies, ensuring an equally subservient leader would fill their shoes.
It wasn’t until the beginning of the 21st century, with the election in Venezuela of President Hugo Chavez, that the region began to liberate itself from Washington’s iron grip. Chavez opened the door to a sweeping tide that brought progressive, leftist leaders to power, elected by widespread majorities in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay, Honduras and El Salvador. Of course the resilience of Cuba for nearly half a century subjected to a crippling U.S. economic blockade and endless CIA attempts to destroy and destabilize their system, was the bedrock of the leftist rise that transformed and liberated the region.
After Chavez was elected in 1998 and began to implement changes affecting powerful interests, changes that would redistribute wealth and nationalize control over strategic resources such as oil and gas, the U.S. backed a coup against him in 2002 that briefly removed him from power and installed a U.S. selected dictador, businessman Pedro Carmona. When Venezuelans took to the streets to reclaim their democracy, bringing Chavez back to power, Washington continued funding and overseeing efforts to destabilize his government, undermine his policies and debilitate Venezuela’s economy and international trade.