UK Foreign Office funds anti-Maduro coalition with £450,000 of UK taxpayer money

Nathan Czapnik, is a member of the YCL’s London District 

On Wednesday 21st October, media outlet Declassified UK revealed that the UK Foreign Office has spent £450,000 on an anti-Maduro coalition based in Venezuela called the Coalición Anticorrupción (Anticorruption Coalition). 

The UK is pinpointed as being the primary governmental donor for the coalition itself. 

Having previously been complicit with the US-backed Venezuelan coup attempts and having recognised opposition figure Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s “interim president”, the UK government has been heavily against Maduro’s left-wing and predominantly anti-imperialist government since the start. 

After multiple Freedom of Information Act requests, the UK Foreign Office finally admitted that it has been funding an anti-Maduro campaign.

An initial payment of £250,000 was made by the Foreign Office in 2019 to help establish the coalition itself. 

For March to December of this year, the Foreign Office has set up a payment plan of a further £200,000 to “to strengthen the sustainability of the coalition.”

In the request, the Foreign Office stated that the funds had been awarded from the UK’s £1.26-billion Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), which according to them “works to build peace and stability in countries at risk of instability.”

However, these funds are clearly intended to destabilise the current Venezuelan government and offer no sign of peace-building. 

Alongside these contradictions, the CSSF fund is described on http://www.gov.uk as being intended to “prevent conflicts that threaten UK interests.”  

The Coalición Anticorrupción encompasses 781 organisations and is currently promoting 234 “initiatives” for its goal of creating “new Venezuela.”

Non-governmental partners of the coalition include the ‘Margaret Thatcher Centre’. Ran by a pro- Guaidó Venezuelan journalist named Guzman González, the centre’s website says it wants a “strong citizenry and a small state”

Thatcher herself was well known for aiding Western imperialism in South America and had a controversially cosy relationship with Chile’s former proto-fascist tyrant Augusto Pinochet. 

The parent organisation of the coalition ‘Transparencia Venezuela’ professes on their website that they are politically unbiased; however, its co-founder Mercedes de Freitas previously set up and managed US-funded organisations in Venezuela. 

In addition, de Freitas, alongside others in the organisation have been vocal critics against Maduro’s leadership. 

In February 2017, former UK ambassador to Venezuela, John Saville suspiciously spoke at an event focused on “transparency” alongside Juan Guaidó. In August this year, Guaidó also gave a talk with ‘Transparencia Venezuela’.

The current UK ambassador Andrew Soper was revealed in the WikiLeaks diplomatic cable releases as being a so-called ‘strictly protect’ US informant for private Venezuelan matters. 

Both the US and UK governments are exerting imperialist force upon Venezuela, be it funding militias or politically biased NGOs. 

Although many amongst the left are still celebrating Morales’ win in Bolivia right now, let’s not forget that imperialism will still continue in South America just as it is alongside other corners of the globe. 

Imperialism will continue until those centres of hegemonic domination are defeated by proletarian struggle. 

Nathan Czapnik

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