Since it signed NAFTA (1994) and joined the Organization of American States, the Canadian government has more closely aligned its foreign policy with that of the United States than at any point in recent history. At the same time, the Canadian government has taken an increasing interest in the affairs of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Some attention has been paid to things like joint military exercises in the Caribbean with the U.S. and other allies, support for the damaging practices of Canadian mining companies, and the expanding presence of Canadian financial interests in the global South, but a newer area of Canada’s foreign policy posture warrants scrutiny: Canada’s deepening involvement in the controversial field of international ‘democracy promotion’ activities.
This article will focus largely on Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL), a ‘quasi-governmental’ organization that is a key but under-appreciated actor in assisting Canada’s foreign policy interests for the region in the name of democracy, private enterprise, and free markets. As “the right arm” of the Canadian government in the region, FOCAL is on the vanguard of broader trends in Canadian ‘democracy promotion’ activities in the hemishpere. The organization is notable for its material and ideological ties to the NED and other U.S. agencies. FOCAL makes up one facet of Canadian democracy promotion activities, but an examination of its activities demonstrates why progressive social movements should pay close attention to this new genre of political intervention into the affairs of the nations of the Global South.
Promoting Democracy through â€˜Overt Operationsâ€™
â€œWeâ€™re engaged in almost missionary workâ€¦Weâ€™ve seen what the Socialists do for each other. Weâ€™ve seen what the Communists do for each other. And now weâ€™ve come along, and we have a broadly democratic movement, a force for democracy.â€ So said Keith Schuette, head of the international arm of the U.S. Republican Party as he described the self-perception of his fellow practitioners in the emerging field of â€˜democracy promotionâ€™ to the New York Times in mid-1986.(1)
The National Endowment for Democracy was created in 1982 by a “handful of powerful people,” including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who undertook “skillful manoeuvrings”(2) to gain bipartisan acceptance for its vigourous pursuit of â€œan aggressive American policy in fostering a move toward democracy in the third world.â€(3) Gone were the days of politically untenable support for military dictatorships, a strategy that was rigourously pursued throughout the region for most of the Cold War period by the U.S. security and intelligence apparatus. This period saw over two dozen separate U.S. military and Central Intelligence Agency-led interventions throughout Latin America.(4)
David K. Shipler of the New York Times wrote that NEDâ€™s â€œprogram resembles the aid given by the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1950â€™s, 60â€™s and 70â€™s to bolster pro-American political groups.â€ Making once-covert activities overt had the benefit of â€œlending a novel flexibility to Government-aided efforts abroad, for doing what official agencies have never been comfortable doing in public.â€(5) This important point was reiterated five years later in a Washington Post article, which characterized the NED as â€œThe sugar daddy of overt operations.â€ One of the NEDâ€™s founders, Allen Weinstein, famously told the Post â€œA lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.â€(6)
Writing in Covert Action Quarterly, James Ciment and Immanual Ness describe the nuance of NEDâ€™s interventions:
â€œ[T]he NED â€“ though its funding remains a fraction of that still devoted to covert action by the CIA â€“ offers a more subtle, sophisticated, and politically acceptable method for furthering U.S. foreign policy interests. Where the Cold War-era CIA once crushed genuinely democratic movementsâ€¦the NED attempts to coopt them.â€(7)
A product of the waning Cold War period, the NEDâ€™s activities, which require State Department approval and are privy to Congressional oversight, helped â€œto reduce the fear of some leaders in Washington that friendly military dictatorships may give way to democratically elected governments prone to communist influence.â€ (8)
Investigative journalist-turned-social theorist William I. Robinson has written about NED activities for nearly two decades. In his path-breaking analysis of U.S. intervention in Nicaragua, A Faustian Bargain: U.S. Intervention in the Nicaraguan Elections and American Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era, Robinson describes the NED as being on the vanguard of â€˜the new intervention,â€™: â€œThe creation of the National Endowment for Democracy was part and parcel of the resurgence of intervention abroad and the development of low-intensity conflict doctrines.â€(9)
In his later text on U.S. intervention, Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, US Intervention and Hegemony, Robinson described the NED as being â€œorganically integrated into the overall execution of US national security and foreign policyâ€¦The NED has operated in tandem with all major interventionist undertakings of the 1980s and 1990s.â€ The NED structure, which consists of an â€œinterlocked core of political warfare specialistsâ€ makes it â€œan exact mirror of the institutional structure of power in the United States.â€(10) Robinson is referring to the four ‘pillarâ€™ institutes that receive funding from the NED. These include the international wings of the Democratic and Republican partiesâ€”the International Republican Institute (IRI), and National Democratic Institute (NDI), respectively. The remaining pillars are big business representation through the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), and big labour is represented by the by the Solidarity Centre. The four institutes, along with an alphabet soup mixture of other overt operatorsâ€“for example, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the Americaâ€™s Development Foundation (ADF), Creative Associates International Inc., (CAII), Development Alternatives International (DAI), Management Systems International (MSI)â€“receive the majority of their funding from USAID. According to IRI spokesperson Christopher Sands, the most recent combined NDI and IRI budgets were almost $200 million.(11), which eclipses by more than double the NEDâ€™s annual budget of $80 million.
Robinson argues that â€democracy promotion…is more accurately called polyarchy.â€ Polyarchy â€œrefers to a system in which a small group actually rules, and participation in decision-making by the majority is confined to choosing among competing elites in tightly controlled electoral processes.â€ (12) Elsewhere, Robinson has argued that â€œpolyarchy as a distinct form of elite rule performs the function of legitimating existing inequalities, and does so more effectively than authoritarianism.â€(13) Putting it bluntly, as former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott described the â€˜realpolitikâ€™ reasoning behind the shift from supporting authoritarianism to promoting polyarchy, â€œdemocracies are more likely to be reliable partners in trade and diplomacy and more likely to pursue foreign and defense policies that are compatible with American interests.â€(14)
Pioneered by the US government, democracy promotion has gone global. While the US is still the dominant player when it comes to exporting polyarchy, a multitude of Northern countries are adopting similar methods. Most recently, the United Nations established â€˜UNDEF,â€™ the UN Democracy Fund, which has already announced that it will be dispersing $36 million in â€œdemocracy fundsâ€ to â€œcivil society organizationsâ€ around the world.(15) UNDEF was adopted without a vote by the UN General Assembly at the 2005 UN World Summit, along with other controversial, interventionist endeavours, such as the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, a Canadian initiative which allows, through a de facto revision of the UN charter, for military intervention and the suspension of state sovereignty when states have been deemed â€œfailing or failed.â€ (16) In preparing to enter the â€˜democracy promotionâ€™ field, UNDEF officials met with U.S. agencies including a number of NED affiliates, as a first order of business.(17)
These developments indicate that the discourse of â€˜democracy promotionâ€™ has become normalized in 21st century interventionist thinking, even though as Ciment and Ness point out that â€œit is unclear that there is a single example of political reform, democratic or otherwise, anywhere in the world that can be attributed to an NED program.â€(18) The most extensive analysis of NEDâ€™s activities to date, conducted by Eric T. Hale, reached a similar conclusion :
“This research does not find evidence that NED was successful at promoting democracy and economic freedom during the 1990s. The motivation behind promoting democracy and economic freedom may be admirable, but, without proof of its efficacy, it seems to have more potential risks than benefits. This research was unable to find the proof necessary to justify its continued practice.”(19)
There is however, plenty of evidence to support the fact that the NED has, to varying degrees, successfully carried out activities, far from admirable, calculated to undermine popular movements and install polyarchic systems around the world.
I will now briefly examine Canada’s role in promoting polyarchy.
Canada Develops Overt Ops Capacities
Canadian policy makers welcomed the transition from U.S. support for military dictatorships to â€˜democracies.â€™ Openly supporting dictatorships didnâ€™t accord with Canadaâ€™s self-image as a â€˜middle powerâ€™ who exercises â€œselfless activismâ€(20) and a unique brand of â€œexceptionalism,â€ notions that inhered a Canadian foreign policy cultivated and projected outward by Canadian officialdom. The rhetoric of â€˜democracy promotion,â€™ as we shall see, is a far better fit with the Canadian exceptionalism narrative, summed up in the following Liberal party statement: â€œCanadaâ€™s history as a non-colonizing power, champion of constructive multilateralism and effective international mediator, underpins an important and distinctive role among nations as they seek to build a new and better orderâ€¦â€(21)
In one of the few critical analyses of Canada and democratization, Mark Neufeld argues that â€œthe dependence on the US on second-tier core states such as Canada fulfilling their functions as legitimizers â€“ not to mention taking a lead role in contexts where US activism would do more harm than good â€“ must not be overlooked.â€ (22) Neufeld describes how the â€˜democratizationâ€™ â€˜in/ofâ€™ Canadian foreign policy was designed to â€œre-establish the legitimacy of Canadian foreign policy in the eyes of its counter-consensus critics.â€(23) The critics Neufeld refers to were scrutinizing Canadian Foreign Policy for its commitment to emerging neoliberal capitalism, tied aid, the structural adjustment policies of the IMF, and the interests of Canadian banking and corporate interests. In response to widespread discontent, Neufeld writes in a Gramscian vein, â€œCanadian political leaders were able to establish a â€˜passive revolution,â€™â€ which consisted of â€œthe co-optation of the potential leaders of subaltern groups through the strategy of â€˜assimilating and domesticating potentially dangerous ideas by adjusting them to the policies of the dominant coalition.â€™â€ (24)
Critics who demanded the â€˜democratizationâ€™ of Canadian foreign policy got more than they bargained for as Canada appropriated their discourse and set about creating its democracy promotion apparatus. Neufeld notes that â€œthe discourse of the counter-consensus provided the very resources of legitimization for Canadaâ€™s support of polyarchy abroad.â€ Critics of Canadian foreign policy were transformed into â€œstakeholders,â€ a term that is well characterized by Canadian professor Kin Nossal: â€œstakeholder politics is an excellent tool of political management for state officialsâ€¦itâ€¦binds the stakeholders more tightly to the policies eventually adopted.â€(25)
Beginning in the late 1980â€™s, the Canadian government created several arms-length agencies for dedicated to â€œdemocracy promotionâ€. At the same time, new funding initiatives guided the transformation of existing NGOs into vehicles for polyarchy promotion. Thomas Axworthy and Les Campbell, who have recently proposed and conceptualized a â€œblueprintâ€ for a NED-like structure under the banner of the â€Democracy Canada Institute,â€ point out that â€œearly internal government discussionsâ€ in the mid-1980s, â€œsuggested that policy makers were seeking to create an Organization similar to the National Endowment for Democracy,â€ which was among â€œthe international models Canada should explore.â€(26)
Things did not proceed quite as planned, and Parliament instead created the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (ICHRDD, later renamed Rights & Democracy (R&D)), In 1988 Ed Broadbent was named R&Dâ€™s first president, following his retirement as leader of the NDP. It is no secret, however, that R&D maintains a close affiliation with the NED, sharing a database on the NEDâ€™s website, along with funding or partnering with some of the same organizations as NED. On its website, the NED describes R&D as a â€˜counterpart institution,â€ and reveals that â€œDuring the planning phase for the new Centre, members of a Parliamentary task force consulted with the leadership of NED.â€(27)
Campbell and Axworthyâ€™s contributions demonstrate the non-partisan nature of overt operations in Canada. Campbell is a former chief of staff for NDP leader Audrey McLaughlin. He later joined the one of the NEDâ€™s core institutes, NDI, where he is regional director for the Middle East operations. He has recruited so many Canadians to work there that nearly a quarter of NDIâ€™s staff are Canadian.(28) Axworthy, meanwhile, is a former Liberal insider (and brother of former Liberal Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy,), and a one time secretary to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. The study itself is posted and housed at the conservative-minded Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP), â€œthe countryâ€™s most influential think tank.â€ (29) At the time of the reportsâ€™ publication, the IRPP was headed by Hugh Segal, a Conservative Senator and former advisor to Conservative PM Brian Mulroney. Segal is also the chair of the private Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundationâ€™s board of trustees, who shelled out $50,000 for the â€˜Canadian Democratic Institute Feasibility Studyâ€™ in 2004.(30)
Over the years, many benign-sounding organizations have acted in Canadaâ€™s foreign policy interests, carrying out democracy promotion projects with millions of dollars in CIDA or Foreign Affairs funding. Prominent in the field of electoral intervention and the practice of â€˜demonstration elections,â€™ has been Elections Canada. Canadaâ€™s Chief Electoral Officer, Jean Pierre Kingsley, is on the Board of Directors of IFES, an NED affiliate that works closely with the IRI and NDI. The chairman of IFES, in turn, sits on the Board of the IRI. There is also the Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society (IMPACS), on whose board Les Campbell of NDI sits; thereâ€™s also Reseau LibertÃ©, a Quebec-based international media NGO which, like IMPACS, has been known to collaborate with USAID and NED; Alternatives is yet another media and civil society NGO that also works with U.S. overt operators. Other prominent Canadian overt operators include the Parliamentary Centre, the Forum of Federations, the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians, the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC), among a host of others. Each of these merits detailed scrutiny. For the purposes of understanding the extent of Canadian overt operators linkages to the U.S. and of the extremes to which Canadaâ€™s operators are willing to go in Latin America, however, I will now turn to the case study of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL).
FOCAL point: Regime Change
The Canadian Foundation of the Americas (FOCAL) is a useful case study for understanding the extent of Canadaâ€™s overt operations in Latin America as well as its inter-connectedness with the U.S. model of â€˜democracy promotionâ€™ generally and with the NED specifically. FOCALâ€™s leadership structure has deep historical ties to overt operations in the hemisphere, and material ties to high level interventionist policy makers in the U.S. The case of FOCAL is indicative of the extremes to which Canadaâ€™s overt operators will go â€˜in the name of democracyâ€™ and in the interests of regime change. I will also briefly examine FOCALâ€™s role in assisting and helping carry out Canadian foreign policy in Haiti, where regime change took place in February 2004, with Canada playing an unprecedented leadership role as a result. It is due in part to Canadaâ€™s developed â€˜democracy promotionâ€™ apparatus that they are able to take on such a role in the early 21st century, and evidence much suggests they intend to play a similar roles in future interventions.
FOCAL was created in 1990 in response to a Cabinet-level decision to deepen ties with Latin America â€œthrough policy discussion and analysis.â€ Its primary role, according to a government-commissioned evaluation of its activities in 2004, is to function â€œas a bridge between civil society, government and the private sector.â€(31) Although it claims to be a â€œnon-partisan, independent NGO,â€ the authors of the evaluation make it clear that FOCAL is widely perceived to be no more than an extension of the government itself. The report states, â€œStakeholders from every sector and
from the academic community in particular, indicated that FOCAL is already perceived as â€˜the right arm of the government,â€™ echoing the perspective and beliefs of its funding bodies, rather than a truly independent, non-governmental organization.â€(32) Elsewhere, FOCALâ€™s level of policy is described as â€œsuperficial,â€(33) and they are perceived by stakeholders as â€œoverly aligned with Canadian government positionsâ€ (34) and are â€œunwilling to engage in an open debate and to discuss their forums or papers.â€(35) Overall, â€œstakeholders questioned the legitimacy of the dialogue that transpiresâ€ where FOCAL is concerned.(36)
The Canadian government, through Foreign Affairs Canada, CIDA, and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), is the primary benefactor of FOCAL.(37) This fact, and the presence of current and former diplomats, government officials, business executives, and academics on its board of directors has done little to change this image. The evaluation acknowledges that this complicates matters, wherein â€œthe predominance of former government officials on the Board contributes to its apparent pro-government stance on many issues and the subsequent perception of FOCAL as a quasi-governmental agency.â€(38)
As part of FOCALâ€™s mandate to nurture ties and network with the private sector, Chairman of the Board John W. Graham brought two well-connected individuals onto FOCALâ€™s Board in 2002, Beatrice Rangel and Alan J. Stoga. Graham got to know Rangel when he was Canadaâ€™s ambassador to Venezuela in the early 1990â€™s. At that time, Rangel was an advisor and chief of staff to Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez, an unpopular ally of the U.S. in their â€˜low intensityâ€™ war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and the object of a failed coup attempt by Lt. Col. Hugo Chavez in 1992. Rangel spent many years in the business world working for Gustavo Cisneros, a billionare media mogul, personal friend of George Bush, Sr. and Brian Mulroney, and alleged backer of the April 2002 coup attampt against Hugo Chavez. In 2004, former President Perez said that President Chavez â€œmust die like a dog, because he deserves it.â€(39)
There are strong indications that Rangel has a rich background in overt, and possibly covert operations. A section of William I. Robinsonâ€™s A Faustian Bargain is devoted to â€œthe Venezuelan connection,â€ which provided key support to the U.S in their efforts to subvert the Nicaraguan Revolution. Like President Ronald Reagan at the time, President Carlos Andres Perez believed the â€œNicaraguan Revolution should be contained…through the bolstering of the anti-Sandinista civic opposition.â€ (40) Citing â€œVenezuelan diplomats…and…sources close to U.S. intelligenceâ€ Robinson describes the role of Rangel, who Perez had appointed as his personal representative â€œin some contacts with the Bush administration.â€ â€œRangel…met with administration officials in Washington several times during the first half of 1989. On at least one occasion, she personally carried a suitcase stuffed with secret funds from Washington and Miami to Caracas for use in Venezuelan-based Nicaraguan operations.â€(41) Elsewhere, Robinson describes how Perez worked closely with NED and CIA. â€œThe secret flow of funds clearly involved the CIA and NED as well as the State Department…â€(42)
In an e-mail response, Rangel denied carrying bags of money. â€œI never received and have not received any funds from the US government except for taxation returns; I never brought any funds to Managua.â€(43)
William Robinson, in an e-mail response, stood by his original sources and information.
Subsequent to joining FOCALâ€™s Board, Rangel would facilitate the first National Endowment for Democracy grant for FOCAL. She did so in 2004 through her connections to the NEDâ€™s then-Latin American and Caribbean Director, Christopher Sabatini. â€œChris Sabatini and I, one day I was telling him that I thought FOCAL was doing a sensational job with the civil society and that the NED should support it, I was just trying to get funding for FOCAL..â€(44) The reasons that Rangel gives for a Canadian organization stepping in to do the NEDâ€™s work implicitly speak to the earlier-described theme of exceptionalism, â€œI believe the United States has, right now, such a bad image, the work would proceed much better, and it would be a better investment, for NED if FOCAL does the job because Canada, Canadians don’t elicit these kinds of feelings of rejection that Americans do now.”(45)
FOCALâ€™s role as NED â€˜proxyâ€™ may also be due to the greater scrutiny of the NEDâ€™s activities within Venezuela. In her expose of the U.S. role in the 2002 coup attempt, detailed through Freedom of Information Act documents, The Chavez Code, Eva Golinger mentions Beatrice Rangel in the context of the NEDâ€™s history in Venezuela. Golinger also contextualizes the allegations against Rangelâ€™s employer, Gustavo Cisneros. The result of Golingerâ€™s book has been far greater scrutiny of the NEDâ€™s activities and charges of treason against some Venezuelan recipients of NED funding, such as Sumate.(46) At the time of the coup, Rangelâ€™s friend Sabatini was overseeing the NEDâ€™s operations. Rangel takes issue with Golinger, referring to her as a â€œ typical American from the left that believes in conspiracy theories.â€(47) And, defending the NED, she said, â€œI think that the NED has helped institutional development throughout Latin America. I do not think for one minute that the NED has worked to subvert democratic governance.”
In 2005, NED would give FOCAL $94,516, â€œTo generate a dialogue on the role that civil society and the international community can play in the promotion and defense of democracy in the hemisphere.â€ FOCAL commissioned two papers on the subject and hosted a conference which they chose not to publicize, along with â€œfollow-up meetings in Venezuela and Ecuador on civil society and hemispheric and international norms for democracy promotion and defense.â€(48)
Today, Rangel is also the President and CEO of AMLA Consulting, which is owned by fellow FOCAL Board member Alan Stoga, who also heads Zemi Communications, a public relations firm that â€œdevelops and manages communications programs for major corporations as well as governments.â€(49) Demonstrating perhaps the true nature of the private sector ties that FOCAL is cultivating, Stoga has long-standing ties to former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. For many years, Stoga worked as the chief economist at Kissinger & Associates. The Zemi communications website lists three â€œstrategic partners,â€ one of which is AMLA consulting. The other two are Kissinger & Associates and McLarty-Kissinger.(50) Stoga is also on the board of the elitist business roundtable Council of the Americas. Christopher Sabatini, who left the NED in 2005, and has denied requests for an interview, works for the Council, while Gustavo Cisneros is on the Chairmanâ€™s international advisory council, along with the prominent head of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Tom Dâ€™Aquino.
FOCAL Chair John Grahamâ€™s history further speaks to FOCALâ€™s ties to Washington and Canadaâ€™s role as a U.S. foreign policy proxy via the OAS. Graham is a long time overt operator in a number of capacities. He was the first head of the Unit for Promotion of Democracy within the OAS, which Canada helped create soon after joining the OAS. Since then, a Canadian has always headed this foundation, which is â€œresponsible for activities in support of democratic consolidation in the member states.â€(51) Graham was later a consultant for IFES, the NED-affiliate who specializes in electoral intervention and human rights co-optation. Other FOCAL Board members with ties to the OAS include Paul Durand, Canadaâ€™s Ambassador to the OAS, and Elizabeth Spehar, who was the head of the UPD until she took on the role of overseeing â€œdemonstration electionsâ€ in Haiti on behalf of the OAS. In this capacity, she helped carry out the â€˜trusteeshipâ€™ role that was strongly advocated by FOCAL during Parliamentary hearings into Canadaâ€™s role in Haiti.
FOCAL would play a central role in providing legitimacy and justification for Canadaâ€™s role in the 2004 coup dâ€™etat that overthrew Haitiâ€™s President Jean Bertrand Aristide. Their official mandate is to â€œsupport Canadian engagement in the reconstruction of the Haitian state and economy.â€(52)) They have appeared as witnesses for Parliamentary Committees, organized high-level meetings with Haitian, Canadian, and other regional officials, and have cultivated close ties with Haitiâ€™s elites, many of which were involved in the campaign to overthrow Aristide. FOCAL has also been among the most vocal in calling for a â€˜trusteeshipâ€™ over Haiti. In April, 2004, John Graham flirted with this idea during a Parliamentary hearing:
“In the case of Haiti, there is a need for international organizations to occupy some of the space that has been abandoned by the Haitian government….We have to be extremely careful – and when I say “we,” I mean Canada or the international community as a whole – in addressing this kind of problem lest we have the stones of anti-colonialism hurled at us. We don’t want to call it a trusteeship…But some control has to be vested in the international community to give Haiti a beginning.”
Carlo Dade is FOCALâ€™s Senior Advisor and has been the main point person for FOCALâ€™s â€œCanada and the Rebuilding of Haitiâ€ program. He has been a strong advocate of a â€œleadership roleâ€ for Canada in post-Aristide Haiti. Playing off of the theme of Canadian exceptionalism, Dade told the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs:
â€œCanada and the Caribbean really stand out in terms of the historical relation vis-Ã -vis Haiti, and this creates a huge opportunity, a huge amount of political capital that we have to spend in Haiti…Canada also enjoys a perception in the region as a counterweight to what is viewed as heavy U.S. involvement in the region, a voice of moderation, a positive influence…and that creates an opportunity to engage too.â€(53)
Dade also went to considerable lengths to relate Canadaâ€™s potential role in Haiti with the issue of bolstering Canada-U.S. relations: â€œThe U.S. would welcome Canadian involvement and Canada’s taking the lead in Haiti. The administration in Washington has its hands more than full with Afghanistan, Iraq…This is a chance for Canada to step up and provide that sort of focused attention and leadership, and the administration would welcome this.â€(54)
Interestingly, Dade mentions a recent visit to Ottawa by Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America, Roger Noriega, and the head of USAID for Latin America, Adolfo Franco, both of which said that a leadership role for Canada â€œis something of interest.â€(55) This connection is important given that Dade, a U.S. citizen, worked for a Congressionally-funded quasi-government agency called the Inter-American Foundation (IAF). The IAF has provided FOCAL with at least $50,000 in funding. Noriega, considered a key architect in U.S. efforts to undermine Aristide, and Franco, who would have overseen U.S. â€˜democracy promotionâ€™ efforts in Haiti prior to the coup, are Board members of IAF.(56)
Part of FOCALâ€™s efforts at â€˜reconstructing the Haitian economyâ€™ have included pushing the Canadian government to endorse the privatization of key Haitian industries, a process that has been resisted by Haitians at the grassroots level, as well as by President Aristide prior to his overthrow in 2004. A â€œpolicy briefâ€ that FOCAL submitted to CIDA not intended for public disseminationproposes that â€œThere is a clear need for a rational, transparent and intelligent privatization programme.â€(57)This report was the result of a high level meeting co-hosted by FOCAL in September 2005, which brought several members of Haitiâ€™s elite to discuss the theme of â€˜the role of the private sectorâ€™ in Haiti with Canadian political and diplomatic officials. Former Prime Minister and FOCAL Board Member Joe Clark chaired the meeting.
By no means does a brief look at some of FOCALâ€™s actors exhaust either the extent of FOCALâ€™s role as the â€œright armâ€ of the Canadian government nor their obvious ties to important U.S. political agencies and actors. Neither does this render a proper appreciation of the moral implications of FOCALâ€™s supporting a coup in violation of the OAS Charter that Canada purports to uphold. The coup directly resulted in the murder of thousands of Haitians by paramilitary groups, police, and occupying military forces. FOCALâ€™s funding relationship with the NED symbolizes their â€œsolidarityâ€ with the NEDâ€™s overall aims as much as it implicates them in the NEDâ€™s â€œovert operationsâ€ in places like Venezuela and Ecuador. The example of FOCAL does provide us with a example of the extent to which Canadaâ€™s emergent â€œdemocracy promotionâ€ apparatus is â€œinterlockedâ€ with that of the U.S., which remains the dominant player in the field. FOCALâ€™s evident distaste for populism and revolutionary movements also suggests that they will be called upon, as in Haiti, to offer legitimisation, justification, and intellectual and material support for future â€˜transitionsâ€™ that Canada intends to be a part of. This was inferred by a high ranking Canadian diplomat in Haiti, interviewed in September 2005:
â€œCanada is one of the most important aid donors in the country and I think now there is a new spirit and if we can use this new multilateralism to solve the crisis in Haiti, this could be, I would say, an example for the crisis to come in this hemisphere. We could think, for example, what will happen when Cuba will be in transition, will it be just an American issue? Or will it be an inter-hemispheric issue?…Haiti is important for Canada, who are pursuing, I would say, not only one agenda, more than one agenda, and I suppose also to see Canada playing a leadership role in Haiti, I’m sure that is also welcome in Washington, to say that Canada is ready to play a role in a region, I mean where Washington has interests and maybe don’t have one day, because of the history, they don’t have the same capability, the same flexibility as we do to be involved in this country.â€(58)
Canada’s Latin American and Caribbean policy has become more prominent and more closely integrated with that of the United States. The development of an extensive Canadian ‘democracy (or, more aptly, polyarchy) promotion’ apparatus that has material and ideological ties to the dominant and ultra-interventionist U.S. apparatus, Canada may pose a serious danger to any popular movement that should arise in the hemisphere with the intention of empowering poor people and bucking the Washington/Ottawa consensus.
1. Shipler, David K. New York Times, ‘MISSIONARIES FOR DEMOCRACY: U.S. AID FOR GLOBAL PLURALISM,’ June 1, 1986, Page 1.
2. Madison, Christopher. The National Journal, ‘Selling Democracy,’ June 28, 1986, Vol. 18, No. 26.
3. NYT, ‘MISSIONARIES FOR DEMOCRACY.â€™
4. The best overall synopsis of these event is found in William Blum. Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2004)
5. NYT, ‘MISSIONARIES FOR DEMOCRACY.â€™
6. Ignatius, David. Washington Post, ‘Innocence Abroad: The New World of Spyless Coups,’ September 22, 1991, C1.
7. Ciment, James and Immanuel Ness, â€œNED and the Empireâ€™s New Clothes,â€™ Covert Action Quarterly, Number 67, Spring-Summer 1999, p. 66.
8. NYT, ‘MISSIONARIES FOR DEMOCRACY.â€™
9. Robinson, William I. A Faustian Bargain: U.S. Intervention in the Nicaraguan Elections and American Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992), p. 14
10. Robinson, William I. Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, U.S. Intervention, and Hegemony (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 88
11. Interview with author.
12. Robinson, William I. Transnational Conflicts: Central America, Social Change, and Globalization (New York: Verso, 2003), p. 53. See also Dahl, Robert A. Polyarchy: Participation & Opposition (Cumberland, Rhode Island:Yale University Press, 1971).
13. Robinson, Promoting Polyarchy, p. 51.
14. Quoted in Ciment and Ness, â€œNed and the Empireâ€™s New Clothes,â€ p. 66. Talbott said this on March 18, 1996.
15. UN News Service, August 30, 2006, â€˜More than $36 million to be granted out as UN Democracy Fund releases first grants,â€™ http://www.un.org/democracyfund/.
16. See my â€œLegalized Imperialismâ€: â€œResponsibility to Protectâ€ and the Dubious Case of Haiti,â€™ in Briarpatch Magazine, December 2005, http://briarpatchmagazine.com/news/?p=48.
17. â€˜UNDEF MISSION TO WASHINGTON DC,â€™ April 27-28, 2006, http://www.un.org/democracyfund/UNDEF_mission_at_Washington_DC-Apr2006.htm.
18. Ciment and Ness, p. 66.
19. Eric T. Hale, A QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE EVALUATION OF THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY, 1990-1999, Doctoral Dissertation, Louisiana State University, December 2003
20. Neufeld, Mark. Studies in Political Economy 58, ‘Democratization in/of Canadian Foreign Policy: Critical Reflections, Spring 1999.
21. From â€˜Canada in the World,â€™ cited in Neufeld, Mark. Studies in Political Economy 58, ‘Democratization in/of Canadian Foreign Policy: Critical Reflections, Spring 1999: p. 103
22. Ibid., p. 112.
24. Ibid., p. 102.
25. Ibid., p. 106. For original source see Nossal, â€œThe Democratization of Canadian Foreign Policy: The Elusive Ideal,â€ in Maxwell A. Cameron and Maureen Appel Molot, eds., Democracy and Foreign Policy: Canada Among Nations 1995 (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1995), p. 39.
26. Axworthy, Thomas S. and Leslie Campbell, â€˜Advancing Democracy Abroad: A Proposal to Create the Democracy Canada Institute,â€™ IPaper Presented to Institute for Research on Public Policy, Canadaâ€™s Role in International Assistance to Democratic Development, September 10-11, 2004, p. 12.
27. NEDâ€™s website is http://www.ned.org. The database is called the â€˜Democracy Projects Database
28. Author interview with Campbell.
29. As stated in a Macleanâ€™s article. The quote scrolls across the IRPPâ€™s home page (http://irpp.org). See Anthony Wilson-Smith, Macleanâ€™s, June 10, 2002, â€˜Countdown, by Chretien’s clock,â€™ p. 2.
30. The Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation. Annual Report 2004, p. 15
31. Foreign Affairs Canada and The Canadian International Development Agency. Office of the Inspector General. Evaluation Division. Evaluation of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL). Final Report. November 2004, p. 13.
32. Ibid., p. 16.
33. Ibid., p. 17.
34. Ibid., p. 20
36. Ibid., p. 22.
37. See FOCALâ€™s Annual Reports, 1998-2004. FOCAL recieved over $8 million from government sources during this period. http://www.focal.ca/about/annualreport/index_e.asp
38. Evaluation of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas, p. 33.
39. In Golinger, Eva. The Chavez Code: Cracking U.S. Intervention in Venezuela (Havana, Cuba: Editorial Jose Marti, 2005), p. 165.
See Edward S. Herman and Frank Brodhead. Demonstration Elections: U.S.-Staged Elections in the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and El Salvador (Boston: South End Press, 1984).
43. On Cisnerosâ€™ alleged role, see Corn, David, The Nation, August 5, 2002, â€˜Our Gang in Venezuela? THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY HAS BEEN BUSY–AND FAR FROM ALONE; Asociacion Civil Consorcio Justicia.â€™ Also see Joseph Contreras and Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, April, 29, 2002, â€˜Hugo’s Close Call: Chavez survived. Now the Bush administration faces tough questions about its maneuvers in Venezuela,â€™ p. 36.
40. A Faustian Bargain, p. 92.
41. Ibid., p. 93.
42. Robinson, William I. â€œThe Venezuelan Connection,â€ a sidebar within â€œU.S. Overt Information: Nicaraguan â€˜Electoral Coup,â€ Covert Action Information Bulletin. Number 34 (Summer 1990), pp. 31-36.
43. E-mail from B. Rangel, March 5, 2006.
44. Interview with author, January 2006..45. Ibid.
46. Elsewhere on the alleged role of Cisneros, see Corn, David, The Nation, August 5, 2002, â€˜Our Gang in Venezuela? THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY HAS BEEN BUSY–AND FAR FROM ALONE; Asociacion Civil Consorcio Justicia.â€™ Also see Joseph Contreras and Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, April, 29, 2002, â€˜Hugo’s Close Call: Chavez survived. Now the Bush administration faces tough questions about its maneuvers in Venezuela,â€™ p. 36.
47. Interview with author, January 2006.
48. The author obtained declassified copies of NED grants for Latin America and the Caribbean FY2005 in December 2005, and posted them on http//:inthenameofdemocracy.org. They were officially made public in June 2006.
49. See http://www.consultamla.com/
50. On Stogaâ€™s background with Kissinger, see The National Journal, June 22, 1985, Vol. 17; No. 25; Pg. 1456, ‘Kissinger’s Associates at Kissinger Associates.’ and Madison, CHRISTOPHER, The National Journal, June 22, 1985, Vol. 17, No. 25; Pg. 1452
, ‘Kissinger Firm Hopes to Make Its Mark As Risk Advisers to Corporate Chiefs.’
51. See http://www.upd.oas.org, since renamed the â€˜Office for the Promotion of Democracy.
52. E-mail received from Carlo Dade, April 2006
53. For both Dade and Grahamâ€™s full testimony, delivered April 1, 2004, see:
56. Noriega and Franco both declined interview requests on the subject of â€˜democracy promotionâ€™ in pre and post-coup Haiti. Dade also declined an interview request to discuss his background and FOCALâ€™s activities in/around Haiti.
57. Document received via e-mail from CIDA Media Relations Office, April 5, 2006.
58. Interview with author, Canadian Embassy, Port au Prince, Haiti, September 2005.