WHITNEY WEBB—The Democracy Fund’s involvement in the Trust Project is notable because of the other media projects it funds, such as the new media empire of arch-neoconservative Bill Kristol, who has a long history of creating and disseminating falsehoods that have been used to justify the U.S. war in Iraq and other hawkish foreign policy stances. As a recent MintPress series revealed, Omidyar’s Democracy Fund provides financial support to Kristol’s Defending Democracy Together initiative and also supports Kristol’s Alliance for Securing Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund think tank that is best known for its cryptic Hamilton68 “Russian bot” dashboard.
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Ricardo Hausmann’s “Morning After” for Venezuela: The Neoliberal Brain Behind Juan Guaido’s Economic Agenda
ANYA PARAMPPIL—During the Chávez era, the Hausmann family was not content to sit on the sidelines and watch him build a “21st-century socialism.” Joanna’s mother, Ana Julia Jatar, assumed a position as executive director of Súmate, a U.S.-backed “civil society group” formed by right-wing darling María Corina Machado in order to “build democracy” in Venezuela.In 2003, Súmate received $53,400 from the National Endowment for Democracy “to work on referendum and general electoral activities,” according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.The initiative represented Jatar and Machado’s attempt to remove Chávez from power through popular recall. Yet the public rejected the referendum by a whopping 59 percent margin, in results certified by the Carter Center and Organization of American States.
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JUSTIN PODUR—Latin American social violence has even longer-running academic underpinnings. Today, Colombia’s president, Iván Duque (the protégé of the previous warlord-president Álvaro Uribe Vélez), leads the call for regime change in Venezuela. Duque’s country was reshaped by a multigenerational civil war during which the countryside was depopulated, through paramilitary violence, of millions of peasants (many of them Afro-Colombian or Indigenous). The academic theorist behind this was the Canadian-born, US “new dealer” Lauchlin Currie, whose theory (summarized by academic James Brittain in a 2005 article ), called “accelerated development,” was that “the displacement of rural populations from the countryside and their relocation to the urban industrial centers would generate agricultural growth and technological improvements for Colombia’s economy.”
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DANNY GLOVER: All of this activity to generate doubt is effective. According to a Yale survey, 70% of Americans believe global warming is real, but only 53% of those people think it’s caused by human activity. Just 16% think climate change is something to be very worried about. NAOMI ORESKES: I think we have very, very strong evidence in this case to support the conclusion that these campaigns have been highly impactful. So, until quite recently, many Americans have thought that the science was unsettled, even though scientists will tell you that it’s been settled for 20 years. So why would they think that?