The Agencia Venezolana de Noticias runs an article by Orlando Rangel Yustiz denouncing that the “tentacles of the Albert Einstein Institution (AEI) have an effective presence, not only in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Under the leadership of Gene Sharp (…), this subsidiary of the CIA has been extending its reach all over Latin America for more than a decade, and in particular over the Caribbean coast where Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution are located.”
The piece by Rangel is his fifth of a series on the issue which have also been published by AVN. In them the AEI is claimed to have links, and in some instances directly financed, most of Venezuela’s opposition, including opposition parties, the student movement, and local NGOs.
The AEI is a non-profit organization based in Boston that claims in its webpage to advance “the study and use of strategic nonviolent action in conflicts throughout the world. We are committed to the defense of freedom, democracy, and the reduction of political violence through the use of nonviolent action.” None of the regional projects described in its webpage seem to be directly related to Venezuela.
It is precisely the non-violence action advocacy of the AEI which makes it suspicious in the eyes of Rangel. According to him the violent aftermath of the April 14 Presidential Elections, which the Venezuelan government blames on the opposition leader Capriles Radonski, was a planned action by the opposition inspired by the non-violence method manual published by the AEI. In general, the article by Rangel emphasizes that non-violence methods of political engagement are in reality covers for violent, interventionist plots by the CIA.
As evidence of the links between the opposition and AEI, Rangel Yustiz quotes Venezuelan student leaders declaring their admiration of Gene Sharp and their contacts (“mainly by e-mail”) with the AEI.
He also throws in the conspiracy, although without specifying links to the AEI: Thimothy Tracy, an American amateur film maker captured, and later released, by the Venezuelan government on charges of being a CIA spy; Robert Alonso, a Venezuelan exiled in Miami with alleged links to Colombian paramilitaries; and the Colombian ex-President Álvaro Uribe.
The AEI has been signaled before as the master mind behind the Venezuelan opposition. In February 2005 Thierry Meyssan accused the AEI of being a cover for the CAI and of plotting “soft” coup attempts in Byelorussia, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela. In 2007 President Chávez publically echoed these accusations.
The publication by the AVN of these types of pieces comes at a significant moment: According to a post published by Timothy Gill in the blog Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights: “the National Assembly recently created a special commission to investigate foreign financing groups that ‘aim to generate social commotion and coup plans against the national government.’”