Petition to End Funding for the National Endowment for Democracy April 20, 2006We demand the US Congress stop funding the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its core institutes
Allen Weinstein, the NED’s theoretical planner, noted in a 1991 Washington Post interview, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
To: The United States Congress
WHEREAS, The US Congress is about to reconsider the funding needs of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its core institutes – The International Republican Institute (Republican Party), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (Democratic Party), the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (AFL-CIO), and the Centers for International Private Enterprise (US Chamber of Commerce) – in particular the IRI and NDI, which will use up their allotments by April 30th;
WHEREAS, Few in the United States are aware of the existence of the NED, established by U.S. Congress and President Reagan in 1983, although at least 95% of its budget is funded by US taxpayers;
WHEREAS, The NED is nevertheless officially considered a “private” organization, it receives no oversight and is not accountable to people in the United States;
WHEREAS, The NED claims to support the development of democracy throughout the world, but has been used by the US State Department to subvert elected governments and popular movements, manipulating elections, funding coup d’etats, and supporting dictatorships for decades;
WHEREAS, Most recently, NED funds have been targeted to undermine the democratically elected governments of Venezuela and Haiti. The NED has also actively intervened in countries in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and elsewhere;
WHEREAS, In Venezuela, groups funded by the NED, such as “Súmate” (“join up”) were directly involved in the coup d’etat of April 2002 against the elected presidency of Hugo Chavez, which was defeated by a popular uprising backed by soldiers loyal to the constitution. The leaders of Súmate were among the first that endorsed the brief coup d’etat government led by Mr. Pedro Carmona, the head of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce. They were also involved in the corporate management lockout in December 2002, which did great damage to the Venezuelan economy. During this lockout, children and elderly people died and many people lost their livelihoods. It is clear this and other opposition groups take great strength from the fact they receive funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, which is backed by the United States Congress;
WHEREAS, In Haiti, the NED not only funded but convened and coordinated organizations behind the overthrow of the elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, including owners of sweatshop industries, former members, and associates of death squads, and brutal ex-military officers. Since that coup, over 10,000 Haitians have died;
WHEREAS, Substantial NED funding has gone into Iraq since the invasion – $63 million+, including half of the NED’s current budget. In the name of “democracy building”, the NED funds parties, associations and union centers which are agreeable to conditions which favor US military and corporate interests. Independent union centers, for instance, are outlawed and suppressed, in defiance of the principle of workers’ free choice of representation;
WHEREAS, The NED undermines democracy at home by working against democracy around the world;
THEREFORE, We call upon the US Congress to look out for our interests, which are dependent on the welfare of people around the world. We demand that not one more penny of our money go to help undermine and destroy the hopes, dreams and work of millions of women and men creating a better life for each other and their children.
THEREFORE, We demand the US Congress stop funding the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its core institutes.
This petition is issued by the US-based National Venezuelan Solidarity Network (made up of more than 30 national and regional organizations), and endorsed by [initial endorsing groups]