Following up on the ineptly-handled coup against Hugo Chavez, here’s an interesting posting on the The United States Agency for International Development website. It’s a job posting from the Office of Transition of Initiatives, an office at USAID which specializes mainly in countries transitioning from dictatorships to democracy or emerging from wars. It’s a job posting for a new OTI posting in Venezuela and the job opening was listed on April 12th, more or less what turned out to be the day of the coup. (It doesn’t close until the 26th, so you can still actually get an application in if you’re interested.)
Among other things, the posting describes how …
Since his election as President of Venezuela in 1998, Hugo Chavez has demonstrated increasing disregard for democratic institutions and intolerance for dissent. He has been slowly hijacking the machinery of government and developing parallel non-democratic governance structures. Corruption, supposedly targeted for elimination by Chavez, is alleged to be rampant.
The USAID Office of Transition Initiatives will establish a flexible program to address the deteriorating democratic institutions in Venezuela. OTI’s program would be part of a comprehensive assistance program to shore up the democratic voices and institutions in Venezuela. The program will be managed by an OTI field representative reporting to the U.S. Ambassador in Venezuela and implemented through one of OTI’s contract or international organization intermediaries. OTI’s field representative will maintain close collaboration with other Embassy offices in identifying opportunities and selecting partners.
Now I don’t think this entertaining coincidence proves anything. But I do think it provides a pretty revealing window into the approach the US was taking to Venezuela during the lead-up to the coup.