US imperialism has moved aggressively to disrupt and reverse the progressive movements and governments that have emerged and developed throughout Latin America over the past two decades. It has at its disposal a wide range of weapons, from direct intervention to blockades to economic sabotage and beyond.
One of US imperialism’s more insidious tools is a wide range of funding organizations that pour money and other resources into political and social movements all over the world. The overarching objective is to maintain a pro-US discourse and orientation among foreign countries. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is among the most powerful of these instruments.
In Nicaragua, between 2014 and 2017 the NED granted $4.2 million to organizations that were opposed to the Sandinista government. This money arrived in the form of 55 different grants targeting media, research, youth, women, and indigenous people. The focus and objective is building coordinated and mobilized opposition to the government.
In Venezuela, NED has helped funnel $50 million annually to right-wing organizations and parties and candidates, in an ongoing effort to undermine and destabilize the democratically elected and popular government. This interference dates back to 1999, and has intensified.
The NED has carried on similar campaigns throughout Latin America, including against popular and progressive governments in Brazil and Bolivia.
NED was established by Ronald Reagan in 1983, and one of its key partner organizations was the Free Trade Union Institute. The FTUI, renamed the Solidarity Center in 1997, was a creation of the AFL-CIO with the purpose of increasing US influence among European trade unions. Since 1983, it has been the largest single grantee of NED funding. In fact, it was the FTUI that in 1985 funneled $1.5 million in NED funds to French trade unions opposed to the government of Francois Mitterand; the FTUI’s stated reason for this interference was that Mitterand was a socialist who included Communists in his cabinet.
Currently, the NED has two trade union officials on its board of directors, but the penetration of NED into the trade union leadership goes far beyond these two positions. The officers of FTUI/Solidarity Center include the most senior leaders of the AFL-CIO and its major affiliates, ensuring an ongoing and institutionalized channel of communication from NED into the labour movement in the US and Canada.
This cooptation of the working class and its organizations has continued for decades. Workers in Canada must recognize that their interests align with those whom its governments oppress around the world.
The Communist Party of Canada calls on Canadian workers, especially those in US-based trade unions to demand that their unions break their affiliation with NED and other agencies of imperialism.
Special resolution of the Central Committee, Communist Party of Canada, February 10th, 2019