The recognition of Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's interim president by the U.S. and many Latin American and European nations is an overt move to remove Nicolas Maduro from power. But U.S. efforts at regime change in Caracas were not always so apparent.
The government of Hugo Chavez repeatedly accused the Bush administration of supporting the failed coup against it in 2002. In 2005, I wrote a piece for the Christian Science Monitor on funding given to Venezuelan groups by a little-known and opaque branch of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) called the Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI).
"The [Bush] administration's nation-building mission includes trying to weaken or challenge the Chávez administration," Riordan Roett, director of Latin American studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, said at the time. "OTI is really at the front line of what the administration thinks of Venezuela."
You can read the entire piece here: Democracy's 'special forces' face heat
JENS ERIK GOULD
Jens Erik Gould is a political, business and entertainment writer and editor who has reported from a dozen countries for media outlets including The New York Times, National Public Radio and Bloomberg News.