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Venezuela light on Cambodia?

The English newspaper The Independent recently reported that the United States

was involved in funding Venezuelan opposition political groups, including those

involved in the coup that briefly overthrew President Hugo Chavez two years

ago.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed that

the US gave more than $1 million to the opposition in 2002.

The money

came from the National Endowment for Democracy, which is entirely funded by the

US government. The NED, which was also recently involved in funding the

overthrow of Haiti's president, distributed the money through three

organizations whose name will be familiar to many Cambodians: the International

Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International

Affairs, and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity.

Does

this raise questions about what these organizations are doing in Cambodia? Of

course not! We have their word for it that they are simply building support for

democracy. And they're consistent: that's what they said they were doing in

Venezuela.

Allen Myers - Phnom Penh

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