Plan follows precedent of 1970s state-sponsored assassination campaign targeting leftists.
Operation Condor was a U.S.-directed secret intelligence program in the 1970s and early ’80s in six South American U.S.-backed dictatorships—Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay—that resulted in the torture and “disappearance” of thousands of people.
The victims included dissidents and leftists, union and peasant leaders, priests and nuns, students and teachers, intellectuals and suspected guerrillas.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has recently suggested that the 2019 coup directed against him is part of a new U.S. Plan Condor—whose aim is to rollback the renewed left-wing ascendancy in South America.
In a speech in early July, Morales stated:
“The sending of war materials by the former presidents of Ecuador (Moreno), and Argentina (Macri), and the letter of thanks from General Terceros are further evidence that, together with the assassination of the President of Haiti, by former Colombian military personnel, show the execution of a second Condor Plan under U.S. direction.
We alert the Latin America social movements about #PlanCóndor2 and the need to strengthen the struggle for peace with social justice and democracy to preserve the sovereignty and independence of our States and the dignity of the people.
In the face of the Bolivian right wing and its U.S.-paid media that lie and do not show a single piece of evidence of the alleged fraud [2019 elections], more evidence continues to appear about those who participated in the 2019 coup d’état and the support given by anti-popular governments with war material and money.
We reaffirm that #PlanCóndor2 is under way and we must agree on measures so that the right-wing governments of Latin America do not continue to participate in coups d’état under the leadership of the United States, causing mourning and pain to our peoples.
We warn the people, militants, sympathizers, patriotic military and professionals committed to their country: We are in the sights of the U.S. because we recovered our natural resources, nationalized strategic companies and closed the military base in Chimoré. They do not forgive us.”
Cuba—On the New Condor Hit List
That the new Operation Condor represents an extension of the old one is evident in Washington’s continued subversion efforts directed against Cuba, a country that has defied U.S. imperial designs since the 1959 Cuban revolution.
As CAM reported, on June 23 of this year 184 countries of the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba. It was the 29th consecutive year where virtually all countries, except the U.S. and Israel, made this demand.
In recent years, the Cuban media have denounced the millions of dollars of U.S. funding, through organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), to create and fund opposition media and the organization of youth.
The NED programs are an adjunct of the new Condor operation, whose goal is regime change of left-wing governments.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez on July 11 rejected the smear campaigns of the U.S. media hegemony in the midst of the Covid pandemic with the intensification of the illegal economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the United States.
“In a subtle, cowardly and opportunistic manner, those who have maintained the blockade and those who have been used as mercenaries and lackeys of the empire, appear with humanitarian doctrines to strengthen the criterion that the Cuban government is not capable of dealing with this situation; if they are worried about the people of Cuba, they need to end the blockade,” said the Cuban president.
The U.S. is intensifying the blockade hoping to cause an internal implosion. “They want to suffocate us and try to put an end to the Revolution … I am giving this information to ratify that the streets belong to the Revolution; that the party and the Government have all the disposition to debate and help,” said President Díaz-Canel.
The President called on the base of the Revolution to go into the streets to face the provocations of manipulators who promote protests and support illegal sanctions against their own country; “we know that there are revolutionary masses facing small anti-revolutionary groups, we are not going to let any mercenary of the U.S. empire provoke destabilization,” he added.
The head of state emphasized that the provocations of small groups intend to create a scenario so that the U.S. can justify an invasion. “In the second half of 2019 we explained to our people that we were going through a difficult juncture, from the signs that the U.S. was giving against Cuba,” he recalled.
“The financial, economic, commercial and energy persecution increased, they [Washington] want to provoke internal social problems in Cuba in order to call for humanitarian missions that translate into military invasions and interference,” denounced President Díaz-Canel. The president recalled that Cuba was included in the infamous list as sponsors of terrorism, “a unilateral list; they believe they are emperors of the world,” he added.
Peru—from Old Condor to New: Viva Fujimori!
According to historian J. Patrice McSherry, Peru was one of the target countries for the original Operation Condor. In June 1980, Peruvian President General Enrique Morales Bermudez (1975-1980) collaborated with Argentine security forces in hunting down Argentine leftists in Peru who were tortured and “disappeared.”
The U.S. later provided security assistance to help Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) destroy the left-wing Sendero Luminoso guerrilla movement.
Fast forward two decades, and Washington appears to be pulling out all the stops under the new Condor to try to orchestrate a coup designed to empower Alberto’s daughter, Keiko—who like her father, would advance policies that favor Peru’s wealthy classes and transnational corporations.
As CAM reported, in the June 6 elections, Pedro Castillo, a teacher and candidate of the Free Peru Party, won the elections in the second round. But Fujimori—who is facing a long jail sentence on corruption charges—refused to concede. With 100% of the votes counted Castillo won 50.127% of the vote (8.84 million votes), beating Fujimori of the Fuerza Popular Party, who received 49.873% (8.79 million votes).
The U.S. and the Peruvian oligarchy as well as Fujimori and her army of lawyers are using the model of an electoral coup to try to keep Castillo from the presidency. He is calling for a constituent assembly and appears to favor far-reaching reforms that would improve the lives of the impoverished majority and diminish the power of the country’s elites as well as corporations.
Just six weeks before the election the U.S. sent a new ambassador to Peru, Lisa Kenna. Kenna was an adviser to former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a nine-year veteran at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and a U.S. State Department official in Iraq.
What dirty tricks she may be trying to help pull remains uncertain, but if Morales is correct about the new Condor, she is definitely someone who is supporting it.
Haiti: An Assassination by Proxy
On June 30, just a week before the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, William J. Burns, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, arrived in Colombia to participate in a “sensitive” security mission.
The Colombian ambassador in Washington, Francisco Santos, reported on the CIA director’s trip to Colombia, but said he did not want to give further details about Director Burns’s visit to Bogota: “I prefer not to tell you, it is a delicate mission, an important intelligence mission that we were able to coordinate,” responded Santos when questioned about the mission.
The U.S. has seven military bases in Colombia and a history of support for the narcotics-dealing paramilitary forces that are the political base of right-wing President Iván Duque and his sinister narco-terror implicated mentor, former president Álvaro Uribe.
So, it makes sense that Colombians may well have been part of the commando group that killed President Moïse. There has been a lot of disinformation given about the assassination to try to confuse people, but it is not difficult to surmise which country is most likely behind the killing.
Moïse to be sure was no progressive. He was groomed by the corrupt former president Michel Martelly, a close ally of the Clintons, and received only 11 percent of the vote in 2016.
In a March interview, former U.S. ambassador to Haiti Pamela White talked about a plan to “put aside” President Moïse, leaving power in the hands of an interim Prime Minister. All this to avoid democratic elections which the population have been calling for since early 2020.
How do you “put aside” a president? The U.S. government has a long record of assassinating presidents and leaders or supporting coups to overthrow elected governments, as it did in 2004 to remove President Jean-Bertrand Aristide who had wide support among Haiti’s poor.
In 2020 when Moïse should have stepped down and when the most popular party, Fanmi Lavalas, was calling for elections, the U.S. backed him staying in power.
Polls show that the progressive party Lavalas is very popular and, if the U.S. were to allow fair elections, they would very likely win. Whoever murdered President Moïse and for whatever immediate reason, the principal medium-term result is continued chaos for Haiti’s people, including possibly another military intervention, putting a stable political settlement further out of reach than ever.
The above photo shows the men the Haitian Police accuse of being “specialized commandos” who allegedly executed the president. The photo shows the weapons these men were caught with. There are no heavy weapons, only old weapons and only enough for about half of these men. They were found with only two walkie talkies and not a single bullet proof vest.
There is nothing about this group to indicate any kind of “specialized commandos” and very unlikely that such a ragtag group could have gotten past the President’s ten body-guards without resistance.
There has been no presentation of what was found on security cameras—neither from the President’s home nor from any neighboring homes. And now the police are saying that a progressive Haitian doctor who lives in the U.S. and has had pretensions of running for president in the past was the mastermind. This scenario being pushed by the Haitian Police wreaks of a cover-up—as had occurred with many of the assassinations in the original Operation Condor.
In Nicaragua, U.S. policies under the new Condor show great continuity from the era of the 1980s Contra War.
In 2018, with careful direction and millions of dollars from U.S. agencies and foundations, a coup was attempted against Nicaragua’s government—headed by the original Sandinista revolutionary leader, Daniel Ortega, who had won the 2016 elections with over 72% of the vote.
The failed coup attempt left more than 260 people dead, including 24 police.
Along with executions, hundreds of Sandinista supporters and government workers were kidnapped and tortured. With destruction of government and private buildings, vehicles and equipment, loss of 130,000 jobs and business closures, Finance Minister Ivan Acosta calculates the cost to the economy of more than a billion dollars—more than the combined losses caused by the Covid pandemic and the two devastating hurricanes of November 2020.
A new destabilization plan called RAIN, Responsive Action in Nicaragua, managed and financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was leaked from the U.S. embassy in July 2020. Many more millions have been given by the U.S. to its agents and proxy organizations in Nicaragua to carry out RAIN’s operational program which openly calls for an unconstitutional “transition” and for promoting “transition-related activities.”
These activities violate Nicaragua’s Constitution, the country’s 2007 criminal code, national security legislation and money laundering laws in compliance with international standards, as well as the law relating to non-profit organizations.
The current U.S. administration under Joe Biden has maintained President Trump’s designation of Nicaragua as an “extraordinary and unusual threat to the U.S. national security and foreign policy.” This means that Nicaraguans accepting money from the U.S. government and participating in U.S. programs to promote a “democratic transition” are actively collaborating with a hostile foreign power.
Since June of this year more than 20 Nicaraguans involved in these unlawful and potentially treasonous activities have come under investigation.
The offenses they are accused of committing involve not only possible treason for organizing, financing and participating in a coup d’état, requesting foreign economic and even military aggression, and promoting coercive measures against the government and individual citizens.
Additionally, some are under investigation for money laundering, financial fraud relating to abuse of non-profits, and the law on registration and financial reporting as foreign agents, similar to the U.S. FARA legislation. Moreover, among the detained are people who, by engaging in this broad range of law breaking, violated the terms of the Amnesty Law from which they benefited in 2019.
Venezuela—Trying to Destroy the Lifeblood of the Bolivarian Revolution
Nicaragua had been designated by the Trump administration as part of a “troika of tyranny” along with Cuba and Venezuela.
Venezuela’s socialist president Nicolás Maduro, on July 12 at a dialogue with National Assembly lawmakers, denounced two assassination attempts against his life in just the preceding two weeks. Maduro stated: “They had prepared an attack against me on June 24 in the bicentennial of Carabobo this year. Another attack with drones, we dispelled it, we knocked it down, we neutralized it. First time I say it, because the investigation is still ongoing until we get to the person behind everything.
They had prepared [yet another] a desperate attack against me on July 5 in the middle of the parade …” referring to the July 5th Independence Day civic-military parade.
All of these attacks—and other assassination attempts directed against Maduro—fit under the rubric of the new Operation Condor disclosed by Morales.
Venezuela is a key target because it is led by a socialist government that since the 1998 election of Hugo Chávez has been committed to Pan-American solidarity and the integration of Latin American economies so that they can develop independently and rid themselves of Yankee exploitation.
In May 2020, a large group of U.S.-funded terrorists, including two U.S. citizens, after training in Colombia, entered Venezuela by boat, hoping to kidnap or assassinate President Maduro. Their presence was quickly reported by local fishing workers and the group was intercepted by the Venezuelan authorities.
U.S. Southern Command has long openly proposed plans and advocated measures to facilitate the overthrow of Venezuela’s elected government.
Recently, President Maduro denounced the U.S. Southern Command and the Central Intelligence Agency for designing plans to attack Venezuela from Colombian territory. Maduro accused the CIA of planning to assassinate him. He alerted the Venezuelan people and urged them to be prepared “to respond forcefully to any destabilization plan in perfect civil-military union.”
Maduro’s statement comes in relation to the arrival in Colombia of the commander of the Southern Command, Admiral Craig Faller, and the director of the CIA, William Burns, whose visit, as the Colombian ambassador to the U.S. explained, was a “delicate mission,” taking place right before criminal attacks in Haiti and Venezuela.
President Maduro noted, “We have received Information … they are behind plans to continue threatening and attacking peace and democracy, the institutions and the leadership of our country.”
The Venezuelan government’s warnings about the continuing conspiracies, violence and preparation of mercenary groups in Colombia to attack Venezuela were borne out recently by attacks in Venezuela’s capital. Various criminal gangs staged attacks in different parts of Caracas including one on an important police center.
The attacks were clearly coordinated to create a climate of fear and uncertainty during a visit by a European Union delegation to assess the possibility of EU observers monitoring the important elections scheduled for later this year.
The Venezuelan security forces took action to control the areas under attack and dismantled the criminal gangs responsible.
Their actions in turn signify a key difference from the 1970s—notably that Latin American countries are stronger and better able to defend themselves from U.S.-backed subversion and terrorism.
Evo Morales among others has made clear that the U.S. elites and their regional allies are desperate to impose a new Plan Condor in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Historically, the U.S. has always sought to suppress regional emancipation in the form of progressive movements and governments. But in a global context, they now also fear the growth of the region’s economic links with Asia, especially China.
Despite their enormous political influence, economic power and military presence, the U.S. and its allies face a losing battle, just as Spain did 200 years ago.
One model of U.S. and allied control is the kind of anti-democratic intervention developed in Haiti and Honduras by the U.S., Canada and Western Europe. This model ensures a neutered, corrupt central government and neocolonial rule via international agencies and Western NGOs.
But the collapse of Haiti and Honduras into neocolonial subjugation is still mostly an exception in the region. Apart from Haiti, the other Caribbean nations have proven to be very resilient against U.S. pressure, consistently blocking moves against Venezuela by the U.S. and Canada in the Organization of American States (OAS), for example.
Also Nicaragua’s decisive 2012 legal victory regaining over 90,000 square kilometers of Caribbean maritime territory, usurped by Colombia for decades, has meant that Nicaragua has joined Cuba and like-minded progressive Caribbean island nations in regional bodies, reinforcing the presence of revolutionary influence in those forums.
In practice, that means promotion of development policies focused on people rather than on corporate profits.
From Mexico and the Caribbean to Chile and Argentina, despite the aggressive offensive against Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, it is the right-wing allies of the U.S. that are in crisis, precisely because the mean, bitter, sterile Western vision of capitalist development condemns people to misery and despair.
So, it is no surprise that widespread popular protests have arisen with varying levels of intensity in Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay and Brazil. Guillermo Lasso’s right-wing government in Ecuador will soon face the inevitable consequences of implementing repressive neoliberal economic measures.
While the U.S. and its allies managed to destabilize Argentina thanks to its elites looting the country under Mauricio Macri and taking on debilitating foreign debt, the country’s foreign policy remains an important force for progressive regional integration against U.S. wishes. The same is true of Mexico.
Despite economic, diplomatic and military power, the intense, well-coordinated U.S. and allied efforts to destabilize Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua and the region generally are failing. China’s influence is growing as that of the U.S. declines.
Haiti and Honduras may for now have become tragic showcases of what the U.S. and its allies want to impose on Latin America and the Caribbean but Bolivia’s heroic people showed that even a successful right-wing coup can be reversed.
The current U.S.-led Plan Condor may not be the Monroe Doctrine’s swan song in Latin America. But the writing is on the wall for anyone who cares to see.
Ortega was the leader of the 1979 socialist Sandinista revolution that overthrew the U.S. backed Somoza dictatorship, which had ruled Nicaragua since the U.S. Marine occupation of the 1920s and early 1930s. Anastaio who was head of the U.S.-trained National Guard, murdered the Nicaraguan patriot Augusto Cesar Sandino whose name the Sandinistas took. The Reagan administration organized counter-revolutionary attacks on Nicaragua from bases in Miami which the Sandinistas repelled. Ortega served as president of Nicaragua from 1979-1990, and from 2007 until today. ↑
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About the Author
Nan McCurdy worked for the United Methodist Church of the U.S., currently in the state of Puebla, Mexico.
She lived in Nicaragua more than thirty years. Nan can be reached at email@example.com.
Nora McCurdy is Nicaraguan.
She is an independent investigator.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.