The Solidarity Center office in Bogotá has received an unusually large two-year grant of $3 million for its operations in the Andean Region. The scope and dimensions of the grant are not fully known, nor the exact programs to which it will be applied. However, given the history of the Bogotá office and the Solidarity Center’s Andean representatives, observers expect the grant to have major implications for the countries of Colombia and Venezuela, where the office’s work is usually concentrated. The Andean region also covers Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. The Solidarity Center has offices both in Colombia and Peru.
The grant comes from USAID (the United States Agency for International Development). The office receives notice of this funding at the same time that three key developments are underway–in Venezuela, the coming October elections, and in Colombia, the implementation of the new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US, coinciding with a massive popular mobilization to demand a political solution to the armed and social conflict. Little information is available concerning the details of the grant. Because of the documented history of the AFL-CIO intervention in Venezuela through its Solidarity Center, activists must analyze past history and current circumstances in order to be able to discuss intelligently what we may anticipate from these augmented activities.