By COHA Senior Research Fellow Nikolas Kozloff on February 28, 2008
In the event that John McCain is elected president, the stage soon could be set for a confrontation with the present Dominica leadership if it continues to follow an independent road regarding its relation with Hugo Chávez’ Venezuela, the vehicle for this could be his ties to a relatively obscure body based in Washington. The Arizona Senator has chaired the International Republican Institute (IRI) since 1993. Ostensibly a non-partisan, democracy-building outfit, in reality the IRI serves as an instrument to advance and promote a far right Republican foreign policy agenda. More a cloak-and-dagger operation than a conventional research group, IRI has aligned itself with some of the most antidemocratic movements in the Third World.
In Haiti, IRI aggressively funded anti-Aristide groups and in Venezuela, IRI generously financed anti-Chávez civil society operations. When Venezuelan opposition politicians, union and
community leaders went to Washington on a private mission to meet with U.S. officials just a month before the April 2002 coup, IRI picked up the bill. The IRI also helped to fund the country’s notoriously corrupt Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (which played a major role in the anti-Chávez destabilization campaign leading up to the coup). IRI also arranged for Súmate, whose director just happened to be at the presidential palace in Caracas with the other backers of the coup, where she decided to sign her name to a document identifying her presence with the other golpistas.