On April 30, 2019, Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, published a summary with selected quotations of a purported TOP SECRET U.S. plan to overthrow the Venezuelan government issued by the U.S. Southern Command. According to Granma, this plan outlines “[s]teps to speed up the definite overthrow of Chavismo and the expulsion of its representatives.” According to Granma, this “plan” has the following sections: Parts I, II and III and Media Plan, which are set forth below.
This “plan” may have been overtaken by this week’s apparent failure of the attempt by Venezuelan leader Juan Guaidó to oust Maduro from power, which will be discussed in a future post.
“Part I of the Plan”
Part I of this plan, according to Granma, was “implemented before the Venezuelan elections last year, but did not succeed in overthrowing Maduro. It contains the following:
– “Increase internal instability to a critical level, by ‘intensifying the undercapitalization of the country, the leaking out of foreign currency and the deterioration of its monetary base, bringing about the application of new inflationary measures.’”
– “The document suggests exacerbating divisions between members of the government, emphasizing the difference between the population’s living conditions and those of their leaders, and making sure that these are exaggerated.”
– “Fully obstruct imports, and at the same time discouraging potential foreign investors in order to make the situation more critical for the population.”
– “Appeal ‘to domestic allies as well as other people inserted from abroad in the national scenario in order to generate protests, riots and insecurity, plunders, thefts, assaults and highjacking of vessels as well as other means of transportation with the intention of deserting the country in crisis through all borderlands and other possible ways, jeopardizing in such a way the National Security of neighboring frontier nations.’”
– “The plan emphasizes the importance of ‘causing victims’ and ‘holding the Venezuelan government responsible.’”
– “Promote internationally the idea that the country is facing a humanitarian crisis.”
-“ Spread lies about extensive government corruption.”
– “Link the government to drug trafficking to discredit the Maduro administration before the world and among Venezuelan supporters.”
-“ Promote ‘fatigue inside the members of the PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela), inciting annoyance and . . . [disunity?]among themselves, for them to break noisily from the government.’”
-:Design a plan to incite ‘the profuse desertion of the most qualified professionals from the country, to leave it with no professionals at all, which will aggravate even more the internal situation, and along these lines, putting the blame on the government.’”
“Part II of the Plan”
-“’Encourage dissatisfaction with the Maduro regime.’”
– “Highlight ‘the incompetence of mechanisms of integration created by the regimes of Cuba and Venezuela, especially the ALBA and PETROCARIBE, in order to tackle the situation of the country and its inability to find solutions to the problems that citizens are facing.’”
– “One section of the document is entitled: ‘Using the army officers as an alternative of definite solution.’”
– Continue preparing “conditions inside the Armed Forces to carry out a coup d’état before the end of 2018, if the crisis does not make the dictatorship collapse, or the dictator does not decide to move aside.’”
– “Continue ‘setting fire to the common frontier with Colombia, multiplying the traffic of fuel and other goods. The movement of paramilitaries, armed raids, and drug trafficking. Provoking armed incidents with the Venezuelan frontier security forces.’”
– “Recruit ‘paramilitaries, mainly in the campsites of refugees in . . . [three areas of Colombia], areas largely populated by Colombian citizens who emigrated to Venezuela and have returned.’”
“Part III of the Plan”
– “Prepare ‘involvement of allied forces in support of Venezuelan Army officers, or to control the internal crisis.’”
– “Establish ‘a speedy timeline that prevents the Dictator [Maduro] … winning control of the internal scenario.’”
– “Obtain support and cooperation from ‘friendly countries (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Panama, Guyana).’”
– “Organize ‘provisioning, relief of troops, medical and logistical support from Panama.’”
– “Make ‘good use’ of electronic surveillance and intelligence signals; of hospitals and equipment deployed in Darién (Panamanian jungle), Plan Colombia’s drone equipment, as well as the ‘landing fields’ at the former Howard and Albroock military bases in Panama; as well as those of Río Hato; and the United Nations Humanitarian Regional Center, designed for catastrophe situations and humanitarian emergencies, which has ‘an aerial landing field and its own warehouses.’”
– “Propose ‘moving on the basification of combat airplanes and choppers, armored conveyances, intelligence positions, and special military and logistics units, police, military district attorneys, and prisons.’”
– “Develop ‘the military operation under international flag, patronized by the Conference of American Armies, under the protection of the OAS, and the supervision, in the legal and media context of [OAS] General Secretary Luis Almagro.’”
– “Declare the ‘necessity of the continental command be strengthened to act, using the instrument of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, in order to avoid the democratic rupture.’”
– “’Binding Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Panama to contribute greater numbers of troops, to make use of their geographic proximity and experience in forest regions.’”
– “Strengthen the ‘international’ nature of the operation ‘with presence of combat units from the United States and the other named countries, under the command of a Joint General Staff led by the USA.’”
– “Promote ‘international participation in this effort, as part of a multilateral operation with contributions from States, Non-profit Organizations, and international bodies. Supplying the adequate logistic, intelligence, surveillance, and control support,’ anticipating as key geographical points . . .[six towns] in Colombia, and . . . [three] in Brazil.”
“’Create within the country, via local and international media, the dissemination of messages designed and based on testimony and publications originating in the country, making use of all possible capacity, including social media.’”
– “’Justifying and assuring through violent means the international backup to the deposing of the dictatorship, displaying an extensive dissemination, inside the country and to the entire world, through all open means and the capacities of the psychological war of the U.S. Army.’”
– “Back up and ‘strengthen’ the image of the OAS, as a multilateral institution to resolve regional problems.”
– “Promote ’the request of a dispatch of a UNO military force for the imposition of peace, once Nicolas Maduro’s corrupt dictatorship is defeated.’”
The Granma article says this purported plan was revealed [discovered? pilfered?] by Argentine intellectual Stella Calloni. A simple Google search of her name revealed that she is an 84-year-old Argentine journalist who specializes in Latin American international politics.
That same Google search discovered that on May 17, 2018, Calloni did publish an article about this purported TOP SECRET U.S. document on Voltaire.net.org.
That article by Calloni in turn cited to a publication on that same website of what appears to be an actual copy of a TOP SECRET U.S. document of that title and that date and authored by Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, Commander, U.S. Southern Command.
The U.S. Southern Command, which is located in Doral, Florida,, is one of ten Unified Combatant Commands (CCMDs) in the United States Department of Defense. It is responsible for providing contingency planning, operations, and security cooperation for Central and South America, the Caribbean (except U.S. commonwealths, territories, and possessions), their territorial waters, and for the force protection of U.S. military resources at these locations. USSOUTHCOM is also responsible for ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal and the canal area. According to Its stated mission, it “deters aggression, defeats threats, rapidly responds to crises, and builds regional capacity, working with our allies, partner nations, and U.S. government (USG) team members to enhance security and defend the U.S. homeland and our national interests.”
Admiral Kurt W. Tidd was the Commander of the Southern Command in May 2018 until he retired on November 26, 2018; the current Commander is Admiral Craig L. Faller. 
Although the Granma article purports to summarize an actual “TOP SECRET” document, there is no indication in this article or those by Calloni that this “plan” was actually adopted or approved by higher U.S. officials. And, as noted at the start of this post, this apparent “plan” may have been superseded by this week’s apparent failure of an attempt by Venezuelan leader Juan Guaidó to oust Maduro from power, which will be discussed in a future post.
This blog has not compared, line-by-line, Granma’s English translation of the Plan with the apparent English-language original, but Granma’s version does track the apparent original. Nor has this blog attempted to determine whether there was any action on this apparent plan by higher officials in the Department of Defense or other agencies of the U.S. government.
Thus, this purported or apparent U.S. document raises, but does not resolve, disturbing issues.
 Calloni, The United States “Master Stroke” against Venezuela, Voltaire.net.org (May 17, 2018). The Hong Kong-based Voltaire website says it was founded by French intellectual Thierry Meyssan as a “web of non-aligned press groups dedicated to the analysis of international relations . . . from diversified political, social and cultural backgrounds . . . and does not aim to promote a particular ideology or a world vision, but to hone the critical thinking of its readers . . . [and place] reflection before belief and arguments before convictions.”
 Tidd, TOP SECRET: Plan to overthrow the Venezuelan Dictatorship—“Masterstroke,” Voltaire.net.org (Feb, 23, 2018).
 U.S. Defense Dep’t, Admiral Kurt W. Tidd; Kurt W. Tidd, Wikipedia; Inter-American Defense Board, Retirement Ceremony for Admiral Kurt W.Tidd and USSOUTHCOM Change of Command Ceremony (Nov. 29, 2018).