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How GMO seeds and Monsanto/Bayer’s “RoundUp” are driving US policy in Venezuela

With Juan Guaidó’s parallel government attempting to take power with the backing of the U.S., it is telling that the top political donors of those in the U.S. most fervently pushing regime change in Venezuela have close ties to Monsanto and major financial stakes in Bayer.

by Whitney Webb

Part 4 - Why is a top to Marco Rubio increasing his stake in Bayer while others flee?

Yet, it is AEI’s top individual donor noted in the accidental “schedule of contributors” disclosure who is most telling about the private biotech interests guiding the Trump administration’s Venezuela policy. Paul Singer, the controversial billionaire hedge fund manager, has long been a major donor to neoconservative and Zionist causes — helping fund the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), the successor to the Project for a New American Century (PNAC); and the neoconservative and islamophobic Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), in addition to the AEI.

Singer is notably one of the top political donors to Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and has been intimately involved in the recent chaos in Venezuela. He has been called one of the architects of the administration’s current regime-change policy, and was the top donor to Rubio’s presidential campaign, as well as a key figure behind the controversial “dossier” on Donald Trump that was compiled by Fusion GPS. Indeed, Singer had been the first person to hire Fusion GPS to do “opposition research” on Trump. However, Singer has largely since evaded much scrutiny for his role in the dossier’s creation, likely because he became a key donor to Trump following his election win in 2016, giving $1 million to Trump’s inauguration fund.

Singer has a storied history in South America, though he has been relatively quiet about Venezuela. However, a long-time manager of Singer’s hedge fund, Jay Newman, recently told Bloomberg that a Guaidó-led government would recognize that foreign creditors “aren’t the enemy,” and hinted that Newman himself was weighing whether to join a growing “list of bond veterans [that have] already begun staking out positions, anticipating a $60 billion debt restructuring once the U.S.-backed Guaidó manages to oust President Nicolas Maduro and take control. In addition, the Washington Free Beacon, which is largely funded by Singer, has been a vocal advocate for the Trump administration’s regime-change policy in Venezuela.

Beyond that, Singer’s Elliott Management Corporation gave Roger Noriega, the former assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs under Bush, $60,000 in 2007 to lobby on the issue of sovereign debt and for “federal advocacy on behalf of U.S. investors in Latin America.During the time Noriega was on Singer’s payroll, he wrote articles linking Argentina and Venezuela to Iran’s nonexistent nuclear program. At the time, Singer was aggressively pursuing the government of Argentina in an effort to obtain more money from the country’s prior default on its sovereign debt.

While Singer has been mum himself on Venezuela, he has been making business decisions that have raised eyebrows, such as significantly increasing his stake in Bayer. This move seems at odds with Bayer’s financial troubles, a direct result of the slew of court cases regarding the link between Monsanto’s glyphosate and cancer. The first ruling that signaled trouble for Monsanto and its new parent company Bayer took place last August, but Singer increased his stake in the company starting last December, even though it was already clear by then that Bayer’s financial troubles in relation to the glyphosate court cases were only beginning.

Since the year began, Bayer’s problems with the Monsanto merger have only worsened, with Bayer’s CEO recently stating that the lawsuits had “massively affected” the company’s stock prices and financial performance.

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