Office of Transition Initiatives

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The Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) was created in 1994, but was really just the renaming of its predecessor the Office of Democratic Initiatives, which was created by USAID in 1984. The OTI maintains an important position in the US's 'democracy promoting' apparatus, sitting within USAID's Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance. USAID notes that:

"The USAID Office of Transition Initiatives supports U.S. foreign policy objectives by helping local partners advance peace and democracy in priority countries in crisis. Seizing critical windows of opportunity, OTI works on the ground to provide fast, flexible, short-term assistance targeted at key political transition and stabilization needs." [1]

See Summary of Program Activities (last updated March 2006) for the main countries they are working in, these include Iraq, Haiti and Sudan.

OTI in Venezuela

In 2005, Philip Agee described how the OTI operated to "promote democracy":

"In Venezuela the administration of George W. Bush is intervening in the political process with a combination of activities very similar to those the U.S. carried out in Nicaragua in the 1980s, but without a terrorist war on the scale of the Contras, and 'at least until mid-2005' without an economic embargo. These activities, with a 2005 budget approaching $10 million, masquerade as 'civic education', 'support for the electoral process,' and 'strengthening the democratic system.' In reality, all these programs, carried out almost silently, support the opposition against President Chavez and his coalition.
"The action agencies of this 'open support for democracy in Venezuela' are the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) with its four associated foundations. The largest amount of money, some $7 million in 2005, is channeled by AID's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) through a private contractor, Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), a consulting firm based in Bethesda, Maryland, next to Washington D.C. Additionally the CIA, as always, has its role in supplying secret funds and providing clandestine support." [2]

Washington Staff


Field Programs Division - Washington

Africa Team

Asia and the Near East

Latin America and Caribbean

Operations and Management Division

Program Office

Strategic Resources Team


U.S. Agency for International Development
Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance
Ronald Reagan Building, B3.06H
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20523-8602
Phone: 202-712-0730
Fax: 202-216-3406
E-mail: dchaoti AT

External links