FRIDAY the 13th means different things to different people the world over. To the superstitious, it’s a ‘Black Friday’ – a day to remain on edge and expect ‘bad luck’. To the Seventh Day Adventist, it’s the start of their weekly Sabbath. For Muslims, it’s their weekly day of prayer at the mosque. And for us in the Caribbean, it’s the date of the anniversary of the Grenada Revolution of 1979.
But just as the Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skeritt went to Grenada last Friday to deliver a major address on the role and place of the revolution in Caribbean history, we see and hear signs and signals from Washington that it could be readying to do to Venezuela what it did in Grenada: end a revolution to start its brand of regime change.
Interestingly, just as Washington claims to be getting ready to ‘normalize’ relations with Havana, just as President Barack Obama is saying he wants to bring Cuba into the American fold, Obama is, at the same time, threatening to reverse the progressive and revolutionary process that has been unfolding in Venezuela since the start of this century.
President Nicolas Maduro is continuing along the same path set by his predecessor Hugo Chavez: pursuit of a Venezuelan brand of socialism that will not be dictated by Washington, but by the needs of Venezuela. But where the Americans thought Maduro would have changed from Chavez’s path, the current Venezuelan president has turned out to be no less committed to Venezuela’s national sovereignty than the man who chose him as his successor.
But why should Washington so want to see regime change in Caracas? What does America have to gain by getting rid of Maduro and erasing the Chavez legacy? Answer: It’s all about oil.
A little known (and much suppressed) fact is that Venezuela has the largest certified reserves of oil underground – more than Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, American oil is running out — and with world oil prices too high to maintain, America wants to change the global energy game.
By extracting shale gas through a still-uncertain process called ‘fracking’, America has been moving with much pace to replace oil with natural gas. That way, instead of depending on the Middle East for fuel, the rest of the world will come knocking on America’s door for ‘natural gas’.
Same with the Caribbean: Washington wants to stop CARICOM states from getting too accustomed to receiving oil from Venezuela, so US Vice President Joe Biden invited CARICOM leaders to Washington to lecture them about how bad Venezuela’s PetroCaribe fuel is — and how much better American “shale” gas can be for the Caribbean.
With Venezuela having delivered — on easy credit terms — over US$200 billion worth of PetroCaribe oil to Latin America and the Caribbean so far, Washington is now telling CARICOM and OECS leaders they should be scared of what will happen if there is regime change in Venezuela.
In other words, while supporting the opposition in Venezuela to get rid of Maduro and the Chavez legacy, Washington is urging CARICOM and the OECS to break with PetroCaribe and embrace the ‘fracking’ US natural ‘shale’ gas.
But it is what President Obama has said and done most recently that should be cause for alarm here and everywhere else. The US President has categorized Venezuela as ‘a national security threat to the USA’ and has started applying hostile tactics and policies towards Venezuela.
All the Latin American and Caribbean governments in PetroCaribe and ALBA, in CELAC and MERCUSUR have signalled their support for Venezuela. Even the European Union says it will not be going the American route on Venezuela.
OECS and CARICOM governments in PetroCaribe and ALBA (all six OECS member-states are now members) have also expressed their support for PetroCaribe and for the launching of the new PetroCaribe Economic Zone launched last weekend in Venezuela.
The small and weak Caribbean states that have been benefiting from PetroCaribe have not been as loud in their condemnation of Washington’s latest anti-Venezuela as they would probably like to. But we know too well the true value of PetroCaribe and ALBA to the benefitting populations in the OECS and CARICOM.
Saint Lucia has not bought one cent of Petrocaribe oil from Venezuela and we don’t owe Caracas one cent for one fluid ounce or dry litre of any type of fuel. But see what we’ve already got from just being members of PetroCaribe and ALBA: 7,000 free laptop computers for students, teachers and principals at all qualifying secondary schools across the island, $27 million to ensure the National Initiative to Create Employment (NICE) keeps employing unskilled people around the island and $6.29 million to build three new ALBA bridges.
But it’s not only for what we can get from Venezuela that we in the OECS and CARICOM must support Venezuela against attacks by Washington – or indeed any other country.
We must support Venezuela because it is a sovereign and independent country with a government that has been elected in free and fair elections. Chavez won every election he contested and Maduro was elected President in free and fair elections after Chavez died two years ago.
With Washington showing all the signs of being ready to take advantage of any excuse it can get to invade Venezuela, or to support any type of overthrow of the present Venezuelan President and his socialist government, CARICOM and the OECS have to be very careful about being set up to be the horses on which American troops can ride into Venezuela to trample on and wipe out the Chavez legacy away.
The OECS governments gave President Ronald Reagan that free ride into Grenada in 1983, so Washington may have been dreaming of a repeat. It is for the OECS and CARICOM today, under stronger collective leadership, to either send an early signal or get ready from now to say a loud ‘No!’ if and when Washington requests any type of support, political or otherwise, to reverse the Chavez legacy in Venezuela or to turn our backs on President Nicolas Maduro.
On this the 36th anniversary of the Grenada Revolution, I therefore appeal to all OECS and CARICOM governments – especially the current Director General of the OECS Dr Didacus Jules – to ensure that they play absolutely no role at all in any attempt by Washington to overthrow or support the overthrow of the present Venezuelan government, or to pressure the OECS and CARICOM member-states to pull out of PetroCaribe or ALBA.
Venezuela is a Caribbean state, a sister Caribbean territory that has been better to the Caribbean in the past ten years than the USA has been by way of aid, assistance and cooperation.
Our Caribbean brothers and sisters in Venezuela have been good to us, so let’s be good to them too — and let’s be there for them too in time of need.
Bravo! I salute this fine piece of honest, independent journalism!
It is in stark relief to the articles and opinions that have stunk to high heaven, in appeasement to the bully (yes, I am looking at you: Saunders & Bishop)!
Yes as a small nation we can be with our heart with Venezuela and show (some form of) sympathy …. but looking on the bigger picture we depending on tourism from USA as it is one of our major visitor supplier.
If we turn our head away from USA politics the media in USA will just start negative reporting about our island and US tourists will stay away. And this means losses of employments and hotel closures.
Facts are we depending economically on tourism,therefore our breadline would be at stake. Why do we not executing the death penalty? Why is to be gay now so popular? It is exact the same reason not to loose Visitors.
Are we free ?
Your unabashed slave mentality shouts out loud about the hard slog St. Lucians face to un-yoke their livelihoods from the clutches of Massa Uncle Sam!
la mer belle naviger !! that is wat we can say to the states.the sea is wide keep sailing
We all know what that means right ?? At least the older generation does know the meaning.
We can sit back and what the action.What will the sea do??????
Do you know what this means?
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak for me.”
I don’t know where you get your facts from but the Venezuela I know is the one that seizes foreign currency from its residents in order to boost national reserves and brokers deals with Iran and Argentina for cross-hemispheric oil control and the transfer of drugs and money. Free and fair elections you say?? Venezuela is quickly becoming autocratic much like Cuba and Russia. The rhetoric employed by the U.S. is always used in these situations, however that does not give them the right to intervene. But to say that we should side with Venezuela will only make matters worse. Neutrality is the best course of action.
Too Much Misinformation,
How eponymous of you to chime in!
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” Matt 6:24
But Kenny Anthony is trying to prove the above wrong by lying in bed with the Venezuelan government: flying back to St.Lucia on government private plane; accepting their laptops, and is a key member of ALBA and PetroCaribe. And we are also in bed with the American government: luring their tourists to our shores; awaiting those barrels and remittances from love ones living over there…….we just can’t have it both ways.
Your Lucian mendicant mentality showed up strong in your comments!
Answer this: Which country’s president (Maduro or Obama) treats St. Lucia with more respect? The one who provides help and expects nothing in return, or the one who wants St. Lucia to waive its sovereignty to his neocon wet dream of world domination by dint of force?
You have a problem with: Silent-Joe, Hulla, Too Much Misinformation, and Citizen Kane; infact, you seem to have a problem with everyone who doesn’t share your Anti-American sentiments. You are an ass for not seeing that the United States is worth more to St.Lucia than ten Venezuelas combined.
But then again, party operatives like yourself rather think with his butt than with his head.
Hey!!! wrote, “…you seem to have a problem with everyone who doesn’t share your Anti-American sentiments. You are an ass for not seeing that the United States is worth more to St.Lucia than ten Venezuelas combined.”
I don’t have a problem with personalities – I comment on what is not truthful, and offer proof to support.
If you are so certain about the US being worth more than 10 Venezuelas to us, don’t hide this light under a bushel; prove it to us!
Then, you, having no leg to stand on, wrote, “party operatives like yourself rather think with his butt than with his head.” Since you do not know me, it is therefore logical that you are trying to project your own attributes (which you alone know) onto me.
Try again, with some facts, this time!
on the economical facts:
the ministry of tourism might be the address for you to find out figures of US tourists over the years and the financial impact of this for the country. you can compare then for yourself.