Letters & Opinion

End of the Line for fence-sitters? CARICOM to Take a Final Stand on Washington’s End Game for Venezuela

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Chronicles Of A Chronic Caribbean Chronicler By Earl Bousquet

“Like in Grenada and Iraq, Washington will offer smoking guns that will most likely result in billows of clouds over Venezuela. It will therefore be well for CARICOM leaders to individually learn from recent lessons in world history about the rate-of-delivery on promises by Washington to secure neighbourly support for its external adventures in different parts of the world.”

It’s been long in coming, but the die is finally cast and CARICOM nations will now soon  have to make their individual positions clear on where they stand in relation to external imposition of undemocratic regime change on Venezuela.

April is always a hot month in the Bolivarian Republic, every year featuring increasingly violent actions by the always-externally-backed political opposition in their continuing bid to unseat the elected Nicolas Maduro administration and overthrow the legacy of the Bolivarian Socialist Revolution proclaimed by Hugo Chavez in 1998.

This year, following four weeks of diplomatic isolation, economic strangulation and sabotage of electricity and water installations across Venezuela, the US and self-imposed ‘Interim President’ Juan Guaido simultaneously announced the launch of ‘Operation Freedom’ — a call on the army to join Guaido to overthrow Maduro.

US President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton all publicly said on April 30 that the US officially backed the call for a military coup to overthrow a president declared winner of an election almost a year earlier (May 2018), in which several candidates participated — and from which the main US-backed candidate pulled-out at the last minute, even after all his conditions for participation had been met.

Some regional governments have been hedging about the reasons they support the US approach to ‘restoring democracy’ in Venezuela, basically parroting the unsubstantiated claims of those promoting war against Venezuela.

But given where it all got on the last day of April — shots fired, people killed, scores wounded (including senior military personnel shot by armed opposition elements) and Washington’s insistence on ‘Keeping the military option on the table’, it’s become absolutely necessary for Caribbean countries to start readying for that day soon when they will be called upon to take a stand: for war or peace.

CARICOM Chairman Dr. Timothy Harris, who is also Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, on April 30 issued a statement reiterating CARICOM’s commitment to the search for a peaceful solution in Venezuela, along with Mexico, Uruguay and the International Contact Group, through the ‘Montevideo Mechanism’.

Related meetings have already taken place in Guyana, Uruguay and Ecuador, with another scheduled in Costa Rica next week.

But given the pace of developments in Venezuela this week – (including) desperation of the Opposition Leader after Tuesday’s failed coup attempt, anxiety in Washington to start another electorally-deflective foreign war, impatience of those calling the hostile shots in Washington and the Lima Group’s success in dividing Caribbean nations — sooner than later, Washington will call on the individual CARICOM states to ‘Take a final stand’ on its all-out war against Venezuela.

Despite reluctantly chatting from a distance with CARICOM Foreign Affairs Ministers in Barbados (by videoconference) in March, Guaido on April 30 and May 1 clearly demonstrated he was very serious when he reacted to an earlier request for an audience with CARICOM and the partners of the Montevideo Mechanism by saying: “The time for talking is over…”

The man Washington wants to impose on Venezuela has clearly showed he is no longer ready to talk peace, walk the peace path or smoke the peace pipe; and on May Day, while Maduro called for a ‘Day of Dialogue’ with the opposition, Guaido called instead for his supporters to continue protesting and illegally occupying streets, ‘don’t lose hope’ – and start a national general strike.

The windows are quickly closing for a peaceful solution in Venezuela and with the likes of China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, North Korea, the European Union (EU) and the vast majority of United Nations (UN) member-states opposed to military intervention, Washington will eventually do what it always does in similar circumstances: seek from neighbouring countries a fig leaf for military intervention.

Like in Grenada and Iraq, Washington will offer smoking guns that will most likely result in billows of clouds over Venezuela.

It will therefore be well for CARICOM leaders to individually learn from recent lessons in world history about the rate-of-delivery on promises by Washington to secure neighbourly support for its external adventures in different parts of the world.

Whether under Presidents Carter, Reagan, the two Bushes, Clinton, Obama or Trump – Uncle Sam has always applied the age-old Monroe Doctrine of Washington seeing and treating Latin America and the Caribbean as ‘America’s Backyard’.

CARICOM leaders won’t be able to influence change in Washington’s determination to force regime change on Venezuela in ways that they will never like used to depose them.

But they can show they are not willing to be pawns in Washington’s ultimate ‘End Game’ for Venezuela.

Whether they do or don’t will certainly be seen, sooner than later!

A TALE OF TWO FISHES: My last article in this column entitled ‘Poisson d’Avril’ was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The real fishy part I didn’t know while penning it though, was that a ‘Fish’ had in fact died, but not the one I’d been told. And even more fishy, was that the other ‘Fish’ (who actually died) was known to fellow school-mates (like me) as ‘Fishish’. Over long years, others also called him ‘Fishy’. But, by whatever name, there was never, ever anything fishy about the character of the man named Placidus Auguste. Nearly everyone who flies LIAT from Vigie’s GFL Charles Airport will have heard him announcing arrival and departure of flights, night and day – including holidays. I went there Tuesday afternoon and his voice was deafeningly silent. And LIAT staff were visibly grieved at his loss. In as much as I was glad to know that the other ‘Fish’ that I also grew-up with had not died, I am still very sad at the loss of a schoolmate who remained a truly valuable and reliable friend all our lives. The man his classmates knew as Fishish will definitely Rest in Peace!

1 Comment

  1. EARL, there’s one thing people will have to come to grip with, and that is
    there is a system – and that system, you don’t mess with i.e. money, power & politics.
    Venezuela has oil: there are also some natural resources, but she sits on more oil than
    any other country in the world, and that’s potentially a whole lot of money: the system
    wants it. They will starve you for it, they will kill you for it – you want to go to war??
    Now let’s not be stupid about it. The system is filthy rich, they can wait you out till
    you must give up.I’m not saying they’re right, but that’s the game they all play all the
    time. It’s nothing to do with Socialism Vs Capitalism, leave all the ism out of it, it’s the
    way the system works, it’s a game Bro. If Maduro don’t resign and retreat to Havana where
    he can enjoy his ‘Habana libre’ in peace, the system may have to force him to do so, rudely.
    It is sad at this stage that nations have to resort to such, so as to solve a problem without
    having to shed blood, and only the poor who always suffer. Don’t give any excuse to the
    heads of the system to start a war, they don’t care, their sons don’t go to war, only the
    poor suckers do, the rich get richer the poor you’ll have with you always; kept in his place
    by some screwed up General or corrupt politician. Latin America will never change, sadly.

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