It was recently exposed that President Chávez of Venezuela purchased US$15B worth of armaments for his army, making that army much more powerful. The bellicose nature of Chávez’s regime, with tensions on the border with Colombia an ever present problem, and with military connections to Iran and Libya, the Venezuelan government is bent on destabilizing this region. Chávez is one of the only leaders in the world to stand by that bloody dictator of Libya, Gaddafi, whose intentions are clear to the world.
Editor, history has frequently taught us that bigger and more powerful nations, especially bellicose ones, have a tendency to try to take advantage and sometimes invade and seize smaller nations or occupy sections of these weak states. Examples of these unilateral actions of aggression are many. The list could extend way back to the Roman legions invading Gaul or Egypt and it can be surmised that such invasions will continue into the future any time bullyism and aggression are the hallmarks of nation-building.
Editor, which is the weakest state bordering Venezuela where territorial claims by Venezuela continue to be on Chávez’s mind? The answer is Guyana. Leaders seeking aggrandizement always use jingoistic actions in foreign policy matters to divert their people’s attention from the serious socio-economic factors which affect them, and military actions against weaker nations have always been the starting point. Chávez’s Venezuela is actually mapped out with the Essequibo region belonging to them, not Guyana, and they feel that their claims are legitimate. One day Chávez might turn on Guyana, the weakest nation, to provide a basis for a new nationalism and chauvinism for the Venezuelan populace.
This government can’t see these problems on the horizon, and that is why Ambassadors Ramkarran and Ishmael and now Da Silva, have all been ineffectual and weak in their respective tenures. Editor, note that the PPP government has not, to this day, condemned the bloody rule of Gaddafi although they regularly have comments and positions on Middle East affairs. There is not a word of support for President Obama and the coalition which he was very influential in putting together to stop Gaddafi’s madness and brutal behaviour.
Editor, my godfather, President Burnham said correctly “not a blade of grass” to Venezuela’s claim to Guyana’s territory, and in modern-day parlance, this government should try to get a mutual defence treaty with either Brazil, Colombia or the USA, in order that we are prepared for any eventuality which can occur in the future; we cannot continue to think that Venezuela under Chávez is good for our security or that it does not matter because aggression against this country cannot happen. We in Guyana need to be cognizant of the lessons of history and realize that we live in a turbulent and ever-changing world, where natural resources are prized and naked aggression for those resources beckons autocratic leaders. President Obama has shown the world that he will not tolerate naked aggression by any autocrat, even against their own people; treaties for mutual defence are beneficial to small countries like ours in case things go wrong.
Cheddi (Joey) Jagan (Jr)