Reference is made to Mr Malcolm Harripaul’s missive captioned ‘Why did PPP go to India?’ (SN, Jan 12). Let me applaud Mr Harripaul for this piece reminding us of the PPP’s (perceived as the party of Indians) role in the political and economic tragedy of what is Guyana. Some clarifications and retrospection are needed and the PNC should not be excused for Guyana’s socio-political situation.
Just for the record, the PNC and AFC also went to India. Members of Parliament from both parties were also invited and were sent by their parties to the conference of Parliamentarians of Indian descent held in Delhi on Jan 9 and 10. Thus, the questions posed by Mr Harripaul to the PPP also apply to the PNC and AFC.
Harripaul assailed the PPP for the state of affairs (including irreversible damage of the psyche) of the Indian community in Guyana. Much of what he wrote is indisputable and is supported by incontrovertible evidence. But much damage was and continues to be inflicted by both the PNC and AFC in what both did when they were in opposition or when in government. Thus, both of those parties should also be indicted for their roles in where the Indians find themselves today.
As Mr Harripaul noted, Indo-Guyanese were not a communist oriented people. By nature, they are capitalist oriented. But Dr Jagan hitched them on to the communist bandwagon, and that was the primary factor, contends Harripaul, that is responsible for where Indians find themselves. Many scholars wrote about Jagan’s naïve understanding of geopolitics and his embracing of the communist (anti-American) ideology that was responsible for the PPP (and by extension Indians since they supported him blindly) being out of power. He failed to understand realpolitik (to embrace the West in order to survive in America’s backyard right after the Cuban revolution (1959)) and was removed from power. His nemesis Forbes Burnham bettered him on mastering this concept of realpolitik embracing the Americans and British, all of whom conspired to install and support the PNC (perceived as the party of Africans) in office. Burnham knew he had to embrace the Americans to win and hold office, and he hitched his supporters to the American-British bandwagon. He governed and Jagan was out of office.
Had Jagan not embraced communism, and had he listened to the advice proffered by other prominent Indian leaders to abandon communism, the US-British alliance would not have intervened in Guyana’s internal affairs, and there probably would not have been any racial violence. It is well documented (in the New York Times and elsewhere) that the US funded the violence which toppled Jagan from office. Some of us in the US tried during the 1970s and 1980s to convince Jagan to shift from his communist position; he rebuffed us only transforming himself after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. Guyana would have been a peaceful place without the introduction of communism in the political struggles. A non-communist PPP would have governed Guyana unimpeded transforming it into a modern, developed nation, perhaps not much different from a Singapore or a Taiwan.
As so many intellectuals penned, Jagan failed to understand that there was no way that the ‘communist’ PPP (perceived as the party of Indians) or any Marxist party would have been allowed to govern Guyana during the Cold War. The US did not allow it in any country in the Americas or the Caribbean; every left-wing government was toppled from office (save Cuba which was protected by the Soviet military umbrella). The PPP was allowed to govern between 1992 and 2015 because of the end of the Cold War.
The PPP needs to take note that in now what appears to be a renewed Cold War; no socialist or left leaning or anti-American party will be allowed to govern peaceably in America’s backyard. It is the US that “giveth and taketh” democracy; PPP supporters need to understand this political rule and guide their party towards a pro-America position. What took place in Honduras last month and what has been happening in Venezuela should serve as a warning.