We know the end game in Venezuela’s been taking some time. But “this time na lang time” – even for the lone superpower standing. Time there was when the Marines would’ve long been dispatched after President Trump did a Henry II and exclaimed “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome Maduro?” Maduro, after all — like Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket — just didn’t get it that the old order had to go.
It’s not just a clash of ideologies any longer – socialism versus capitalism — that argument had long been settled after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Trouble was, Maduro’s mentor Hugo Chavez didn’t look next door to Guyana, where Burnham, another leader on horseback (literally!), decided he’d “mould” Guyana’s destiny along “socialist” lines. Hey!! Burnham might’ve been well intentioned and all that, but fact of the matter is he completely destroyed his country and scattered his people like a rice farmer broadcasting paddy for the next crop!!
Every country in the vicinity, including Venezuela – but mostly the US and Canada — was invaded by hordes of Guyanese refugees. It’s a good thing our population was small, or the fallout would’ve been catastrophic. But that isn’t the case in the ongoing Chavez/Maduro socialist experiment that is careening towards its inevitable collapse. The international community has to do something before the present 3 million who’ve fled Venezuela become 30 million!!
The 40,000 Guyanese who ended up in Venezuela was a drop in their bucket – but can you imagine if the 3,000 presently in Reg 1 swells to 30,000? For one, they won’t remain in Reg 1!! Anyhow, Maduro gave Trump the opening he needed when he called snap elections last year – which the Carter Center, the UN and OAS etc refused to observe. After concededly the lowest turnout in Venezuelan history, Maduro was declared the winner by the Maduro-controlled National Electoral Council (CNE). The US refused to recognise the elections, and declared Maduro persona non grata.
After Maduro’s inauguration last month, US VP Mike Pence made a call to the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, who constitutionally becomes the interim president in the event the office is vacant. He assured Guaido that if he declared himself president, the US would recognise him. So said, so done, and the endgame was in sight. Since then, most European and Latin American states have followed the US lead. Guaido has promised “free and fair elections” once Maduro departs.
Mike Pence informed the Lima Group of SA states – in the presence of Guaido – of the final US moves.
The lesson is that the US is still ready to defend democratic practices!!
And the above recitation obviously is relevant for us in Guyana, where the PNC-led Government has been playing ducks and drakes with democracy in general and our constitution in particular. Specifically, as it relates to the stipulation that the President and his Cabinet SHALL resign immediately after the NCM of Dec 21 and elections should have been scheduled by March 19.
With the PNC Government working in tandem with GECOM, which it controls with the “unilateralised” James Patterson, who is refusing to hold the constitutionally mandated elections, comes March 19, when a new president should have been declared and the incumbent will have to go! What then? According to Art 95, “During any period when the Office of the president is vacant, the office shall be assumed by (1) (a) the PM; and if there’s none, according to (b), another Minister elected by Cabinet”.
But Art 95 (c) says if there’s no PM or Cabinet – as is the case — then the Chancellor of the Judiciary becomes the interim President!!
We hope the visiting US War College Professor passed on the message to the PNC!!
…for East Bank highway
The humongous 3-hour traffic pile-up occasioned by the toppled flatbed transporting an oil-related rig is a warning of what lies ahead with oil-support companies soon to be lining the entire Demerara River bank!!