The Saber Rattling to the West
Kaieteur News – Again, some weeks after the International Court of Justice, not so unpredictably, ruled it has jurisdiction over the border debate between Guyana and Venezuela, where the latter continues to assert an absurd and illegal allegation over Essequibo, President of Venezuela under siege. Nicolas Maduro has vowed to “re-conquer” the county that covers a third of our country’s sovereign space space.
As reported in today’s edition of this newspaper, Maduro has gone on an insider PR offensive, packing propaganda with toys and trumpets into communities on the border with Guyana. Even as he wastes time and resources on such theater, tens of thousands of Venezuelans continue to flee from his mismanagement of his country’s economy. Although he is known to feast privately, as he was a few years ago accidentally caught on TV, his people are starving and fleeing other more settled countries, including Guyana. Last month, for example, in the kind of tragedy the world has become accustomed to in terms of refugees from African countries torn apart by a war fleeing European comforts, the bodies of 14 drowned Venezuelans, bound for Trinidad, washed up along the Venezuelan coast. According to a BBC report:
“According to the IOM, the Venezuelan exodus is the largest in recent Latin American and Caribbean history. Tens of thousands have fled to Trinidad and Tobago, with many making the crossing at sea in often overcrowded boats. At least two boats disappeared last year on their way to Trinidad and Tobago and a third are believed to have capped on the way to Curaçao. Authorities in Trinidad and Tobago said its coastguards had not intercepted any boats in recent days, dispelling rumors that the migrants had been turned back by officials from the Caribbean nation. ”
Therefore, any value that Maduro’s vitriolic rhetoric offers for his continually failing regime is questionable. It is doubtful whether it would be enough to turn the tide of public support in his favor – aggression costs money and comes to its natural conclusion that his rhetoric, if he wants to act on it, would take the kind of resources that his country, and its people, could not afford. Moreover, given the rapid and unambiguous regional condemnation of his rhetoric, any actual aggressive behavior of Maduro is supposed to fail not only in diplomatic support but from Guyana’s allies, the United States in particular, ready to provide military support against any armed attack. .
The irony is that the latest precedent for the defiance of international norms and the rule of law in the hemisphere was set here when, despite widespread international condemnation by dozens of representative countries and institutions, the Granger administration sought to steal an election, and a coup that would – if successful – would have led not only to an illegal regime but one that would not have been able to command the respect and support of our allies in the hemisphere and further afield.
There are several lessons to be learned from the current saber raids emanating from our neighbor to the west. None more important than the need for a sense of common purpose of legitimate government and legitimate opposition acting collectively to protect our territorial integrity. Maduro’s aggressive behavior should be a wake-up call for a Guyanese to unite and build a strong and cohesive state, not the republic that failed that our neighbor to the west had come under an arbitrary, corrupt and increasingly desperate desk.