Venezuela – nuanced challenges the ante
Kaieteur News – As should be clear to attentive Guyanese who monitor the ongoing news reports, Venezuela is serious and slow, and deliberately fits the pressure on Guyana. The ante in our border dispute is pushed up mercilessly, but in a very nuanced manner. The evidence is there for all interested and anxious to sift through and reach a reasonable, single, only conclusion. Our intention in this paper is that Guyanese ‘interested and concerned’ include and include all citizens, irrespective of where they are resident.
The first incline came out of the blue, but it wasn’t a big surprise. President Nicholas Maduro of Venezuela, who pulls out all stops in his fierce fight for a revival in his political fortunes, chose the one issue that was sure to rally and bind his countrymen: his cause, his vision, and her urge. He wrapped himself in the Venezuelan flag, and did so, when he spoke passionately about ‘reuniting Essequiba.’ We do not believe that whatever else a Venezuelan leader may be in the eyes of others, he is less than whole-hearted and committed to that one. And as matters progress, amid the unlimited woes that people in society live with, none escalates to the significance and urgency of the dispute over the Guyana-Venezuela border. It is enough to make his people immediately ignore their troubles and pains, in the powerful distraction it facilitates.
Having spoken and upset so many different ways in many citizens – including the powerful military establishment, the crazy criminal elements, the company of dedicated political opponents, and the overwhelming majority of ordinary citizens who struggle – it was a must get corresponding actions. . Subsequent acts that accompany the excitement of the shared words about a possible and intended reincarnation of Essequibo; those started with sending messages, and then continuing by teaching the Guyanese one lesson in quick smugness and upstairs through a variety of clever methods. The lesson is that this is the start of a long campaign that will take many forms, and will not ease in the future.
This may not be believed, but it is highly likely that part of the full weight of the court will be exerted on the ground through a channel that allows for ‘credible denial.’ Credible deniability because it has always been there, is a fixed fact of a normal life, and is apparently acting in its own interests and in its own right. That is, it is private and independent, completely separated from state apparatus and influence. These would be the criminal gangs operating in Venezuela that first target their own people, and then reach out to the rich temptations in vulnerable Guyanese border communities. They go by the gang name ‘Syndicato’, and provide the perfect cover for state-sponsored acts to help destabilize here. A recent incident happened, and more are sure to follow; in terms of frequency, that will be confirmed (or lay waste) by the future.
More recently, two Guyanese fishing boats have been seized by the Venezuelans, and this has caused a great deal of turmoil here. This is a more concrete indication that things are heading in the right direction, from a Venezuelan perspective. Fishing boats and their like represent soft targets worth their weight in gold for the political and national psychological stress caused. It doesn’t matter where those boats were, the fact remains that the Venezuelans were operating, and that’s what we believe to be the first sortie.
Then, a grading officer on our side of the border complained about the influx of Venezuelans in his area, Region One. It may not be the usual example of hungry and suffering people rushing through any opening to find relief in a place that has more to offer than a home. It’s worth expanding our mindset to cover what a flood of Venezuelans might mean here. We are under-staffed, under-staffed and under-resourced, and neighbor-building could be about more than the economic and humanitarian. It could be from that organized by very high councils in Venezuela. Somewhere in there, among those arriving, would be those who can undermine the fragile foundations of this society. On this, too, Guyanese expectation is that there will certainly be more, if not just for gold and oil.
But when all this is considered, it becomes clear that this country has some serious times ahead of it. Our leaders preferred to be wise in how to approach them, who to partner with internally, and what external forces to tap, and clear paths for them to act to our advantage. Because, as we sense it, Venezuela has settled for a false peace. Or to put it differently, to engage in undeclared conflicts and get worse in many subtle ways.