The international news featured new developments in Venezuela this week, in which a State of Emergency was declared by Venezuela against its neighbor Colombia.
This action was further proof that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, was not sincere in his overtures to the English-speaking territories of CARICOM, when he can close the borders that Venezuela shares with a country of similar heritage, language and culture.
The rationale for this action is that Colombia was involved in the trade of smuggling basic commodities of flour, soap, milk, sugar and cooking oil, etc. across the border with Venezuela, which are in short supply in a country reputed to have the largest deposits of oil in the world.
The absurdity of Venezuela’s economic position is that while it should be a prosperous country among the most successful economies in the world, its people are experiencing harsh economic difficulties.
At the same time it harbours delusions of grandeur by establishing and promoting ALBA and recruiting the territories of CARICOM, i.e. Antigua, Dominica, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia, to join the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA) to replace the U.S. Dollar with the SUCRE, as their common currency.
Internationally it is well known that the United States remains the most powerful nation on earth, with the U.S. dollar as the single currency of note for international trade and exchange, which was forcefully established recently in the upheavals in the currency markets and the economies of the most powerful nations on earth.
Even the European Union which at one time envisaged its common currency as eclipsing the U.S. dollar in world trade, has not fulfilled that expectation.
In my political analysis, I do not inhabit the realms of fantasy, but always attempt to unearth the reality that exists beneath the surface.
In contrast the increase in tensions between Venezuela and Colombia, with Venezuelan soldiers manning the borders of those two countries which are geographically and physically linked, with similar culture, history and language, we in the English-speaking Caribbean must view with suspicion and skepticism the attempt by Venezuela to recruit our peaceful Caribbean territories in its feud with the United States, the most powerful country on earth.
With its rich potentiality, Venezuela with its oil and abundant natural resources should not be suffering from the shortage of basic commodities, that we in the comparatively poor region have never experienced. The reality is that no country can perform at its maximum potential, when an administration divides its people into warring factions.
This is not the first time that I have written an article critical of the overtures being made to our CARICOM countries by its current president, Nicolas Madura, when I was a regular contributor to the Star Newspaper.
I was severely chastised then for my characterization of the political situation in Venezuela of running battles on the streets and the jailing of Opposition members, and I was accused of making ‘false and unjust’ statements about Venezuela.
One just has to click a mouse and there are abundant articles on the state of affairs in Venezuela, as a very unstable country at the moment.
The advent of this miracle invention ‘the internet’ makes information about any subject or country available at one’s fingertips.
We in the English-Speaking Caribbean should be wary of establishing diplomatic relations with Venezuela with its treatment of opposition forces in that country, and this latest hostile action against its neighbor Colombia, with its historical and cultural similarities.
We in CARICOM should be suspicious of any moves by Venezuela to recruit our English-speaking CARICOM territories in a grouping that harbours ‘ delusions of grandeur’ by having its diminished, almost valueless currency, of replacing the U.S. dollar as the currency of international trade.
Now the circumstances have changed for Venezuela, with its most powerful supporter Cuba, which has enthusiastically embraced in new era of relations with the United States, which after all these years of isolation opens up opportunities for Cubans for economic prosperity and travel to the United States, which I wager that Cubans value more than their relationship with Venezuela. This will only weaken the structure of ALBA to a toothless bulldog.
Meanwhile some of our CARICOM territories, most notably St. Lucia, signed up for membership of ALBA, which would offend the powerful Americans and the investment potential for the region, as St. Lucia has discovered with its resort to investors of questionable repute, without due diligence.
While making friendly overtures to our territories, our leaders have completely ignored the contradictory actions of Venezuela of claiming 60% of Guyanese territory, and has installed military personnel on Bird Island, a tiny insignificant rock, which it is claimed may have oil.
This demonstrates an unhealthy greed for oil which Venezuela has in abundance, which is reputed to be the largest in the world.
Under these circumstances one would expect that leaders of our region would see the contradiction in Venezuela’s friendly posture, while exhibiting greed and venality by claiming ownership of any oil deposits that may exist in the region.
Our CARICOM leaders should see the blatant contradictions in Venezuela’s greed for oil and its threats against the territory of Guyana which are not compatible with its deceptive offers of oil concessions to our territories. Which will only create an untenable debt burden for our territories in the future.