Tue | Sep 18, 2018

Letter of the Day | Venezuela must give up its Guyana claims first

Published:Saturday | May 28, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Recently, the president of Venezuela appealed to so-called friendly countries to support his country against "imperialist" powers and to help his government stabilise the worsening situation there.

Just a week few days ago, the Venezuelan leader came to Jamaica to strengthen ties with us and CARICOM. However, before we in Jamaica and CARICOM even give a second thought to seriously helping Venezuela, we should consider our own first.

For many years, Venezuela has been exerting a lot of pressure on Guyana, one of our sister CARICOM countries, to give up the western parts of that country to Venezuela. According to Venezuela, those regions of Guyana were wrongly seized by the British, in the days of empire, and never returned to her. I have noticed that CARICOM's response to the continued Venezuelan claim has been mute, at best.

It is also interesting that Venezuela should be complaining to us in CARICOM and the wider world of "aggressive American imperialism" when it continues to pursue what many would consider to be an imperialistic agenda against Guyana. The burner sure has a way of calling the kettle black!

When the former president of Venezuela initiated that oil deal with several CARICOM countries years ago, he was not only doing so out of a sense of pity. Knowing full well that these CARICOM leaders can be easily bought, then President Hugo Chavez went on his well-masked campaign to save these CARICOM countries, including Jamaica, from drowning in high oil prices. To me, it was clear that Venezuela had other reasons for taking pity on us - to split CARICOM away from Guyana.

The current president of Venezuela has not abandoned his country's claim on Guyana's territory, and our spineless CARICOM leaders have not demanded that Venezuela do so. So, before, we should consider driving further into the arms of Venezuela, it would be nice of our CARICOM leaders demonstrate some backbone and tell Venezuela that if it wants our support, it must renounce its claim on Guyana first!

CARICOM must cease being a talk shop and start putting family first!