Guyanese have flourished through purposeful
failure to recognize the bigger picture(s) of the
nuanced and intricate world inhabited. We have done that with our border dispute and steeply discount the nexuses among oil presence, oil access, and oil security.
Instead, the clamoring, insistent foci have been on money, percentages, and returns.
Those are powerful and energizing, but there is failure to factor in those other relationships and circumstances that leave us vulnerable to manipulation.
Today we use oil for context and comparison only, since the emphasis at this time is on industrial relations, and the pincers that narrow inexorably on this country, its workers, its peoples, and its prospects. It is also about the convergence of far-flung ideological, economic, and big power blocs in an area, which tests strength and endurance of world powers.
Venezuela is the test case. The United States has surrendered valuable ground, as the Wall Street Journal acknowledged in an article on January 27titled, “How Putin outfoxed Trump in Venezuela.” The article’s subtitle lamented that the, “Trump administration underestimated how much support President Nicholas Maduro would receive from Russia and Cuba, as well as from US allies.”And further, “the Trump administration, confident that Mr. Maduro would fall, didn’t foresee Russia leading the way for other countries to eclipse the sanctions.” Sanction busting stands as counterstrike in the new power confrontations.
Russia now handles “more than two-thirds of Venezuela’s crude oil” while another half billion of crude was purchased by a firm from India (a US ally), which is part of a joint venture with Russian giant, Rosneft. But this is more than about Venezuela and oil, for it is about the United States and Russia squaring off and the Russians emerging ahead, because of the single-minded visions of the resourceful Russian leader. Mr. Putin has proven to be wiser than his American counterpart, as developments in Venezuela confirm that Mr. Maduro’s star ascends, while Senor Guaido’s fade.
That triumph of the man from Moscow in Caracas, as capably backed by his cohorts from Cuba and China, is ominous for Guyanese. As said earlier, there is oil, and then there is more.
There is, for one heavy example, the agitations and machinations of Rusal in bauxite territory. It is about industrial relations and workers, but that’s only half of it. The timing and the fierce confrontational posture of the Russians-based Rusal speaks to flexing of muscles, testing the waters, and pushing the local political envelope.
The government has limited itself to reacting and operating within permissible channels.
That is, amidst the hard lines drawn, the state has been calm and measured. But it must be troubled over the provocative steps and responses of Rusal in its inflaming clashes with Guyanese workers. Clearly, the company’s actions appear to be disproportionate to the situation. It appears it is determined to approach the charged issues in a bullheaded manner.
When the ideological, individual, and political links between some powerful campaigners in this country and Russian leadership are recalled, some pieces fall into place regarding the heavy-handed and hardheaded approach adopted by Rusal.
This is more than company and worker conflict, it has picked up subtle political undertones along the way, which are sure to be distanced from and denied. If Guyanese are smart, they should recognize that subtle squeezes are applied on government.
Similarly, the word in level-headed governmental circles is that Chinese originated Bosai is also exhibiting some discomforting signs of restlessness, which leads to guarded uneasiness in state leadership. As the Americans can testify abundantly, the nexus and noose of the Sino-Russia-Cuba axis grinds slowly and subtly, but it grinds relentlessly and remorselessly. It takes a while before the untutored and untested come to their senses and realize what is really happening, and those who are behind (both domestically and internationally), the rearrangements in the broader region, and also right here.
It is now obvious that the Anglo Saxons are on the defensive and there is a slowly gathering and more recognizable Slavic and Oriental surge that rules the void and increasingly calling the shots. This has huge potential for Guyana’s elections, governance and, of course, oil. Those who have eyes and ears should see and hear….
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