KAieteur News – One day after returning from an official visit to Suriname, the President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, met with the Brazilian Foreign Minister in Georgetown. It is now being suggested that President Bolsonaro is likely to visit Guyana next year.
The President has thus within one week met with high-level officials of two of the country’s three neighbours, Suriname and Brazil. Who is next, Venezuela?
The former Coalition government was belligerent in its relations with the Maduro administration. That belligerence was self-serving. It was intended to lay the foundation for Guyana to opt out of a negotiated settlement of the territorial dispute and to move towards a juridical settlement. Guyana has been encouraged to go in this direction and that encouragement may not have necessarily been without some personal interest by persons whose influence weighed heavily on the former Coalition government.
Instead of seeking to improve those relations, the PPP/C – due to a palpable lack of experience – does not seem inclined to improve relations with Venezuela. Guyana is now firmly toeing the American line and insisting in democratic elections in Venezuela.
It seems to be lost on the Ali administration that Venezuela has the best electoral system in the world and has a legitimate President. Guyana must refuse to be led on a leash by the Lima Group which is bent on delegitimizing the Maduro administration. The Guyana Government is going to regret its policy of seeking to isolate Venezuela in order to curry favour with the Americans.
Guyana has always been deluded into believing that Brazil is an ally when it comes to Venezuela. But Brazil had her own interest in the 1960s when Venezuela re-staked its claim to the Essequibo. Brazil acted out of her own interests, rather than Guyana’s. It would be a mistake for Guyana to continue to habour the idea that Brazil will always come to their rescue whenever there is a problem with Venezuela.
The former PNC/R has consistently peddled the narrative about Brazil siding with Guyana in relation to Venezuela. This is an untenable argument. Brazil is not siding with Guyana. It is siding with itself. Brazil and Guyana has enjoyed good-neighbourly relations but Brazil must never be counted on to take any sides in any territorial dispute.
Having friendly relations and being friends are two different things. Brazil is no friend when it comes to Guyana. It was Brazil which moved to the World Trade Organization to challenge the EU sugar regime. The result of course has meant the end of preferential access of sugar into the European market.
Venezuela, under Chavez and Maduro, has been more a friend to Guyana than Brazil. Brazil has never offered the sort of concessions which Venezuela offered under Petrocaribe.
Takuba Lodge has to make an assessment as to why the Brazilian Foreign Minister came to Guyana. There had to be reasons why he came in the midst of a pandemic and instead of getting all excited, it is the duty of the Foreign Ministry to try to understand what are Brazil’s’ present motivations.
Nationalism is now the dominant ideology in Brazil. Its leader is seen as the Donald Trump of South America and therefore it needs to be questioned why is there now talk about him coming to Guyana. What is he going to come here to do? And why should he be welcomed in Guyana?
The Ali administration is so obsessed with economic relations that in pressing for cooperation in aquaculture, infrastructural development and trade, no mention was made of security which makes one wonder just who is responsible for developing the country’s foreign policy. If, like the PNC/R, the PPP/C believes in the narrative that Brazil is a counterfoil to any possible Venezuelan aggression, then how can it not see security as being its primary interest in any talks with Brazil?
Security and stability has to be on Guyana’s mind when it comes to Brazil. The visit by the Brazilian Foreign Minister comes a mere two weeks before parliamentary elections are due to be held in Venezuela. Is there something which is being fomented between Washington and Brasilia and they are seeking the support of Guyana?
President Ali and his government had better begin to understand better what is taking place with the country’s neighbours. All this talk about infrastructural development and aquaculture and trade may be based on false assumption of just why the Brazilian Foreign Minister is paying a sudden visit to Guyana.
And why is President Ali not seeking to mend fences with Maduro? Surely that is equally important to Guyana’s future as relations with Suriname and Brazil.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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