Dec 07, 2023 Letters
The ‘morning after’ is a song, popularized and publicized in numerous publications with lyrical variances, scripting the follow-through as an aftermath, starting with the pleading cry of hope, continuing with the resolute grasp of belief and ending with accepting the inevitability of fate, possibly translated from a positive thrust to a veering slide, to provide a negative outcome. The opposite is also entertained.
Venezuelans nervously awoke Monday morning, most with a bitter taste in the mouth and the others, a selected few, with a reckless glee in their eyes. The false cry of a 95 % victory resonated in the wilderness of Venezuela as the Maduro administration ran berserk, claiming a 10.5 million turn out for the Referendum on last Sunday, purportedly representing half of the 20.6 million eligible voters. A mathematical disease, susceptible to riggers, could possibly explain Venezuela’s fascinating exclamation for such a fantasy. In the doldrums of propaganda, President Maduro has shamed the citizens with a feigned result, not surprisingly, an anticipated prediction the watchful world was expecting.
The sober reality is that all local and international news carried a story contrary to what Maduro has elucidated. Viewers saw Venezuelans trickling in to vote in single number, some under acclaimed duress, but not any crowded line with enthusiastic people, pushing or shoving and impatiently waiting to cast their votes to support Maduro’s illusion. The 10.5 million votes may possibly be converted to a mere 2.1 million voters marking an X to the 5 aggravating questions asked on the sheet. This would translate to only a 10 % turnout instead of a 50 % percent as bragged by the boaster! Maria Corina Machado, the Venezuelan Opposition Leader for the Vente Venezuelan Party, did not support the call for a Referendum and appealed to the nation not to vote. She is regarded as a dangerous threat to Maduro and a winner for the next presidency next year, if there is a free and fair election and she is allowed to participate.
This week still finds Venezuela as a country, ravaged, with its population drowning in poverty, a depleted shelf with food items unavailable, workers unable to secure jobs, angry and hungry dissidents scouring the streets for shelter, children unable to travel to attend schools, and an impoverished nation finding it too difficult to survive on what little is offered. An oil-rich country once proud of a 30 million population, has been reduced by migration due to the mass exodus of some 7 million of its people fleeing the country as refugees and seeking political and economic asylum in neighboring and far-reaching states. Guyana, her friendly neighbor, is providing shelter to some 30 thousand reported Venezuelans but it has been rumored that three times that amount are currently residing within her borders. A large amount has Guyanese roots and are fleeing from a corrupted place. While others are genuine refugees, there is the uneasy feeling that many are suspected to be military personnel, planted in disguise as poor Venezuelans appealing to the Guyanese generosity.
A country regarded as the 25th largest producer of oil in the world, finds itself cash strapped, even though she is the country with the largest oil reserve in the world with some 300 billion barrels, compared with Guyana’s petite 11 billion. Economic pundits have blamed hyperinflation in the country and placed it at the feet of Maduro’s ascension, cultivating a culture of rigged election, dictatorship, militarization, mismanagement, corruption, anti-democracy policies, suppression of political dissents and any other opposition and massive human rights violation not over-looking heavy money-printing and deficit spending, and their socialist style policies. The average salary for a Public Sector Employee ranges from US$30 to US$50, while the Private Sector Employee is tipped at US$120-180. During the 2014 -2019 Maduro’s repression, the UN reported some 7,000 political killings. The US has promised lifting of economic sanctions if Maduro allows the opposition their freedom to function without fear of favor.
US and European banks have frozen over US$3 billion of Venezuela’s assets overseas. Venezuela is deprived of funds to service her debts, to pay for imports and to finance developments. The US has promised to ease the sanction if Venezuela would allow the opposition parties to contest elections without Maduro’s military intervention. All the top positions in the country are currently secured by Maduro’s military personnel handpicked by him and placed in all management positions in all the ministries and government agencies. The socioeconomic and political crisis began during the reign of Chavez and worsened on the onset of his successor, Maduro. Inflation accrued with escalating starvation, disease, crime and mortality rates. Crude oil production has fallen from 3.2 million barrels per day in 2000 to 735,000 bpd in September’2023. China is a large importer of their crude oil. Venezuela’s GDP in 2021 was US$111.81 Billion, down from 371.34 ten years ago (Trading Economics). With the lifting of sanctions and Venezuela being able to export more oil and trade with US companies, the GDP is expected to have a 4.5 % growth by next year.
The ‘morning after’ can present that abominable self-loathing feeling filled with regret and remorse, one which you despise and detest to repugnantly drain you while others find you abhorrently abominated. The Maduro regime certainly swallowed this pill. The world stands behind Guyana, ready, willing and capable of coming to her defense.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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