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Insofar as it is accepted that Guyana’s elections are not completed until there is the hearing of the elections petitions, it means the process is still ongoing. Therefore, it is reasonable to posit that its conclusion is inextricably linked to the November 3rd US elections. If the Trump administration receives a second term, all political actors in this region who appear unhelpful to the Trump administration’s Venezuela cause will find it difficult to achieve their political objectives.
Claims of the Guyana elections 2020 being more about the geopolitics of Venezuela than the rule of law and democracy are hereby reasonably credible and are of substance. If there was any doubt, the recent visit of the US Secretary of State has put all uncertainty to bed. Upon the right honorable Secretary’s visit, the skies became orange, lightning and thunder were at their angriest. It was almost as if nature was trying to give us a warning about what is ahead. Despite the climatic tumult, the symbolism of the first visit by a high ranking member of a sitting US Cabinet has not been lost and certainly has given observers much to think about. The least not being, how the results of the next elections US elections will directly impact political developments in Guyana over the course of the next year.
US-VENEZUELA POLICY AND THE POSTURE OF THE COALITION GOVERNMENT
Once upon a time, the United and Venezuela enjoyed traditional warm relations under the regimes of Carlos Andrés Pérez and Rafael Caldera. The relationship became sour when Hugo Chavez assumed elected office in 1999 and reached its nadir in 2006 at the United Nations, when Chavez stated in a speech: “Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the President of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world.” Chávez also said that President Bush “…came [to the General Assembly] to share his nostrums to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.” After Chavez’s death on March 5th 2013, Nicolás Maduro assumed the Presidency. The former bus driver and experienced trade unionist did not dither in his continuation of disastrous socialist policies that have taken Venezuela into a permanent state of crisis. It all culminated in the process and results of the disputed elections of May 20th 2018 presidential elections. The President of the Venezuela National Assembly, Juan Guaidó rejected the results and pursuant to Article 233 of the Venezuela Constitution, declared himself President on January 3rd 2019, he has been subsequently recognized by 60 countries.
The Venezuela issue has become the number one priority for the Trump Administration in this region and Guyana has become critical to the US achieving its objectives. The coalition government, under the leadership of the David Arthur Granger, has consistently demonstrated its reluctance to go along hand in glove with the US vis-à-vis the Venezuela policy. This reluctance was elevated to one of outright defiance on April 1st 2020, when a letter requesting the Voice of America’s interest in relaying broadcasts to Venezuela via Guyana reached the desk of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Telecommunication. This communication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, signed by Foreign Officer, Asake Lee, reached the highest level of political decision making in the coalition government and the request therein, was denied. For this reason and other reasons, it appears, the US concluded that the coalition government was a serious impediment to the implementation of the Venezuela policy.
THE POLITICS OF THE PETITION AND THE US ELECTIONS
It is evident, in the post-elections 2020 Guyana context, the coalition has premised most of its political strategies on the elections petitions. If the Trump administration retains power and Donald Trump is sworn in on January 20th 2021, the US will ensure that it exerts all of the power in this region to keep the coalition away from the levers of the power in Guyana. As a consequence, whatever stratagems are mustered to make the politics of the petition effective, will be subject the omnipotent power of the US who will fight tooth and nail to maintain its guaranteed control of the transactional Ali regime. This submission is not suggesting that a Biden regime will simply wash away all US interests in Venezuela or reverse the policies of the Trump administration. A Biden regime will give the coalition a huge lease on political life and opportunity to realign relations and ensure the Ali regime does not enjoy the advantage of having an unprecedented avenue to the halls of power in Washington. Trump victory will have serious implications for our politics, especially in the realm of how the regime will go after its perceived enemies.
If you are a coalition supporter, you may need to stay glued to your phone on November 3rd.