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The recent lacklustre disclosure that the Guyana Government has withdrawn recognition of the little-known Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) disappeared like a flash in a pond.
It created no ripples since it was intended to be just a tiny appetizer to wet the gargantuan expectations of the Washington coup plotters for bigger rewards in return for his year’s regime change in Guyana.
The “news” first surfaced on November 14, 2020 in Morocco. It was greeted there with glee as it was an endorsement of support by the Trump administration for Morocco to occupy the whole disputed Western Sahara.
With just over 600,000 people, some 80% of this former Spanish colony has been annexed previously by Morocco. But during the mid-70s a liberation group calling itself the Polisario Front proclaimed Western Sahara as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which was recognised by some 70 countries as a non-state entity.
Our major parties, the PPP and PNC, extended solidarity to the Polisario Front in much the same way as they had embraced the African National Congress (ANC) and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). As a PPP leader, I shared company at solidarity meetings in the late 70s with the PNC’s Elvin McDavid in Ethiopia and Robert Corbin in Portugal.
Over the years, these parties have consistently supported the right of the Saharan people to self-determination, and a peaceful solution to the conflict over sovereignty of Western Sahara.
QUID PRO QUO
So, it may be reasonable to ask, “what has changed?”
As I pondered on that question, I could hear the echo from a refrain in denial by President Trump during his impeachment process, “there is no Quid Pro Quo”. He emphatically repeated that there was “no quid pro quo” with Ukraine for political dirt on Biden, his opponent in the 2020 elections, in exchange for certain concessions to that foreign state.
In Latin, this phrase literally means “something for something”; a favour for a favour. In our part of the world, it is translated as “you scratch my back and I scratch yours in return”; or simply, “it’s pay-back time”.
Today as Haiti opened an Embassy in Rabat, Morocco’s capital, observers are bound to ask from where does a cash-strapped regime get the resources to display such diplomatic nicety in a far-off land, except, of course, it’s a “quid pro quo” for being propped up by the Trump cabal?
Earlier this year when I accepted on behalf of Guyana, Chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China, we recommitted our country to the lofty goals of self-determination, fundamental principles of sovereign equality of states, peaceful resolution of disputes, international rule of law, and the power of multilateralism.
I am therefore surprised that as the G77 Chair, our government’s de-recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic does not reflect a wider collective consensus.
It is more particularly disturbing that, in the context of our problematic of resistance to threatened annexation of our territory by Venezuela that we should have taken such a unilateral position at this time.
It is evident that the surrender on Western Sahara was a token pay-back for the regime change in Guyana. Had there been no prolonged recount of ballots in the Guyana elections, and the impending ouster of the Washington warlords, we might have already seen the full menu of the treacherous “quid pro quo” deal.
These could have been included in the bag of “October Surprises” as further subversion of Guyana’s sovereignty, a military blitz against our neighbour and overt pressure for the expulsion of Cuban health providers from Guyana.
The political opposition and civil society must not go to sleep whilst the Trojan Horse still lurks at our door.