Friday, February 23, 2024
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HomeOpinionCommentaryStop Venezuela's aggression before it creates a War in the Americas

Stop Venezuela’s aggression before it creates a War in the Americas

As a ploy to distract from his country’s domestic collapse, Venezuela’s dictator Nicolas Maduro – following the Putin and Hamas play-book – is suddenly demanding that neighboring Guyana “surrender” 2/3 of its territory – the entire western region called Essequibo – to him.

By North Shore Leader

Little noted between the headlines about the Hamas-Israel War, or the Russia-Ukraine War is a similar act of territorial aggression being ginned-up by the socialist Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela against the small neighbouring country of Guyana.

Venezuela – once the richest country in South America – has collapsed. Twenty-four years of “socialism” and “kleptocracy” under the dictatorships of Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro have literally destroyed the country, with widespread starvation, poverty, malnutrition and rampant street crime.

Eight million people of Venezuela’s 25 million people – have now fled the country as refugees. To the US, Mexico, Colombia and neighboring Guyana. That is 25 percent of the country – now refugees – many now living in overseas tent cities as Migrants in places like NYC.

As a ploy to distract from his country’s domestic collapse, Venezuela’s dictator Nicolas Maduro – following the Putin and Hamas play-book – is suddenly demanding that neighbouring Guyana “surrender” 2/3 of its territory – the entire western region called Essequibo – to him.

The border between Guyana and Venezuela was long ago settled – by a 1899 International Boundary Commission – that mapped and demarcated the border.  But that doesn’t bother Maduro. Guyana has found oil offshore, and Maduro wants to get his hands on it.

Venezuela is – or was – itself an oil-rich country. But Venezuela’s oil production has collapsed due to the kleptocracy and mismanagement of Maduro and his regime, who has larded-up the oil workforce with his political patronage flunkies. They steal the oil revenues, and pilfer and sell-off the drilling equipment.  Venezuela once produced 3,400,000 barrels of oil per day – as recently as 1997. Now it averages just 750,000 barrels per day.

By contrast, Guyana, which produced no oil – zero – just four years ago, is now producing 400,000 barrels per day. And that is projected to increase to over 2,000,000 barrels per day by 2028. That is what Maduro is after.

The US, Brazil, Colombia, CARICOM, the UK, and France (which owns nearby French Guiana) have all sent diplomatic and military missions to Guyana to show military support – and have warned Maduro to back-off.

But Maduro is ginning-up the political pressure – holding a sham “referendum” on December 3, 2023 to claim 2/3 of the neighboring country. He’s defied the World Court, telling the Court he ignores it. Maduro’s continued political aggression can only lead to war – and a war in the Caribbean – in America’s backyard.

That is why the Biden administration – and the US Congress – must warn off Maduro in the strongest possible terms. If Maduro knows that aggression will be met with resolute counter-force, he can be deterred.

We don’t need a Putin or Hamas – or a war – in the Caribbean.

This Editorial was originally published by North Shore Leader.

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