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Defending sovereignty 

Defending sovereignty 



Kaieteur News – Guyana’s President Ali took to the UN and made his country’s position crystal clear: “Guyana will spare no effort to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.” We at this paper are as one with the President on what is a nonnegotiable posture. The President also said, “Any unilateral attempt by Venezuela to restrict the exercise by Guyana of its sovereignty and sovereign rights will be wholly inconsistent with the Geneva Agreement and the rule of international law.” Once again, we are in full agreement with the President in his unambiguous representation of where Guyana stands.

To stand up against ongoing Venezuelan hostility and potential aggression, all Guyanese need to be on the same page, think and operate as one. This is the only manner in which the ambitions of our neighbor could be given an abrupt wakeup call. We may be small, but we will not be pushovers, as every centimeter of territory would be defended by whatever means it takes. Venezuelan leaders must come to their senses and face reality: their claims on Guyana’s rich territory are without the kind of foundation that can withstand the weight of serious scrutiny. The international community has come out on the side of Guyana and, more recently, the United States has been clear and unsparing as to where it stands in this matter. It is on the side of Guyana.

But there is appreciation that those are not enough to quell Venezuela’s claim to almost two thirds of this country’s territory. It is rich territory, as proven fairly frequently: there are huge gold finds. There are massive oil deposits found offshore, with more likely. There are minerals and timber galore that would give ideas even to missionaries. Any single segment of this rich package of natural resource endowments could lead to bordering countries concocting territorial schemes to feather their nests.

In addition, politicians in countries that live with continuing domestic economic distresses have been known to engage in foreign adventures to distract their angry and besieged populations.  This is what could be at work in Venezuela, but whatever it is, our neighbor’s leaders have been put on notice: this country and its peoples are not going to roll over and cave before their naked ambitions, their deplorable manipulations.

The fact that this country is highly polarized should not be seen as an incentive or invitation by Venezuela to test its visions. If there is one issue on which Guyanese have to cast aside their hard differences and close ranks, it is on this specious border issue. There is simply no choice, for to do otherwise would tear this country apart like it has never been before. It is our position that the movers and shakers and strategists in Venezuela miscalculated and overplayed their hand with this latest border gambit, and the auctioning of oil blocks as the basis. If anything, the Venezuela posture gives both the Government and peoples of Guyana the opportunity to come together and stand firmly before what are nothing but raw threats, and deepening belligerence.

There is the risk that this country and its citizens could start looking at the many sons and daughters of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela with a jaundiced eye. For some of those seeking refuge and economic openings here could be plants with the objective of undermining local interests. This is what had come up before the development involving the oil blocks auction. Guyanese authorities have concerns about possible infiltration by agents of the neighboring state who could be up to no good. With our lengthy borders, much of it unpoliced, the temptation for the perpetration of official mischief in Guyana would be ever-present and high.

This country’s leaders have to be cognizant of the fact that Guyana stands as a magnet for agitated neighbors and cunning exploiters waiting for the right moment to make their presence felt here. Unless Guyanese leaders are at their keenest and wisest, this country could be subject to a host of threats, including from some of those who come to partner with us. When Guyanese lookout for each other, and include everyone, then the odds of this country gaining the upper hand just went through the roof.