The article titled, `Bilateral talks with Venezuela on ice until it ceases aggression –President’ (SN January 31) refers. On this particular issue, I am in full agreement with His Excellency, President Ali. I urge him: There must be no altering of that position, no moving from that place.
This may be surprising coming from me, since I am one that is always open to reaching out and dialoguing in genuine efforts to find some way out of the quagmire. And what we have with Venezuela is more than border controversy; it possesses all the insoluble components of conundrum and the inextricable elements of quicksand. I am all for dialogue, but not under the current insulting circumstances. For, however examined, this is where we are, and what Venezuela comes with under the guise of an olive branch of sorts. This is about the healthy and peaceful relationship between two neighbours, and the sifting for a way out of what has hobbled for over three score years now, but more accurately for over a century when all is counted and considered.
Editor, we are two countries assembled in the supposed comity of nations, with the proper respects that flow from such reciprocal regards, and from that there should be no wavering nor budging. To underscore this point in the most unambiguous manner, we are not some indebted nation to be held hostage by and fearful of a powerful Mafia menace (or geographical and territorial loan sharks), where offers are dangled with the understanding and confidence that they can’t be refused. Well refused they have been, and I am totally with the president on this one. That is my position, and I would be warmed to read and hear and learn that it is not only government partisans who rally to such a position, but also that there are no divides, no mental barricades, where this is concerned, and given the circumstances under which this country presently finds itself. To be specific, I would like to see and hear, the opposition and its people who (like me) make use of public facilities to articulate on other issues of our existence. In view of the unilateral, uncalled for, and undeniably belligerent actions executed by the Venezuela Navy responding to the directions of its political head, there can and should not be any partisanship on this today. Or any other time for that matter.
The first task and obligation of the day for Venezuela is to release those men held and boats detained. It must do so quickly, and following such helpful action, there must be no repetition of what took place. Those men and vessels should be in the same condition as when they were illegally seized. All of this is nonnegotiable and are showstoppers. No ice (to use SN’s caption) can be broken; rather the most Arctic deepfreeze must and will prevail. For to cower and succumb to our neighbour’s overture is tantamount to abject surrender, and sets us up to be pushed around again and again. And even then, I am adamant in my opposition to any bullying dialogue that seeks to bypass what waits on authoritative and respected adjudication.
For clearly, the Venezuela leadership is highly concerned and agitated over the hand that it holds. It seeks to go around the judicial process; it is endeavouring to make an end run around the outcome that its leaders have concluded is all but inevitable. So, it is trying mightily (and rather clumsily and heavy handedly) to get us to the table of conversation, so as to squeeze out an advantageous bargain for itself. I respectfully caution the president, the PPP government, and this nation not to fall for that one; or to be mistaken as to the ultimate objectives of Venezuela. My position is that, since it cannot prevail in the courts or the international community, then it endeavours to woo our leaders to obtain an agreement here, a concession there, and a piece of territory as part of the deliberations. That will leave us still unsettled, and the matter would remain never fully resolved. Because, at some time down the road, there will be a different Maduro, who will work ferociously to link his political fortunes to what is now held as sacred birthright in Venezuela.
Editor, that would be all of Essequibo. In fact, it just might be all of Guyana, if we allow these people to run all over us and dictate the timing, the agenda, and participants in this disturbing national affair of the highest order. No backdoor strategies to sidestep the ICJ. No agreeing to dialogue on border.
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