Your Eyewitness has been referring to the Venezuelan leader as “Mad” Maduro. But this ain’t because he’s “throwing talk” at the ex-bus driver – who’s done quite well for himself, thank you! – but because the man doesn’t think or act rationally. And that’s why he’s so very dangerous!! To deal with him, we gotta understand the nature of his madness, and go from there!! Evidently, Mad Maduro’s madness doesn’t stem from some organic disease like, say, syphilis – which was said to’ve killed Lenin. After all, we now have penicillin!!
Nah…Maduro’s mad because he’s a simple fella who was thrust into a position waaaay beyond his pay grade by his mentor Chavez – and he is mechanically following whatever Chavez was doing. Chavez was a Marxist true believer who ignored Burnham’s disastrous flirtation with that doctrine for development, and repeated all the same mistakes. Nationalizing the “commanding heights of the economy” – read oil and the US majors! – and doling out money and social services to his supporters as if his treasury were bottomless!!
And, of course, it led to ruination – since they were ignoring a basic rule that transcends whatever economic system: you first gotta produce, before you can distribute!! With the oil majors gone – like with our bauxite and sugar owners under Burnham – the economy imploded!! Now, you’d think that when Chavez croaked, Maduro – who succeeded him as interim president – would’ve realized this truth and started focusing on production. But nah…he kept on doling out goodies, so’s to increase his personal support base to be re-elected!! And his populist policies – plus pissing off America because of kicking out Exxon and Chevron etc – meant he kept on digging the hole to get out of the hole he was in!! And THAT’s why he’s mad – since the logical thing would’ve been to start digging a sloping tunnel upwards to the surface – by making conditions attractive for capitalist entrepreneurs to return!! He didn’t even have to be smart – he coulda just looked at China that did it!!
So, we get to the standoff Mad Maduro’s created by raising the ante on our western border. What do we do?? Now, unquestionably, Maduro’s in the same position as Netanyahu in Israel vis-a-vis Gaza – his firepower’s immensely superior to ours, and we don’t have the numbers for a war of attrition. We need to cultivate some powerful friends – whose interests align with ours.
First, there are the Yanks – who wouldn’t like Exxon to be hit a second time by the Venezies. But the Yanks are now playing nice to Maduro because 300M barrels of oil are more than 11!!
So, let’s hedge our bets – court Brazil, which has always been a competitor of the Venezies!!
Realizing that even if their oil ain’t running out, eventually the world’s gonna be turning to new sources, the Saudis have decided they can’t keep being a one-trick pony. They’re not just busy diversifying their economy, but looking for other places to invest – other than the US, where a preponderant amount of their reserves of over US$400B are parked!! They started making nice with Russia and China long before Gaza!!
So, we see a Caricom delegation jetted over to Riyadh to explore business opportunities, after the latter had started the ball rolling last year when they met Caricom leaders at home – including Pres Ali. The Saudis had requested a Saudi Desk at our MoF to handle their investments – and maybe we might hear of some concrete commitments? Well, one thing for sure, our entry into the oil producing club gives us another reason why Riyadh might look at the vast strategic opportunities available in our immense hinterland – which our Government’s opening up with highways.
…fossil fuel phase out
They say “fossil phase out” is at the top of the upcoming COP28 meet. Sure!! Never mind the bigger users – the US, China, the EU etc – are expanding exploration, drilling, and use of fossil fuels!!