Dancing around…

…the Cold War

As we wind down our 50th Independence celebrations, one of the (many) things that struck your humble Eyewitness were the gaps in the accounts of how we “won” independence. Fifty years is a long time to get our story straight than the fairy tales spun back in 1966. After all, after 30 years so many classified files – albeit heavily redacted – have been released under the US and British Freedom of Information Acts. But somehow everyone – even our historian President – managed to dance around them.

This isn’t a matter of digging up old sores… in fact one of the largest sores is alive; full of pus and could burst any day now. Your Eyewitness, of course, is talking about the Venezuelan Border Controversy and the US’ successful moves to remove Cheddi Jagan and the PPP from office. There’s no shame in admitting the US used several of those who’ve been honoured for “fighting for independence” to accomplish their “regime change”. It matters not that those ensconsced in power might’ve been “opportunistic” – power is ALWAYS opportunistic.

The choices were stark – in the Manichean struggle between Russia and the US, both sides believed THEY were the Forces of light and the other were the forces of darkness. We had to pick sides and Burnham picked the winning side. It’s as simple as that… there’s no need for folks to get their bucktas into knots when this is discussed openly.

The US did whatever was necessary to get out Jagan, who convinced them he was a “commie fellow traveller”. The efforts weren’t confined to Kennedy deploying the CIA and flying over specifically to get Macmillan to sign along the dotted line in 1963. He also flew over to meet the US’ close ally – the President of Venezuela Betancourt at the end of 1961, to tie down a “plan B”. Betancourt, like all his right-wing predecessors and successors were heavily anti-communists and worried a PPP communist government would help the Cuban-trained MIR guerrillas operating in their East.

Sir Shridath Ramphal – a man in the know from those days – just came out with a government-funded booklet wherein he purports to discuss Venezuela’s “baseless” claim. He perorated at its launching – “The Venezuela claim upon us is a calumny born of greed, nurtured by falsity and fable and maintained by political demagoguery. It combines greed, lies and xenophobia into a toxic brew; but it is a brew stirred not by the ordinary people of Venezuela… but by the classes and forces, cliques and cabals in Venezuela who pursue their own ends.”

Wow! Can we hope he’ll (gasp!) talk about the Americans’ role?

…but still provoking

You never really know people, do you? Your Eyewitness was pushed into this philosophical frame of mind as he tried to digest the latest effusion form Finance Minister Winston Jordan. When Pressie announced his Cabinet last year, he’d figured the former Budget Director would be a professional who’d stick to crunching the numbers rather than the other contender Mr Greenidge who might’ve been more political.

But Mr Jordan quickly took to the cut and thrust of politics from the moment he presented his first (half) budget. Even gratuitously took on the Opposition Leader. One could only figure he’d been nursing a whole lotta grudges from when he was a peon in the PPP’s finance back room!

Anyhow, he just came out with a statement as to why the Public Servants weren’t going to get any “significant” raise even this year. Claims the money had to be used to bail out sugar workers. Now why would he do that, if not to stir up trouble?

Weren’t billions also used to subsidise electricity in Linden?

…the protocols

In the case of the snub inflicted to the Opposition Leader and the PPP MPs, why hasn’t there been an explanation as to who were all those folks in the VIP stand?