Your Eyewitness believes Guyanese gotta become more familiar with what’s going on inside Venezuela in order to understand why Mad Maduro’s beating war drums on our western border. Now, some may feel that your red-blooded Mudlander Eyewitness might be prone to exaggeration about a country that’s about to hold a referendum on whether they should annex our Essequibo – two-thirds of our national territory! Fair enough… your Eyewitness gonna be the first to admit he’s been seeing red for quite a while – ever since Mad Maduro started taking potshots at us after oil was discovered off our shores. Even though Venezuela has 300 billion barrels of oil reserves – compared to our 13 billion.
So, your Eyewitness will simply pass on verbatim an assessment by a Christian Group, “World Vision”, that has helped millions of Venezuelans. “The Venezuela crisis: Driven by ongoing turmoil, as of August 2023, over 7.7 million Venezuelans have left the country since 2014. With fuel shortages and Venezuela’s struggling economy, nearly 4 million people still residing in the country will require emergency food assistance through November 2023, according to USAID.
The overwhelming majority of Venezuela’s migrants, more than 6.1 million people, are now being hosted in various countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. Colombia hosts the highest concentration of Venezuelan migrants — nearly 2.5 million. In the first two months of 2023, the number of children crossing the dangerous Darién Gap between Colombia and Panama by foot was seven times higher than the number in the same period the previous year, according to UNICEF.”
Why? “Years of hyperinflation, rampant corruption, economic mismanagement, and a lack of economic diversification have taken a heavy toll on Venezuela. The country has been impacted by social and political unrest, leading to protests and violence that contribute to a pervasive sense of national insecurity. Once among the wealthiest nations in Latin America, Venezuela relied heavily on its vast oil reserves for revenue. However, a significant decline in oil prices and production, coupled with inadequate Government investments, resulted in the collapse of the national economy. The Government’s ineffective response to these challenges and failure to provide essential social services have exacerbated the crisis, leaving Venezuelans struggling with dire shortages of food, medicine, and other necessities.”
All of the above should be familiar to us Mudlanders who lived through the Burnham Dictatorship. Yet, like Burnham cocked his referendum in 1978, ten days ago, Maduro held a “dry run” on the referendum at 800 centres, where he claimed more than 3 million Venezuelans turned out to demonstrate they wanna participate in the referendum this Sunday!!
Now let’s pick sense from nonsense: would citizens of a country with a 98% poverty rate be interested in voting?? Yeah, right, Mad Maduro!!
…in the Israeli Ceasefire?
We know the 4-day ceasefire brokered by Qatar and Egypt (and behind the scenes the US, represented by its CIA chief) was extended up to tonight. As of Monday, Hamas had released 57 hostages, while the Israelis released 117 mainly youthful Palestinians who’d been detained for throwing rocks, etc at the Israeli Defence Force personnel. The initial figure of 1400 Israelis claimed to’ve been killed was reduced to 1200 – without breaking out how many were due to “friendly fire”.
On the Palestinian side, more than 14,800 Palestinians were killed without breaking out how many were Hamas soldiers. So, what’s going down? Going by past history, Hamas will try to have the ceasefire extended as far as they can by doling out hostages in dribbles – but not soldiers. This is their trump card – since they can be seen by the public as POWs.
In the meantime, Hamas will be rebuilding its military capabilities – while Israel will face increasing international pressures to stop its bombardment.
…on the local scene
You know our local politics is going through a slow patch – possibly occasioned by our own ceasefire due to Mad Maduro’s histrionics over Essequibo – when our politicians are reduced to name calling!! That “no-handshake” started the descent!!