Posted: Friday, January 25, 2019. 10:11 am CST.ong>
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
By BBN Reader: Turn on the news, a quick glance of Western media houses will show endless headlines of Venezuelan crisis. This crisis refers to a lack of basic supplies on the shelves, hyper inflated currency, limited access at banks and ATMs, alongside a shortage of pharmaceuticals and other medical apparatus. The Casa Blanca, uses these conditions as justification to condemn the elected Government of Caracas. On Thursday 10 January 2019, Nicolás Maduro, successor of Hugo Chavez, was sworn into his second six-year Presidential Term before the Venezuelan Supreme Court.
Now, why should we in Belize, be concerned?
PetroCaribe! Sounds familiar any at all? Yes, that’s because the ALBA PetroCaribe initiative, a programme of Venezuela, has paved the way for super projects in Belize. Socialist Venezuelan funds have been used for everything in the Land of the Free from deficit funding, to the national bank, to mass road works, to the state of the art Civic Centre, Christmas cheer, and even by one Belize City politician for what some have tongue in cheek called “Petro-Tacos”. Regardless, of whatever side of the political aisle you sit, there is no doubt Petro Caribe has given a lot to the Belizean people. Hundreds of Millions of dollars at 1% over 25 years with a 2 year grace period, this being the greatest financing rates on the globe.
Now the Venezuelan Government, our friends, who so selflessly supported us, are the subject to an international campaign of destabilization. An OAS vote was held against Venezuela, brought forward by the Trump Administration, in which the Belizean government chose to abstain. Is it honourable to abandon friends, those who gave us everything, asking nothing in return, in their hour of ultimate need? To abstain, is to be indifferent, to be indifferent between good and bad, is to choose the side of the oppressor.
Now, forward to international politics. Is Venezuela poor? You tell me. Venezuela has the highest known oil reserves on the planet, larger than Saudi Arabia, and Dubai (UAE). Highest known gold reserves on the planet, alongside the fifth highest natural gas. Venezuela certainly isn’t poor in resource, however US imposed sanctions make it near impossible for the government to access goods, or conduct vital trades. Now why would the imperialists impose sanctions to cripple the Venezuelan economy, and then condemn the Venezuelan Government for the products of those sanctions? Cause and effect. Is this not like condemning a robbed man because his possession of a wallet, is what triggered the evil act of robbery. Destabilization, regime change, political ideology. Some questions must be asked. Would a satellite US-Venezuelan government be in the interest of certain foreign governments to get hold of Venezuelan oil? Is America taking a neo-colonialist and imperialistic position on Venezuela?
Historians, or those even briefly acquainted with US – Latin American relations will remember Playa Girón, (or Bays of Pigs Invasion). For those unacquainted, it was the 1960’s failed invasion of Cuba undertaken by the USA. Expecting that Cuban’s would revolt against socialism/communism, the CIA funded this invasion, unbeknown to them the Cubans under Castro defended the territory.
Embargo, intervention, regime change; How many more years will Latin America be the battle ground for US extraction?
Now for my own part, I am not a communist, nor suggest Belize supports communism, but rather that the world support the principle of self-determination. This article is not about socialism or capitalism, but about right and wrong. Every country must have a right to determine its own statehood and its own forms of government. Every man got a right to decide his own destiny. We will remember in May Venezuela (the Embassy) retained $14Million by way of payments from Belize, however restrictions imposed by the US made it impossible for Venezuela to transfer those funds through the banking system. Instead of holding onto their funds the Venezuelan embassy in Belize announced some of the money will be used to establish 2 eye care facilities free of cost to the Belizean people and solar panels in southern Belize, to allow for improvement of the quality of village life.
Socialism for Venezuela means free health care, and free education, universally regardless of colour, background, or social status. In America, New York City an ambulance ride can cost an uninsured person $500USD to thousands of dollars, leading people to take ubers risking their lives to avoid this cost. No one should go into debt to access healthcare, no one should go into debt to access education.
We in Belize should be careful to not take indifference, as we may very well find ourselves in that same position someday, under the same suffering as Venezuela.
Enough of intervention, more of dignity. More of self-determination.
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