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US Secretary of State likely to visit Guyana next week

United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo

United States (US) Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo is expected to visit Guyana next week, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry Ambassador Audrey Jardine-Waddell confirmed Saturday.

The details of the visit are not yet available.

The visit is tentatively scheduled for September 17 to 18, 2020.

Mr. Pompeo had in the past five months threatened to impose stiffer sanctions on the then Guyana government and Elections Commission officials if the figures from the national vote recount had not been used to determine and declare the results of the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections.

An American embassy spokeswoman did not immediately respond to queries about what is expected to be on the agenda of Secretary of State’s visit to Guyana.

Earlier this year, then President David Granger had confirmed that the US had asked Guyana for permission to use its medium wave radio broadcasting frequencies to beam Voice of America programmes from Guyana to Venezuela. Mr. Granger had said he had told the US that it would have been too risky for Guyana to do so. The American embassy had subsequently stated that it was no longer interested in that project.

There has been widespread international speculation that US President Donald Trump would engage in an ‘October Surprise’ invasion of Venezuela to remove leftist dictator, Nicolas Maduro in order to boost the American leader’s chances of re-election on November 3, 2020.

The opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), just after leaving office last month, had promised to be vigilant against Guyana being used as a staging ground to attack any of its neighbours.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs, Michael Kozak last month welcomed Guyana’s support for a call for Venezuelans, including the military, back the establishment of a transition government to prepare for free and fair general elections. “Great to see Guyana adds its voice for the call to restore democracy in Venezuela. The US encourages all democratic countries to commit to helping the Venezuelan people achieve a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future,” Mr. Kozak is on record as saying.

The once staunchly left-leaning People’s Progressive Party (PPP), on returning to office after a near five-year break, appears to be a very strong US ally. One of its first public acts was its support for the US’ candidate to be the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a clear break with the convention that a Latin American would be at the helm of that Western Hemispheric organisation.