The American firm, which has been hired by Guyana to reach out to United States decision-makers, has begun laying the groundwork to seek support from the House Foreign Relations Committee against Venezuela in the wake of border tensions.
CORMAC Group’s lobby comes in the face of recent threats and incursions to Guyana by Venezuela’s Navy and the interception of two Guyanese fishing vessels almost one week ago.
In a note dated January 22, 2021 to several senatorial policy experts, the CORMAC Group’s Jose R. Cardenas indirectly informed them about the threat that Venezuela poses to Guyana. “I wanted to share this update on the Guyana-Venezuela border dispute. Obviously, we all know that stoking an international incident is in the playbook of every besieged dictatorship. But given the tensions in Venezuela it makes it ail the more dangerous,” said Mr. Cardenas , a former acting assistant administrator for Latin America at the US Agency for International Development.
That email was dispatched on January 22 to several persons including Victor Cervino Professional Staff Member at U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; Viviana Bovo., Senior Advisor for Western Hemisphere Affairs;
Paul Bonicelli, Senate Senior Policy Advisor to Republican Senator Rick Scott;
Christine Diaz, Senior Policy Advisor; Yoder Brandon Senior Professional Staff Member at Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Nuri Gambarrotti, Legislative & Policy Analyst at US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; Brockwehl Alexander Staff Director, Western Hemisphere Subcommittee at United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Gisselee Reynolds Legislative Assistant and Director of Constituent Services at the US House of Representatives; Carlos Monje Senior Advisor and Acting Chief of Staff, and Eric Jacobstein, a senior policy advisor to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
In apparent preparation of Republican Senator Marco Rubio to ask a question to seek a public position on the Guyana-Venezuela row from the Joe Biden-led Democratic administration, Mr. Cardenas advised Mr. Rubio’s Senior Advisor for Western Hemisphere Affairs Viviana Bovo how to contextualise and frame his question.
“The Trump administration has stood by Guyana in the face of Maduro’s threats and believes the territorial dispute should be resolved at the International Court of Justice, which Maduro has rejected.
Will the Biden administration continue to support Guyana in this matter— including its right to develop its energy resources without intimidation— and warn Maduro his pressuring of Guyana will have regional consequences if it continues?”, he Mr. Cardenas told Ms. Bovo.
The Guyana government in December hired the CORMAC Group for six months initially at a cost of U$25,000 per month to “inform key members oft he U.S. Congress, especially those with interest or responsibility for Western Hemisphere affairs, trade, and economic development, about the importance of increasing US cooperation with the Guyanese government, and thus contribute to democracy, stability, and prosperity in the region.”
The firm will work closely with Guyana’s embassy in Washington DC and other officers that may designated from time to time.