OPINION: Venezuelan aggression and economic imperialism will not stand!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 9 April 2024, 22:48 by Denis Chabrol

By Dr. Randy Persaud, Professor Emeritus

The so-called Organic Law for the Defence of Guyana Essequiba passed in Venezuela on April 3, 2024, is null, void, and dead upon arrival in Guyana, in the Caribbean, and in the international community. No country in the world that accepts the basic principles of international law will respect the conspicuous bullying of the Venezuelan regime, a regime that does not have even the most minimum internal legitimacy, much less any credible standing in the world community of nations.

Mr. Maduro will soon find out that brinksmanship does not pay off. Not only will Venezuela fail in its irresponsible behavior regarding the Essequibo, but Maduro himself will discover that history has not been kind to the leaders of dictatorial regimes of recent. Mr. Maduro should carefully review what has been the fate of those who believe that they can violate international law and get away with it. He should also know that the people of the Caribbean have a long history of economic imperialism, and that we know how to fight it. Notwithstanding his bombastic claims about socialism, Venezuela is nothing but an unsophisticated economic imperialist. Guyana will not pay for the mismanagement of the Maduro regime.

The people of Guyana take this opportunity to thank our sister nations of CARICOM who have issued a stinging rebuke of Maduro’s heavy-handed, illegal, and brazen designs against Guyana’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty. The CARICOM statement on April 8 (2024) brought attention to the “unacceptable escalation” of the Venezuelan regime. The statement also “[insisted] that dialogue and an adherence to international law are the only viable paths to achieve a just and lasting settlement of the issues-at-hand. The alternatives are too horrific to contemplate. We demand, likewise, a patience and a calm, and an end to any possible unilateral, aggressive actions.” If Maduro is wise, he will take the CARICOM statement not only as good counsel, but also as a warning. Leaders of undemocratic regimes who have ignored exhortations of this kind have paid heavily.

There is a good likelihood that the Venezuelan military might think that the Great Powers that guarantee the security of this hemisphere are taken up with Ukraine/Russia war and with Gaza. The calculation could be that hemispheric leadership might be strained on account of current global geopolitical and military commitments. That would be a major miscalculation. The truth is that the Ukraine-Russia war has influenced American war-fighting strategies in ways that make it more flexible. There has been some downsizing of Special Operations forces because of new (and less expensive) technologies that are now being integrated into the warfighting (battlefield) tactics. The full spectrum dominance landscape has seen the integration of such capabilities as Coyote drone interceptors, and platforms that house loitering munitions. A new US Army procurement regime was recently put in place. This will mean that the procurement process is greatly simplified. Note that the US Air Force CCA Program lines up nicely with the new force-structure of the Army.

Most scholars in strategic studies, but especially those in Latin America and the Caribbean, may recall the tragedy of Gen. Leopold Galtieri who took Argentina to war against the United Kingdom in 1982. At the time Argentina was in a massive economic meltdown. Nothing symbolized this more than the collapse of Banco de Intercambio Regional in 1980. Inflation had topped 100% in 1981. The government caved in by dishing out huge salary increases that were not fiscally sustainable. The failure of the National Reorganization Process by the Third Junta pushed General Galtieri into desperate action, expressed in the militarization of a political-economic crisis.

Notwithstanding the large supportive crowds at the Plaza de Mayo, nor the French Exocet missiles, Argentina suffered a massive defeat. The idea of picking a fight to divert attention from an internal political, economic, and human rights crisis did not yield the expected returns. The question is this – isn’t Venezuela in a remarkably similar position to Argentina in the early 1980s? Don’t you think Maduro is trying to pull-off a stunt much like what Gen. Galtieri tried in 1982? Do you see where this could end up for the Bolivarian Republic, as well as for the Bolivarian Revolution?

Nicholás Maduro is taking Venezuela down a path filled with both ignominy and danger. He is mortgaging the future of Venezuela, and generations of those from this once proud country, beauty queens and all, will one day find it unbelievable that such foolish mistakes were made by a regime that had promised a land of milk and honey. There is much to be culled from the statement by CARICOM, and the Venezuelan leadership should avail itself to the message. Aggression will fail. It will also take down those who prefer war, rather than peace.

Dr. Randy Persaud is Adviser, International Affairs, Office of the President.