Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith (second right), speaks with United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo (right), on his arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport on Monday (January 21) for a two-day working visit. The welcome party included Opposition Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Lisa Hanna (left); and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Ambassador Marcia Gilbert Roberts| Adrian Walker (JIS) Photo
KINGSTON, Jamaica, January 22, 2020 – In a little over a 12-month period, our country Jamaica has played host to 2 successive US secretaries of state: Former head of multi-national Exxon oil company Rex Tillerson, and yesterday, we rolled out the red carpet’ for his successor and former head of the infamous spy agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Michael Pompeo.
Ironically, the rolling out of the proverbial red carpet to Pompeo, is in sad and stark contrast, to the treatment that was meted out prime minister Andrew Holness, who along with the 4 other Caribbean heads of state when they met with Pompeo’s boss Donald Trump at his house in Mar-a-Lago, had to hold a ‘kotch’ near to the exit door of US president’s ‘winter White House’in Florida.
Jamaicans are known for the warmth and generosity of its people, but based on what transpired in the aftermath following Tillerson’s visit, it’s a matter of grave concern to us that we are again being ‘singled’ out to be part of the ‘sharp edge of the wedge’ in carrying out their age-old and diabolic tactic of divide and rule, which is part and parcel of United States of America’s foreign policy throughout the world.
On the eve of the Tillerson’s departure from our beloved island in February of last year, the banner headline in the Jamaica Observer screamed “US Ready to Help, America government promises to free Jamaica from Venezuelan oil ties” and what was our country’s response?
The unilateral seizure of Venezuela’s 49% share in Petro Jam’s oil refinery (which is now the subject of litigation in the courts) prior to the OAS vote which sought to delegitimise the second term of president Nicholas Maduro which Jamaica supported.
Secondly, we supported the ‘Trojan Horse’-like humanitarian aid to enter Venezuela while internationally recognised institutions such as the Red Cross and the United Nations took a firm stance against it.
Thirdly, prior to PM Holness’s visit to Mar-a-Largo, a decision was taken to close the Jamaican embassy in Venezuela, for reasons best known to foreign affairs minister Kamina Johnson-Smith and our prime minister.
Fourthly, Jamaica’s support for the US and self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ of Venezuela Juan Guido’s designated appointee Gustavo Tarre as its permanent representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) which severely undermines the credibility of the leadership of the Andrew Holness –led administration and our country’s reputation in the eyes of the world.
The quid pro quo of Jamaica’s ‘Spanish machete’ action against Venezuela, our sister country that stood with us during some of our most difficult times, in favour of the ‘empire’, is yet to be seen and which prime minister Holness has not yet seen it fit and necessary to reveal, to an anxious population.
The leadership of 8 countries, namely Jamaica, St Lucia, Bahamas, Belize, Haiti, Dominican Republic, St Kitts and St Maarten, whose majority populations and ancestral roots are from a continent and people that are deemed ‘shit hole countries’ by Pompeo’s boss Donald Trump, are once again being called on to be part of a ‘transactional practice’ immortalised in the words of ‘cold war’ warrior Henry Kissinger, which collective amnesia seems to be their rule of thumb.
A campaign is now on in earnest for the influential position of Organization of American States( OAS) secretary General, where their most supine and devout agent Luis Almagro, is up against a formidable duo with the kind of backbone and experience that is necessary to bring back some level of credibility to that august institution.
They are Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcias, the 4th female to have served as president of the UN General Assembly and ambassador Hugo de Zala who once served as chief of staff of the general secretariat of the OAS as part his 42 year stint as a career diplomat.
We must also never lose sight of the role of the OAS and its origins as an instrument of the USA policy in the region, akin to a diplomatic ‘battering ram’, operating in ways in which the United Nations, with all its shortcomings cannot be manipulated.
So it’s very important that the countries which constitutes CARICOM and numbering 15 votes be part of any design which the empire has in order to continue‘run tings’ in this 35-country body.
Given the present situation where the leadership of CARICOM with Prime Minister Mia Motley at its helm and who reflects the best, unvarnished traditions of the founding fathers of our regional body, exemplified in the words of Errol Barrow ‘Friends of all and satellites of none,’ it was incumbent that the seeds of division be sown among the ranks of our sister nations by the empire either through ‘bribery or bullying’ or some other nefarious combination.
Additionally, with the resurrection of the out-dated, calcified and rejected Monroe doctrine where an unholy cabal including Elliot Abram’s , Mike Pompeo and recently fired John Bolton, leading the charge against countries who they deem as a ‘Troika of Tyranny’ represented by our sister countries of Cuba , Nicaragua and Venezuela but which in the view of progressive humanity, represents the strongest bastion of resistance against the empire and its unfettered designs to run roughshod over the peoples of our region.
The OAS along with CIA which the current US secretary recently headed, represents just 2 of the tools that are utilised in carrying out regime change, as was the recent case in the military/political coup which removed democratically elected president of the plurinational Bolivian Evo Morales, for a more pliant agent of US imperialism and the local oligarchy.
Pompeo’s recent comments regarding the virtues of their OAS stooge Luis Almagro and those related to reviving some kind life, in the disastrous campaign of their surrogate and self-proclaimed president of Venezuela Juan Guido, to unseat the democratic and constitutionally elected president of the Bolivarian Republic, are clear indicators of what are the main agenda items in his 2-day sojourn in Jamaica land we love.
I will however offer one word of unsolicited advice to prime minister Andrew Holness who unfortunately along with foreign affairs minister Kamina Johnson Smith, is cast in the dubious and unenviable role as the leaders of the disrupters of CARICOM unity, that we have major issues along with our other bed-fellows which require urgent attention.
Our region has been cited by none other than the former head of the IMF Christine Lagarde, who on her last visit to Jamaica in November 2018, said ‘”youth unemployment in the Caribbean is the highest in the world , fuelling criminality” which further negatively impacts our beleaguered economies at a rate of 4% of gross domestic product per year.
If you add a bone-chilling murderous rampage which has seen Jamaica ‘s daily body count being equated to that of a war zone which is a clear and present danger to tourism our #1 foreign exchange earner , coupled with a wider Caribbean problem of the devastating impact category 5 hurricanes becoming the norm as a consequence of climate change , the ever present energy security issues, should leave us with little time or no time to ‘faas inna our neibors biz niz’, especially a neighbour such as the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela who stood with us in our darkest days when others did not care.
Let’s not allow the dream of Michael Manley, Errol Barrow, Forbes Burnham and Eric Williams, giants of the Caribbean and fathers of CARICOM, to turn into a nightmare and honour their memory especially as they stood up against the empire 47 years ago (19720, in its attempts at isolating our sister country Cuba, inspite of very challenging circumstances in their respective countries of Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad.