• 24 Jun, 2024

Guyana should seek India’s help to calm Venezuela’s Behavior

Guyana should seek India’s help to calm Venezuela’s Behavior

Guyana should seek India’s help to calm Venezuela’s Behavior

Venezuela’s Maduro is not likely to listen to any Western power on its planned annexation of Guyana territory it claims. He appears belligerent. But he may be inclined to listen to a powerful country like India or some other eastern power that has soft power influence over Venezuela. India, a respected leader in Global South, could have calming influence on Maduro given India’s status in world affairs.
 
President Irfaan Ali and Vice President Jagdeo briefly met Indian PM Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the COP 28 in Dubai last week. The nature of the discussion or talk was not known. I am certain that our delegation raised the matter of Venezuela’s claim to our legitimate territory and sought India’s assistance to support our side. India has had a history of warm, friendly relations with Venezuela that at one time hosted the Non Aligned Movement summit that India helped to found. With the right nudge, India could help to get Venezuela to tone down rhetoric and actions on the other side of the border.
 
India has significant influence on Miraflores. India has provided symbolic support to the Chavez and Maduro regimes at international forums and engaged in healthy trade. Left wing political parties in India consistently supported Maduro and Chavez. In addition, India has sent foreign aid to Venezuela.
 
Prior to economic sanctions, India used to purchase significant amounts of Venezuelan. Since the lifting of sanctions a couple weeks ago, India signed contract to purchase 1.7 millions of barrels of oil per day over an extended period, the most by any purchaser of Venezuelan oil; it is a long term contract. Such trade relations involving massive amounts of money carry heavy influence. India will be willing to assist us with regards to Venezuela never mind we have not made our oil available to it. But must not be bashful in seeking assistance never mind we refused to sell our oil to India.
One recalls a couple years ago, India begged to purchase Guyana lifts of oil at market price and without Guyana having to pay a commission to sellers or middlemen. Only one lift of one million barrels was sold to India with other lifts sold by Middle Eastern and other middle men to other nations. India was disappointed but not upset that it could not access more Guyana oil. It bough my from other sources at cheaper prices. It is now purchasing three times from Venezuela what Guyana produces in a day but can still buy more if Guyana is willing to sell its oil. India still assists us financially and technically. The reluctance to sell oil didn’t impact relations.
 
India stood by our side for over seventy years, long before independence, providing all kinds of developmental and technological assistance as well as loans. Thousands of Guyanese studied in India for free. India has remained the largest development aid donor to Guyana on a per capita basis over the last few decades. It will continue to assist us.
Today, Guyana needs India for more than for loans and technical assistance. Our survival as a nation is at stake. Guyana needs India’s good office on Venezuela‘a claim to our territory.
 
Our government should mount an intense lobby of India to use its soft power influence over Venezuela to respect international law on border disputes and the recent World Court advisory on its claim to Guyana’s territory. Venezuela must conduct itself as a good peaceful neighbor. It is not too much to ask! India, a leader of the South, could engage Maduro to stop the rhetoric.
 
Yours Truly,
 Dr Vishnu Bisram 

Dr Vishnu Bisram

Dr Vishnu Bisram is Guyanese born who received his primary and secondary education in Guyana and tertiary education in the US and India. He is a fourth generation Indian. His great grandparents from both his mother and father’s sides were born in India -- Gurbatore from Ghaizpur, Amru from Azamgarh, Sau from Chapra, Mangri from Mau, Bhuri and Bhura Singh from Bharatpur, among others. They all came at different times to then British Guiana (1880s and 1890s) to work on sugar plantations as indentured laborers. After serving ten years, they were freed laborers. They remained on the colony rather than returned to India, married and had children. They used the savings from indentureship to purchase landholdings to cement their ties to their adopted land. They were not given free land. Vishnu Bisram is ninth of twelve children of Gladys and Baldat, rural farmers, she also was a seamstress and he a taylor and they attended to a kitchen garden as well. Vishnu attended the St Joseph Anglican (called English) primary school from 1966 to 1972. In 1972, he passed the annual nationwide Common Entrance exam winning a scholarship place to attend the government Berbice High School in New Amsterdam, some 17 miles from his home village of Ankerville, Port Mourant. He declined the placement scholarship and opted instead for the private Chandisingh High School to which his family pad to pay a tuition. He entered for eight subjects at the Cambridge University Exam in 1977. Vishnu migrated to the USA in 1977 to further his studies. He enrolled at the City College of City University of New York September that year at age 17, studying Bio-Chemistry and also completing a major in Political Science. After his BSc in Bio-Chem, he pursued graduate studies in International Relations earning a MA. He went on to complete multiple post graduate degrees including doctorates in Economics, Sociology, History, Political Science and Educational Administration. Dr Bisram taught for over forty years in various subjects in the US. He also served as a newspaper reporter and columnist for over four decades and is a well-known pollster in the Caribbean region. He is a specialist on the Indian diaspora traveling extensively around the globe to research and write about Indian communities. He published countless articles on various subjects in the mass media, journals, and books. He also organized international conferences on the Indian diaspora and presented papers at many conferences. He was a guest lecturer at universities in Mauritius, India, Fiji, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname, USA, and other countries. He is a well regarded political analyst on American and Caribbean politics. He makes him home in Guyana, Trinidad, and America and travels frequently to India.