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Kamla Blasts Maduro: Hands Off Essequibo

Kamla blasts Maduro: Hands off Essequibo

‘YOU touch one, you touch all! We unequivocally support the people of Guyana in this crisis. Stay out of Essequibo.’

So declared Opposition Leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as she blasted Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley whom she said ‘sheepishly’ hides behind the comments that the region must remain a ‘zone of peace’ without coming out in full support of Guyana.

‘Listen, my clear message to Maduro tonight is, if you interfere with the Guyanese people, you interfere with Trinidad and Tobago, too,’ she charged.

Speaking at the United National Congress (UNC) cottage meeting at Penal Presbyterian School on Monday, Persad- Bissessar further urged the Guyanese people to stand their ground. ‘I also tell the Guyanese people to stand your ground! You have suffered for too long, but now you have a great future. Don’t let anyone take it from you; stand your ground!’ she thundered.

Persad-Bissessar said, under her leadership, if Trinidad and Tobago’s support means delays to the Dragon gas deal, then ‘so be it’.

She said the Rowley Government must ensure that if the Dragon gas deal does go through, the revenue Maduro collects is not used for purchasing weapons to use against the Guyanese people or the Venezuelan opposition. We should not get into any business dealings with Maduro that could help finance any military action against Guyana, she said. Persad-Bissessar stated that Maduro’s move to want to take control of Guyana’s Essequibo is an election tactic and to ‘whip up’ nationalism under the false pretext that the international community is mistreating Venezuela.

She said he wants to make himself a victim who is defending the motherland and will paint himself as a great ‘patriotic hero’ of Venezuela, as former Venezuelan presidents Simon Bolivar and Hugo Chavez.

Dictators, she said, love to boast about their patriotism while calling opponents unpatriotic and this is a move straight out of the fascist propaganda playbook.
Persad-Bissessar noted that the Venezuelan presidential election is scheduled for 2024. She said Maduro’s intention seems to be to deploy the army due to the threat of war and then control the streets and movements of persons to prevent campaigning and protests.
She said he may then attack and jail opponents for being in league with the imperialists whom he falsely accuses of stealing land from Venezuela.

Due to these tactics, most opposition voters may not even be able to vote on election day, she warned.
Persad-Bissessar said Maduro may return to power after the Venezuelan election and everything will settle down. She said she saw this type of behaviour from Maduro when she was prime minister in 2015.
Persad-Bissessar recalled that, in 2015, the Venezuelan government proclaimed a presidential decree claiming the maritime waters encompassing Guyana’s exclusive economic zone.

She said they did this because parliamentary elections for the National Assembly were being held in December that year.
As the then prime minister, Persad-Bissessar said she stood in full support of former Guyana president David Granger. She noted media reports which highlighted a meeting she held with Granger for bilateral talks and strong assurance of support.
‘That is what I did. I stood up for the people of Guyana in 2015, and the UNC will stand with the people of Guyana now. Venezuelan elections are due in 2024, and Maduro returns with the same tired dictator playbook again.

Threaten Guyana and make territorial claims to whip up national support.’

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