HOW TT GAVE UP LEADERSHIP ON VENEZUELAN IMPASSE

There are none so blind as those who would not see.

So, the leftist ideologues and textbook radicals would prop up dictator Nicolas Maduro in spite of the dreadful human calamity under his watch.

But the Trinidad and Tobago Government’s mishandling of our response to the impasse next door is its worst foreign relations gaffe.

Maduro’s horrible blockade of essential humanitarian aid is a virtual death warrant to Venezuela’s suffering masses.

That is being accompanied by violent military responses, a breakdown of ties with landlocked neighbours and growing international isolation.

But TT had initially offered tacit support to the despot and infuriated the United States and other hemispheric allies, before attempting a middle diplomatic course.

The so-called Montevideo Mechanism and New York lobbying have expectedly yielded nothing.

Like other independent analysts, I had predicted that those forays amounted to mere wasteful international grandstanding; read my earlier pieces.

Now, Caricom has run coldly silent even as the political showdown become more intractable, the human disaster worsens and a regime change is inevitable.

So much for our much-vaunted regional leadership!

Now Russian planes are mysteriously on local soil, and some are predicting a proxy superpower conflict seven miles from our vulnerable land.

Trinidad and Tobago could become a beachhead in such a battle, some local analysts feel.

Yet, in a bizarre turn, our country is hushed, at a time when there is an urgent and crucial need for diplomatic leadership.

The United States ambassador to Port of Spain should be called in for consultations, former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday told me on my radio programme.

Indeed, with proper diplomatic positioning, T&T could be a diplomatic centre between the hawisk Americans and the stubborn Maduro and his dwindling allies.

The situation is complex, everyone agrees.

But Trinidad and Tobago could have provided the requisite leadership if it had stayed fiercely independent and had a vibrant and respected foreign policy and competent diplomats.

But this country is indicated by its doublespeak, its public slighting of the Americans and by a Foreign Minister who defies depiction, except possibly in a J’Ouvert band.

A diplomatic specialist, or a national leader with a worldview like Dr. Eric Williams or Panday, would have embraced the opportunity to assist in diffusing a potential catastrophe at our doorstep.

Dr. Williams acknowledged that T&T “has something original to contribute to the community of nations.”

Fully aware of geopolitical realities, he would have entered into judicious diplomacy.

The issue requires statesmanship!

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