Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Cold war reparation
(Aired 28 March 2002)

   I am not sure that we are ready to write the history of the past 40 years of Guyana as yet, since there are still many people who are still in denial about what happened, but I would like to tell you, my fellow Guyanese, what I understood happened in this country all of those years ago and how it has contributed to the poor state we find ourselves in today.

   40 years ago we saw the beginnings of the deep racial division which has persisted in this country until today, but how did this racial divide come about? who fuelled it? and why did they do so? Funnily enough the answer to all of these questions lies in a direct quote from Dr. Jagan who wrote in his book "the West on trial" that the British and the Americans conspired to keep him out of power because of his communist ideology, he even documented proof of this contention in his book and he continued to tell us so on many occasions, as late as 9 months before his death at a meeting in Canada. This proof as outlined in his book could stand up in any court in the world.  

    Dr Jagan was right, the British and the Americans did conspire to keep him out of power because of his ideology, what we have to determine now that that ideology has failed with the demise of the Soviet Union, is, did they do the right thing? Were their fears real or imagined? Was the location of Guyana on the South American continent dangerous enough, because of the real possibility of launching communist ideology and revolution from here to Brazil, Venezuela, etc, for them to do what they did to us?   

  An analysis of the US interests during the period show clearly that Venezuelan Oil was and is crucial to the Americans they would have done anything to prevent the soviets from upsetting that applecart. Brazil is the largest country in South America, which speaks for itself.

   The declassified documents of the time shows that Mr. John F. Kennedy personally, in a letter to Lord Hume the British Foreign secretary at the time, stated categorically that under no circumstances, will the US accept Guyana obtaining independence under Dr. Jagan or the PPP.

    Our People still continue debating and looking internally, within Guyana, for the enemy, it is a foolhardy exercise and will yield no answers, until we stop doing this, we will always be a divided people, we were manipulated from without, all of us Black, Indian, Burnham, Jagan.... all of us, by forces that we cannot possibly imagine, victims of a cold war, most of our own citizens were not even fully aware of.

    To put the era in perspective we must remember that we are talking about the 1962-4 period here Ladies and gentlemen, Kennedy had just brought the world to the edge of thermonuclear war by turning the Russian ships containing Nuclear missiles away from Cuba, the Americans were genuinely terrified, with some justification, I might add, that Dr. Jagan would let the Soviets use Guyana as a staging platform to launch communism and revolution into South America. Che Guevara was very busy doing exactly that during this period in South and Central America. Until the CIA caught up with him and executed him at 1.10 pm on the 9th October 1967. In 1962 the Venezuelans stated publicly that Dr. Cheddie Jagan and the PPP were a threat to Venezuelan security because of their close ties with Cuba and Moscow, and added a new a dimension to the Venezuelan CLAIM.

    Ladies and gentlemen if this country was a sovereign state, controlled by the USSR through Mr. Jagan, who saw the entire world embracing the communist ideology with him as an important player in it, what would have prevented communist incursions from Guyana into the rest of south America? According to our history books the cold war between the USSR and the USA, between democracy and communism, lasted from 1945 to 1991. Under no circumstances would the Americans have allowed a communist to take power in this country during that period. So whatever happened in this country during those years, was allowed, aided and abetted by American interests.

   Forbes did rig those elections, the Americans supported it, they even sent CIA operatives here to show him how to do it, what is not widely known is that Peter d'Aguair was heavily financed by the Americans to ensure that the PNC and the UF would win the major votes in the 1964 elections and form a coalition to keep Jagan out of power. When Forbes manipulated the ballot to exclude D'Aguair the entire ball game changed, American interest turned against him and that is probably why we never got our hydro electric dream.

    Only after the cold war ended in 1991 and communism was declared a failed, nonsensical and idiotic ideology, did Jimmy Carter rush in here in 1992 like a knight in shining armor to save us from ourselves and put us back on the path of Democracy and rightousness. It was the biggest hypocrisy of the entire period. He would never have dared or be allowed by the US to do that if the Berlin wall was still standing. The fact that we were in this socio/economic mess because of American manipulation in the first place, seemed to have escaped Mr. Carter's and the US's attention completely.  

   My question, and the point of this comment, is this, where is the compensation for submitting this nation to this manipulation and destruction for all those years? Are we now to be given only a democratic electoral process and a swift kick in the backside to compete in a world of free markets, the WTO etc, a ravaged, divided and beaten people, victims of the cold war? Is there any justice in that? I don't think so ladies and gentlemen, someone owes us something and I want it, but first our people must stand together, all of them, and demand it. Only then will we get what we want.

 Ladies and gentlemen without a Cheddi Jagan or Mrs. Jagan there could never have been a Forbes Burnham in this country, he was the lesser of two evils and the British, did what the Americans wanted, and supported him. That is why they put the Proportional Representation type of elections in place as a pre-requisite of independence and the 1964 elections, that is why the country was divided along racial lines, it was orchestrated by forces outside of Guyana to keep Jagan out.

    The Venezuelan claim has now taken on a life of its own since nearly two generations of Venezuelans have been brought up to believe that five eights of this country belongs to them, but prior to 1962 the British totally disregarded it, labeling it for what it was, a complete nonsense, it was only when we had to be given independence that it became an issue, it was just another way of controlling the situation, if Guyana had taken independence within the British Commonwealth which is what the British wanted there would be no Venezuelan claim today, They even got the World Bank to withdraw the funds for the Mazaruni hydroelectric project by having Venezuela raise the claim in the late 70's. We marched, we defiantly sang Dave Martins' "not a blade of grass" but we never got our Hydro plant, the Venoes took over Ankoko and we could not stop them. Aluminum is and was a very strategic metal ladies and gentlemen, all vehicles including aircraft today are made from mostly aluminum or alloys of it, even the blocks in our cars are now aluminum, so if we had obtained our hydro electric plant in 1976 we would have been able to smelt our Bauxite, here, in this country, and for example we might now be casting Blocks and cylinder heads for Ford and Honda. who knows? Instead we ended up with a bankrupt bauxite industry; I will not even go into what it would have meant to the industrialization process in this country, to have a cheap, reliable and infinite electrical supply.

  All of that was taken from us, because of the manipulation from outside of Guyana that I am speaking about.

  We condemn the PNC today for walking out of parliament and for marching, we outline the amount of visitors we did not have during the unrest after the 1997 elections, all of it is nonsense, between 1964 to 1992 Dr. Jagan called hundreds of totally unnecessary strikes in the sugar industry some of them lasting 100 days, huge areas of sugar cane fields were burnt, all at a time when sugar was nearly 700 pounds sterling per ton, rice farmers were encouraged not to plant their crops. Financial Aid was given to the PPP by the Soviets to do all of this, that's one thing that Dr. Jagan did not put in his book. I sincerely hope that our Indo Guyanese brothers do not believe that this PPP strike relief came from the British or the Americans?? So the PPP employed every much as destructive measures to pressure Burnham as the PNC's marching which contributed to the economic downfall of this country, all of this sabotage in the sugar and rice industries stopped in 1992. We have short memories in this country ladies and gentlemen; it is time that we start looking for the truth. I was employed by Bookers and then Guysuco during those years as a senior manager, I cannot count the amount of nights I spent in the Versailles backdam preventing and putting out fires, so I can write that part of our history myself.

   So stop pointing your fingers at each other, my Afro and Indo Guyanese brothers and sisters, if you want to point your finger at anyone, point it to the Atlantic ocean, that's where the destroyers of our country reside, to the east to the Soviet Union and to the West to America.

  In the end the Americans and the British got what they wanted, despite everything that happened in this country, from 1964 to today, no Russian or Cuban military force ever operated here in this country under Forbes Burnham or the PNC, spreading communism to South America.

    Now there are a few among us who will say that if we start a national drive to demand this reparation owed to us, we will make enemies of those who are giving us handouts today, well so be it, we don't want handouts and loans, we want reparation, Billions of US dollars worth of it and we can prove our claim in any court in the world, so we should demand it,,, it is our right!!!!