To the Editor,
I lived for a couple decades in Trinidad, which is only seven miles across the water from Venezuela at its closest point, and have always maintained a keen interest in the politics of the country with the world’s largest oil reserves. In the past year or two about 3 million Venezuelans have fled the authoritarian regime of President Nicolas Maduro, seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, many of which have formed an alliance with Canada called the Lima Group.
Representatives from these countries met in Ottawa on Feb. 4, and endorsed Juan Guaido as interim-president of Venezuela. President Maduro is not your average Boy Scout, but like it or not, he was re-elected president in May last year, although elections were not originally scheduled until December 2018. Juan Guaido was first elected to the National Assembly in 2016, having previously served as an alternate for five years, and was chosen by opposition parties as Speaker last month.
Now he declares last year’s snap presidential elections were manipulated and therefore invalid, and gives himself the title of President of Venezuela. A similar comparison would be for the Speaker of the US Congress labelling herself President Pelosi, after declaring the 2016 election of President Trump was tainted.
Only two weeks ago, in what best can be termed an Amateur Hour Gong Show, the dynamic duo of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland were thumping their own chests in Ottawa, as they repeated ad nauseam that Canada always observed the rule of law. This was regarding the ditching of Canada’s Ambassador to China, who apparently made the fatal flaw of telling the truth to Chinese-Canadian reporters about the extradition to the US of a Huawei executive being held in Vancouver.
Cynics may now say that by strongly backing the Lima Group, Canada may have toned down its emphasis on the rule of law, by attempting to receive support from South American countries when that much-coveted United Nations Security Council seat becomes vacant.
So many questions surround Venezuela; should Canadians relax while Ottawa’s somewhat naive dynamic duo become enmeshed in the historically murky world of Latin American politics ? Is the Canadian government aligning with a coup d’etat to curry favour for a UN Security Council seat, and does the Lima Group amount to anything more than a hill of beans ?