Part II By Manny Budhu.
In Part One of this article, I surmised that the PPP’s return to office in 1992 was orchestrated by the United States Gov’t, and that the PPP made massive tripartite secret deals with the PNC and U.S Dept of State, these deals were designed to mitigate/counterbalance the leftist PPP and maintain a balance of power, effectively entrapped the PPP which will ultimately lead to its demise.
Leading up to the 1992 elections, the United States main concern was Jagan’s leftist tendencies, the various divestment deals the PNC has struck with foreign corporations (that Jagan promised to revisit on numerous occasions) and the possibility of violence in which the U.S will be called to restore order. The U.S was also concerned with “blowback”, like what happened in Iran after the Shah was overthrown. The new Iranian Government’s anti American sentiment was a direct result of the U.S overthrowing their elected Gov’t in 1953 and the terror the Shah reaped on the Iranian people. An unbridled Jagan may adopt an anti U.S stance as a result of kicking him out of Office in the 1960’s. Because the PPP has a plurality little can be done once in power. The PNC main concern was the possibility that PPP supporters will take revenge against its supporters, being in the minority this concern was amplified. This fear may explain why Dictator Hoyte was under pressure not to allow a free and fair election, as many top PNC officials committed war crimes and personal crimes against Indians, they never thought the day would come when PNC would be forced into a free election.
Guyana hold a unique distinction amongst Western Hemisphere’s countries, while most of the political problems in W.H countries are “class based” Guyana’s political problems “are race based,” racially charged conflagration can degenerate very quickly into a communal violence, especially since the foreign actors that moderated the racial violence in the 1960’s are not present in that capacity anymore in Guyana. Furthermore, Guyana was heading into an election when an ethnic conflict was raging in Bosnia and leftist Bertrand Aristide was overthrown by a U.S backed group, forcing a reluctant Clinton administration to explain its policies to the world. Aristide became an embarrassment for the Clinton administration, since it was exposed that the United States Gov’t was secretly funding a force that would counterbalance the Leftist Aristide. Nevertheless, the Clinton administration decided to send U.S marines to Haiti while the international media spotlighting the close U.S relations with Haiti’s thugs.
Phil Agree (CIA’s covert Chief for Western Hemisphere), described in this book “Inside the company, CIA diary” that in countries that poses unique challenges and risks where the U.S has leverage, a “working group” is formed with country experts drawn from State Department, CIA, and NSC to formulate a strategy. This was subsequently verified by the Snowden/Wikileaks documents which revealed that the United States did indeed form working groups that followed Bertrand Aristide and Hugo Chavez around the clock, in the case of Aristide this group tried to prevent his return from Africa to Haiti.
This is what I think happened just before the 1992 election.
- The U.S will use its leverage to pressure the PNC into a free and fair election in return the PPP decided not to go after PNC officials for their crimes.
- The PPP will recognize the 28 years of PNC rule as “legitimate” (this is important for contracts/treaty/divestments deals and international agreements the PNC has signed).
- The PPP pledged not to fire the PNC controlled civil service en masse, and to preserve the Army/Police as is, from an American/PNC perspective this was a major win as it preserves the status quo and prevent a possible civil conflagration as some experts were predicting.
- Despite campaign promises to “revisit” the various divestment deals, Jagan never did. Surely Jagan promised not to touch those giveaways deals in return for America’s help.
Political leaders can make all kinds of promises, when elected there’s nothing to stop them from changing their minds (especially one that got outsmarted in the 1960’s). After all, when Fidel Castro visited Nixon’s White House in 1959, he promised to hold free elections, the American got tricked when he broke that promise. Time for the “lock and key” approach as Mr. Phil Agee calls it. Did the PPP agree not to armed Indians, not to prosecute PNC officials or open investigation into past crimes and let the GDF/Police remain as is and should the PPP break those agreements the PNC will take power by force ?. This effectively created a “lock and key” where one action will precipitate another thereby preventing either party from breaking it.
We know that Hoyte, after the violence in 2001 accused the PPP of trying to import weapons, and we know that Granger said in 2019 that the GDF should never be controlled by the PPP, in other words the Opposition knows very well the GDF is the counterbalance and if the PPP is importing weapons to form an armed Group that would upset the imposed status quo. Furthermore Granger was against Community Policing Groups in 2001 and warned that could cause a civil war. If my assertion is correct, then the Opposition would look closely to see if the PPP is making an attempt to change the balance of power via arming its supporters.
There is something else that caught my attention, starting around 2001, Condoleeza Rice (NSA) to Bush, made numerous statements and recommendations to Venezuela, El Salvador, Haiti, Guatemala and Nicaragua on how to strengthen Democracy and make their security forces more effective in dealing with organized crime plaguing those nations. Curiously, to my knowledge, the National Security Advisors to Clinton/Bush/Obama/Trump didn’t make any recommendations to the PPP to change the makeup of the Army or Police, despite a low level civil war and a record crime wave. After all, balancing the armed forces is on the top of the list for Guyanese political commentators and activists as a way to ameliorate the racial tension. Curiously the U.S did not join in the call for a balanced force, why ?. Clearly, the U.S don’t see it that way. Successive National Security advisors will be brief on the strategy the U.S has in Guyana to maintain “peace” or a balance of power. Such pronouncement while beneficial to Guyanese, and Indians in particular, will destroy the strategy the U.S has in place since 1992, containment.
In 1998, after the vicious racial riots in Georgetown, I took out a full page ad in the Caribbean Contact, based in NY. The ad stated that the PPP made a massive secret deal that rendered them ineffective in dealing with the riots unfolding in Georgetown. The very next day, I received a call from the Editor saying the PNC is blaming the PPP for the ad. Well, Well, Well, two can keep a secret if one stays mum. In 2006, the Stabroek News ran an article written by the WPA entitled, “Did the PPP made a deal with Washington ?”. Mr. David Hinds and Mr.Eusi Kwayana also alluded to “negotiations” prior to the 1992 elections in various articles.
As Henry Kissinger stated, “95% of foreign diplomacy is behind closed doors where it’s beneficial to all parties”, the PPP is now locked in an enigma. Cheddi Jagan who promised “consultative democracy and transparent process” lied and committed a crime under the Constitution of Guyana. I had hoped that NGO’s, Civic organizations and the smaller political parties would take this up, I had briefed several of them. Had this allegation become widespread the PPP would have been forced to make a public statement one way or the other.
In the arcane world of intelligence/covert operations and secret deals nothing can be verified, and by the time it comes to light, the residual values are usually lost. When the CIA ousted Jagan in the 1960’s Guyanese didn’t know who was funding the murder, rapes and destruction, that came to light later. When the Russian decided to remove nuclear missiles placed in Cuba, many Americans did not know that JFK had made a secret deal with Khrushev (The U.S will remove missiles placed in Turkey aimed at the Soviets). Had that info made public the Senate would have impeached him, according to one Historian. In 1977, a drunken Kermit Roosevelt revealed he was in charge of Operation Ajax that overthrew the Iranian Gov’t back in 1953, at a party in New York City, up to that point not even the Iranian Gov’t had knowledge of the instigators. Of course they’re many more that have yet to see the light of day.
Nevertheless, they’re ways one can pry open the black box, when the wikileaks/Snowden documents were leaked, Historians and researchers had a glimpse of what would normally remain unseen. Those documents revealed the U.S gov’t conduct its intelligence gathering and diplomacy on a grand scale and it’s exponentially more in depth than previously thought.
Why did a quiet and sorrowed eyed Jagdeo paid a visit to the American embassy and complained to the ambassador that he has no confidence in the Army/Police, after Sawh murder ??? ( wikileaks cable 406). Why did Cheddi Jagan break his numerous promises to “revisit” the divestment deals ?. In a Chronicle article entitled “We’re free from fear” in 1996, Jagan claimed “he didn’t have a copy of the OMAI divestment deal, the company refused to supply one.”
Why did the PPP reneged on their promise to balance the armed forces which is clearly in their interest and supporters interest. ??. Even more suspicious, numerous PPP administrations refused to do so, are all top PPP officials so incompetent ? ,something is amiss.
Did the U.S conclude that given the atrocities committed against Indians arming them, even in the context of inclusion in the current force structure posed the risk of civil war, or harm to its ally, the PNC. After all, its was Lawrence Eagleburger and Colin Powell, who justified an arms embargo against muslims in Bosnia, saying in a “civil war it’s not a good idea to arm both side armed”.
Guyana came close to communal violence last year, as that violence was starting to go village by village, one can appreciate the U.S concern about a flash civil war had an unshackled PPP decided to arm its supporters and they would be called to send troops. Make perfect sense to handcuff the PPP. (from an American perspective, of course)
Why is the PNC so fixated on PPP arming their supporters ???, Hoyte Corbin and Granger came out against CPG. even during record crime, claiming it would lead to civil war.
The United States may also have a sinister motive to keep the African dominated security forces intact, it will prevent the rise of Indian nationalism which may pose a threat to the overall stability. Ask Indians why they didn’t retaliate for the massacres or the racist attacks after the elections and the answer is alway the same “the police and Army are all black”. During the last election, one Indian man took his gun and shot at the protestors, he was subsequently beaten to death. What would have happened if guns were given to Indians all over Guyana. One can see why the U.S may want to keep the status quo, with respect to the Army/Police. CIA director, Robert Gates testifying in the Senate about ethnic conflict after the Rwandan Genocide said “if we have a plan, and it can prevent a future conflict, we’re on it”
I remain thoroughly convinced that the United States Government, cognizant of its past war crimes, controlling all the cards in Guyana and concerned with protecting its former ally, the PNC, decided to outmaneuver the hapless PPP. The PPP was in no position to negotiate from a position of power, Hoyte was. They’re trapped, and with a rapidly declining supporter base, destined for the scrap heap of history.
To be continued.
Mr. M. Budhu can be reached at Guyana1838@gmail.com