Letters & Opinion

OAS and Elections in Bolivia and Dominica – Part 7

ICOM in crosshairs between Climate Change and Regime Change

Image of Earl Bousquet
Chronicles Of A Chronic Caribbean Chronicler By Earl Bousquet

It’s the day after Election Day in Dominica and The Nature Isle is definitely not the same today – and it won’t be tomorrow either.

Not that the fabled Crapaud has smoked their pipe, but Dominicans thought they’d already ‘been there and done that’ through the successive hurricanes that so brutally shook them upside-down of late.

Most were proud their island was on fast-track to quickly being rebuilt as the world’s first Climate Resilient nation — until they were hit by the worst political storm ever, featuring an unprecedented campaign of pre-election violence.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit was sold to the world as a corrupt and unpopular leader trying to ‘steal’ an election — and according to the dominant narrative, only an Observer Team from the Organization of American States (OAS) could prevent that.

The government wisely took a defensive position and allowed the opposition to show its hands.

But through it all, while Dominicans were left to paddle on their canoe on own steam through the island’s 365 rivers, the international focus of attention was also on the OAS.

An OAS Observer team quietly landed in Dominica just days before the poll, just as the world press was also reporting that a team of well-standing international personalities had issued a joint call on it to explain its role in the military coup that ousted Bolivian President Evo Morales.

The OAS has to date failed to provide any evidence of the ‘widespread irregularities’ it claimed it found in the Bolivia poll count.

But its abrupt annulling of the elections provided the fig leaf used by the military and Morales’ opponents to unleash a campaign of violence against his supporters, relatives, parliamentarians and other officials associated with his government and/or the ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS).

The role of the OAS in Bolivia’s elections again raised fears among member-states that it’s being used more to pursue US strategic interests in Latin America and the Caribbean than to function as a regional body independent of undue influence by its richest and most powerful member, which is also its host and biggest donor.

Ever since taking over three years ago, Secretary General Luis Almagro has not been at all diplomatic in his public statements and actions about Venezuela under Nicolas Maduro, leading to Caracas pulling out of a regional grouping it was a founding member of.

Almagro has also controversially revived the long-dormant Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR) that will too easily allow member-states to engage in military actions against others.

Under his watch, the OAS has also been certified as the standard bearer and certifier for a ‘Gold Standard’ in elections held in member-state.

Now, that ‘Gold Standard’ is being painfully applied against OAS member-states that don’t automatically toe Washington’s line – and especially those opposing the US on Venezuela.

America’s political and economic wars-by-proxy continue against Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, which have strong armies that can put up stiff and costly resistance to US troops in a US Presidential Election year.

But with General Elections due in the three particular Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states identified for special attention and opportunities for regime change at hand, each were considered deserving of being targeted for special election attention.

Dominica, Surinam and St. Vincent and the Grenadines voted at the OAS against US resolutions aimed at facilitating external interference and intervention in Venezuela – and now, they’re paying a price.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica were excluded from the list of neighboring Caribbean islands visited by the US Navy hospital ship ‘Comfort’ recently, in what the US State Department sold as a non-political mercy mission to assist islanders unable to afford needed healthcare.

Then Almagro started sounding very early and loud alarm bells about possible electoral malpractices in Dominica — a full two years before elections were due. And he would later Tweet – after the election date had been announced — that electoral fraud there on December 6 could only be prevented by an OAS Observer Mission.

The OAS tried hard to force Skerrit to entertain opposition demands for electoral reforms ahead of the poll, totally rejecting the government’s argument that there had never been any complaint of electoral fraud in the history of elections in Dominica since independence in 1978.

Besides, the government also argued that both the ruling and opposition parties had won and lost all previous elections with the same rules, with no official complaints whatsoever having been filed by either.

Having lost all legal efforts to stop yesterday’s poll, the Dominica opposition leader openly placed much confidence in the OAS being able to provide the reasons for preventing or annulling the election.

The cards have now played out in Dominica, even though it’s not yet Game Over.

But the storm clouds had started gathering in Surinam last week, where a military court suddenly ruled on a 37-year-old case and sentenced President Desi Bouterse to 20 years in prison, in absentia, while on an official visit to China.

Bouterse called on supporters to remain calm while he continued his trip, promising to not only appeal but to also respond legally to what he described as ‘a political plot’ to prevent him from leading his popular party into next year’s presidential elections.

Elections are also due next year in St. Vincent and the Greenadines, where Prime Minister Gonsalves, commenting before the Dominica election and after the Suriname court ruling, indicated he is quite aware he’s next in line.

But he also gave early notice that he and his government were not about to just roll-over and die, without a fight.

It’s crystal clear that these three CARICOM governments were specially earmarked for punishment and regime change.

It’s now crystal clear that with Dominica still very much in deep post-election traumatic stress recovery mode, Surinam and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are next in political weather forecast for 2020 Caribbean election storms that, like what just hit Dominica, will have absolutely nothing to do with Climate Change, but everything to do with Regime Change.

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