Pompeo visits Guyana Expecting to shore up support on Venezuela

During the short trip, Pompeo and President Irfaan Ali signed agreements to fortify U.S. investment and collaboration on energy and infrastructure when vowing to deepen cooperation on marine safety and drug trafficking interdiction.

Pompeo praised Ali’s aid for the Lima Group, a regional figure of U.S.-aligned countries that have pushed to get a diplomatic solution to Venezuela’s political catastrophe.

Guyana’s new president left a number of his strongest opinions yet about Venezuela.

“We encourage the demand for free and fair elections within our organism,” Ali explained. “With urgency, we feel that democratic principles and values must be respected in Venezuela too.”

The trip would be the first by this type of high-energy U.S. official and highlights Guyana’s rising strategic significance. The nation shares a border with Venezuela and is a currently major oil manufacturer, which makes it an attractive ally for enlarging U.S. political and financial influence in the area.

Ali was sworn into office in August following a protracted legal battle, a Supreme Court-ordered recount, and global pressure on David Granger to resign.

“The United States is prepared to be your spouse,” Pompeo explained.

During a fast trip to the Brazilian town of Boa Vista later in the afternoon, Pompeo stated the U.S. was supplying an extra $348 million to assist Venezuelan refugees, including $30 million to people in Brazil, bringing the total donation to over $1.2 billion.

“They need what all human beings desire — dignity. They need a democratic, peaceful, autonomous Venezuela to telephone home, one where they and their kids can find jobs and live with this dignity,” Pompeo stated, standing together with Native Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo.

The stops from Guyana and Brazil are a part of a visit to four countries — all of that encircle Venezuela, in which the bidding by U.S.-backed resistance leader Juan Guaidó to topple Maduro stands increasingly shaky ground. The Trump government’s support of Guaidó continues to be the foundation of U.S. coverage in the area. And it’s very likely to be a focal point tens of thousands of Latino voters in Florida, where Trump is at a close competition with Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden.

“The reality is we are in an election effort, which is a White House that sees Venezuela coverage as inextricably linked to its electoral campaign in Florida.”

Caribbean countries near Venezuela have been split into the standoff, together with lots of maintaining ties to Maduro’s government despite having a mass exodus of Venezuelans to neighboring islands which has stressed traditionally intimate relationships.

Suriname President Chan Santokhi, at an interview using Pompeo on Thursday, hinting that dialog remains his favorite way toward finding a settlement.

“We will add to the dialog and the job together with like-minded partners to make certain the democratic rights of all of the Venezuelan men and women are loved,” he explained.

The matter is also a touchy issue in Guyana, in which Granger as president had whined about U.S. pressure to permit the Voice of America to establish a radio channel on its land and beam propaganda communications into Venezuela. Ahead of the trip, the Human Rights Association of Guyana expressed concern that the state of 740,000 people might get caught in the center of the dispute between Venezuela and the U.S.

“Aligning Guyana with these seeking regime change not merely simplifies Guyana’s legal discussions over the boundary, but it would also be absurd,” the team stated.

Venezuelans for years have contended the two-thirds of Guyana’s land ought to be theirs, asserting the gold-rich region west of the Essequibo River — combined with all the concordant marine zone at which Exxon’s oil detect lies — has been stolen out of it from an 1899 arrangement with Britain and its then colony.

The comparatively weak nation stands to start cashing in on its newfound oil wealth, together with Exxon transport the initial tankers of Guyanese fuel this season. The offshore areas found in 2015 are estimated to comprise over 8 billion barrels, among the world’s biggest reserves. The earnings could create $168 billion over time, 120 times the nation’s yearly budget.

The sudden riches has captured the eye of major global celebrities and spurred a race involving the U.S. and China to solidify ties. A supporter of all Maduro, China probably sees Guyana as a strategically.

“We do not participate in crony capitalism.”