Kambon: It is in T&T’s self-interest to help Venezuela, but don’t let USA find out

“[…] If the government sold oil directly or indirectly to Venezuela they did not breach any national law and, according to the Charter of the United Nations, they did not breach any international law…

“Apart from our moral and humanitarian obligation to Venezuela, our own self-interest is involved…”

The following letter to editor on the Trinidad and Tobago government’s alleged facilitation of the supply of fuel to Venezuela and the protests of same by UNC MP Dr Roodal Moonilal was submitted to Wired868 by Khafra Kambon, director of regional and African affairs for the Emancipation Support Committee:

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (second from left) and Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro (right) dance to calypso after a meeting at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on 5 December 2016.
(Copyright AFP 2017/Federico Parra)

I want to express my agreement with every rational person who has expressed horror at MP [Dr Roodal] Moonilal’s act of betrayal of Trinidad and Tobago by his public statements on the issue of our government’s alleged sale of oil to Venezuela and his shameless written call to the US government to intervene in the internal affairs of our country.

It is indefensible. I however have a difference with the undertones in the statements of some of Moonilal’s detractors that imply that if agents of the GOTT knowingly sold oil to Venezuela they were wrong.

If in fact anyone in the government of Trinidad and Tobago used a circuitous route to sell oil to Venezuela, I am in support of that action. I only hope that they covered their tracks well enough to avoid the sniffing hounds of the treacherous Moonilal and other political opportunists and the spying capacity of the US government.

The issues here are moral, legal and, from the point of self interest, tactical.

Trinidad and Tobago has a legal right, under international law, as well as a moral and practical obligation to support Venezuela. If the government sold oil directly or indirectly to Venezuela they did not breach any national law and, according to the Charter of the United Nations, they did not breach any international law.

Venezuela’s survival is also in our national self-interest. My only hope would be that if the sale was risked it was executed well enough to avoid sanctions. With all that is at stake here we should not be foolish enough to be seeking any investigation or calling on the government to make any definitive statements on the issue.

Photo: Some Venezuelan and Trinidadian children pass the time unsupervised in south Trinidad while their parents are away at work during the Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020.
(Copyright Ghansham Mohammed/GhanShyam Photography/Wired868)

What is the morality in supporting or in any way giving credibility to the United States position? The Donald Trump regime, morally bankrupt and a danger to the world as well as the US itself, for its own reasons decided to sanction Venezuela.

It has allies like Britain who are only too happy to steal the billions of dollars worth of Venezuela gold in their vaults, allies in Europe who want to hold on to the US for economic and defense purposes, allied governments in Latin America who are beholden to the US for supporting their unpopular rule or going along because they are fearful of its wrath.

They have a few lackeys in the Caribbean including countries that survived hard times largely due to the generosity of the Venezuelan government with its Petro Caribe program. Now with the systematic impoverishment of their benefactor by sanctions, they are prepared to create strains in Caricom by prostituting themselves for a few US dollars.

Apart from our moral and humanitarian obligation to Venezuela, our own self-interest is involved. If the regime in Venezuela collapses through US sanctions or US military intervention, Trinidad and Tobago will be faced with a catastrophe even worse than possible illegal and immoral US sanctions against our country.

A Venezuelan collapse would detonate a demographic bomb that could land tens of thousands more desperate refugees here than the country could absorb. Some will land with the guns they now have in hand for the defense of their homeland.

Photo: Venezuelans have pored into Trinidad by boat.

For the sake of our morality as well as our material interests therefore I call on all nationals to put the interests of our country before party politics and the instinct to be lackeys to the United States.

Let us stand up for justice and hold firmly to the principle of sovereignty of states and nonintervention in our region.

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