By: Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq.
On January 6, 2021, white supremacists stormed the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. and incited violence during the electoral college vote count. The protestors claimed that fraud in the November election contributed to Biden’s victory. They insisted on a recount, or that President Trump be named the winner.
Thousands disrupted the electoral count, more than 50 officers were injured, and there was extensive damage to the historic Capitol building. 5 people were killed (at the time of the writing of this article). The final tally showed Senator Joe Biden as the victor and Vice President Pence announced the same. Most Americans, including prominent Republicans, were outraged at the unpatriotic raid and condemned the group’s actions.
The raid dulls the dichotomy of American democracy and democracy in other nations. America has long touted its mission of instilling democracy worldwide. For example, democracy has been one of the public justifications for the prolonged wars in the Middle East. Democracy was also a tenet for sanctions against Cuba.
And recently in 2020, the United States imposed several visa restrictions and threatened further sanctions against Guyana for its never-ending recounts and delayed results. In sum, fraudulent votes were casted/counted, there were many recounts with varying tabulations, followed by several civil court cases and criminal cases. U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, imposed visa restrictions on individuals that the U.S. claimed undermined democracy in Guyana. The sanctions were shocking as the U.S. has not so publicly engaged in Guyana’s politics since the CIA’s operations in 1964 to overthrow Cheddi Jagan.
It is likely, though, that the visa sanctions were intended to strong arm Guyana into a conclusive transition. A country with continuing recounts means continuing unrest in its population. An unstable population can in turn threaten the emerging lucrative oil industry in Guyana being led by ExxonMobil, America’s largest oil company. (Exxon and Guyana’s oil deal is disproportionately in favor of Exxon in that Guyana will not receive approximately $55 billion in oil revenue.) Perhaps it is time for reciprocal diplomatic relations between the Caribbean countries and the U.S. to encourage the latter to facilitate a peaceful democratic transition.
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