Thursday, Mar 21, 2019
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Darren Henfield’s endorsement of Juan Guaidó is the right decision

Dear Editor,

North Abaco MP Darren Henfield was appointed minister of Foreign Affairs by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis. Before his appointment in 2017, I was of the view that Brent Symonette would have been given that important post. Henfield’s appointment underscores Minnis’ confidence in his ability to faithfully and efficiently carry out the foreign policies of the Free National Movement government, despite him being a parliamentary rookie. In late January, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement to the media supporting the interim presidency of Venezuelan Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó, over incumbent dictator Nicolas Maduró, a protege of the late Hugo Chavez. This decision, I believe, was not made unilaterally by Henfield. In all likelihood, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ position was arrived at collectively by the Minnis Cabinet. Henfield did nothing wrong. Why all the fuss?

Former Foreign Affairs Minister in the Progressive Liberal Party administration Fred Mitchell, as well as the prolific letter writer who goes by the pseudonym The Graduate have taken issue with Henfield’s position on the unfolding crisis in Venezuela. The Graduate is of the view that Henfield should’ve adopted the official laissez faire position of CARICOM. The Graduate seems to be of the viewpoint that Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has no part in the government’s position on Venezuela. Both Mitchell and The Graduate, whose writings suggest to me that he’s a retired FNM parliamentarian, believe that The Bahamas should remain neutral in the Venezuelan matter, like Mexico has chosen to. To quote Edmund Burke, evil prevails when good men fail to act. The socialist Maduró has stifled true democracy, going as far as incarcerating political opponents. Moreover, he has ignored the European Union’s ultimatum to hold a snap election.

His main argument for retaining power in the face of mounting international pressure is that United States President Donald Trump and others are conspiring to get their hands on Venezuela’s oil. However despite its massive oil reserves, the wealth of that country has not trickled down to the average citizen. For instance, there are credible reports of Maria Gabriela Chavez, daughter of Hugo Chavez, having a net worth of $4.2 billion, despite being only 35 years old. The governing United Socialist Party has frittered away the financial resources of that oil rich country. Venezuelans deserve better.

The Bahamas has been a member of CARICOM since July 1983. One of the stated goals of the organization is to coordinate foreign policy. In the Venezuelan matter, The Bahamas has rightly dissented from CARICOM. While Turkey, Russia, China, Nicaragua, Cuba, Iran and Bolivia support Maduró; the United States, Canada, the United kingdom, Spain, France, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Brazil, Argentina, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Latvia, Israel, The Netherlands, Lithuania, Portugal, Finland and Poland are all in support of Guaidó. In my estimation, The Bahamas finds itself in very good company. Look at the majority of the countries supporting Maduró. The majority of them are totalitarian. In that regard, I can understand why Henfield has come out in support of Guaidó.

— Kevin Evans

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