Thursday, December 4, 2008
First Secretary of Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Belize
INTERVIEW WITH FIRST SECRETARY, OF THE VENEZUELAN EMBASSY
The First Secretary of the Venezuelan Embassy, Gabriel Sanchez of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, was interviewed by this reporter, this morning, on the situation with the ALBA TRADE ORGANIZATION. Gabriel did a credible job of explaining from his geo-political field, but apologized for the Embassy, as they had no in-house economic and commercial staff at the Embassy. Our questions were more pointed; on how the private sector would be able to export to Venezuela through ALBA. He didn’t have any answers to economic and commercial questions, but promised when he returned from Caracas to find things out over there. He was flying out tomorrow. We found him very charming, warm, open and kind to deal with.
We were handed an updated ALBA FACT SHEET to read. Somewhat expanded from the information we got from the internet. He did point out, that the interest of ALBA was mainly a government to government one. That ALBA did not wish to work with the Private Sector. A project could be written and proposed by organizations and cooperatives and would be read and discussed at the level of the Chancellors in ALBA. They might consider Social and Poverty type organization proposals. His own function was more of a geo-political one.
There was really no satisfaction from private commercial export for profit enquiries. ALBA wanted to deal on a larger playing geo-political playing field. First Secretary Gabriel did say that he had, numerous enquiries from the private sector on exporting goods to Venezuela, from here in Belize, for which he currently had no answers in the current formation and intents of ALBA.
From reading the new updated booklet on ALBA, it does seem to be a re-hash of the methodology in trade and geo politics of the EASTERN BLOCK countries, from the end of World War 11, ( around 1952 until 1982 ) until the Berlin Wall fell and the association of Eastern Bloc countries trading system bankrupted, rich oil producing, Mother RUSSIA. Fortunately, I had just read a book titled POLAND, which has chapters on this era in the 1960's, 1970’s and 1980’s and the eventual collapse of this so-called poverty fighting type of trade system through the Eastern Block countries of Central Europe. ALBA seems to be the same philosophy of thought in trade, though there is the possibility that the thinking in Venezuela is adjusting and evolving, to real politics of trade. This methodology historical examples have shown are based on theoretical idealistic desires to fight poverty, but come crashing down, over the emotions of GREED and human nature.
I took the opportunity to ask the FIRST SECRETARY about an earlier proposal for ALBA for an earlier Belize airline service between Caracas and Belize, sent to them earlier this year. He checked the Embassy files and staff and said they did not get it. He was very interested in getting it. Perhaps we can hand deliver it next time he returns? This presumes then, the Belize National Post Office Censorship people, sidelined this piece of mail destined for the Venezuelan Embassy, for political reasons? First Secretary Gabriel Sanchez did say that Venezuela were considering assigning a Boeing 737 from the Venezuelan Airline, CONVIASA to set up a Caracas, Belize run. He said, there were getting to be a lot of Venezuelans in Belize and they needed a plane to practically service people and tourism. I implored him to let Belize do it, on a much smaller less expensive scale.
ALBA currently has Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Honduras, Cuba, as full term members. Guest Observer countries are: Uruguay, Ecuador, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and probably Belize maybe? The conflict for Belizeans, is geo political. The ALBA signing contract, puts Venezuela and other Leftist leaders of the Americas in the controlling votes for International forums, speaking on behalf of the group. Belize has already signed those over to CARICOM. The ALBA trade group reads very much as a control mechanism copied from the Soviets during the Cold War era in Eastern European countries. While the expressed goals are laudable, the achievements were never made in Eastern Europe. The system there, created an entrenched elite political control class and a couple of levels of bureaucratic semi-elite privileged classes and shortages for the masses of the poor. Eventually the system collapsed in rebellion and bankruptcy. Perhaps ALBA will succeed where Eastern European countries failed?
Belize has received some GRANTS from Venezuela and also is running up a fuel tab for imported oil products brought in on credit at low interest.