Date: Wed, 24 Dec 97 15:46:34 CST
From: David Silver <>
Subject: Thoughts on the Situation in Guyana
Article: 24604

Some thoughts on the current situation in Guyana

By Dave Silver, 22 December 1997

While the People's National Congress (PNC) candidate Desmond Hoyte is contesting the validity of the just concluded presidential elections in which the chair of the Election Commission, Mr. Singh has announced the winner to be the candidate of the People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/Civic) slate Janet Jagan, it is helpful I think to see the historical context.

In 1953 British imperialism suspended the constitution of—then British Guyana—fearing the communist threat. When the country was preparing for independence in 1962 and to counter thecommunist threat in the form of hard line Marxist Cheddi Jagan, the C.I.A sought to destabilize the country by fomenting and financing strikes.

In 1964 Cheddi Jagan received the largest bloc of votes. It was then that British imperialism with the moral and logistic support from Washington unilaterally changed the Constitutional provisions for elections and installed the anti-communist Forbes Burnham who later took office as President.

Both Cheddi and his wife Janet spent time in British colonial prisons for their political activity. This notwithstanding Janet stood for and won a seat in the Guyanese parliament where she actively fought for nationalization of the bauxite industry and generally took positions based on the interests of the Afro-Guyanese and Indo-Guyanese working class for over three decades.

It is ironic that it was the Burnham government that put in Constitutional provisions to the effect that the Courts could not intervene in the electoral process. Now the candidate of the PNC that was responsible for this is seeking redress for alleged errors in vote verification. In an interview with WBAI Mr. Hoyt admitted that the election itself was free and fair.

One should also be mindful of the fact that thenewspaper of record has seen fit to all but ignore this election while it gave full coverage to the Jamaican elections and the visit of Jimmy Carter and Colin Powell. In no edition of the New York Times were the election results from all of the voting districts listed.

The red devil is gone but a spectre still haunts the Times. Progressive people should be aware of the fact that after the counterrevolution in the former Soviet Union, anti-communism comes in many disguises.