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GUYANA | US hints at possible sanctions should the election results disappoint them

Featured Acting Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Kozak. Acting Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Kozak.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, March 12, 2020 - The United States is once again flexing its muscles in the Caribbean. This time, Acting Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Kozak is taking aim at the electoral stand-off in Guyana, which was settled by the country’s Supreme Court, resulting in a re-start of the tabulation of the Statement Of Poll (SOP) as is required under the law.

As is now the practice under the Trump Administration, Kozak threatened on Twitter that “Under U.S. law and practice those who participate and benefit from electoral fraud, undermine democratic institutions and impede a peaceful transition of power can be subject to a variety of consequences.”

In a succeeding tweet, Kozak declared that “De facto regimes do not receive the same treatment from us as democratically elected governments. #Guyana

This is a clear hint that the U.S. will not recognise the David Granger-led administration if he is sworn in for a second straight term without the results of the March 2 elections being properly verified before they are declared.

However, according to the ruling by Chief Justice Roxanne George, “It would be for the Returning Officer, and or the Deputy Returning Officer to decide whether in the interest of transparency the addition process should be restarted or continued from where it was left off. It would also be for these functionaries to determine the best method of tabulating the Statements of Poll. Again, it cannot be for the persons present to indicate how this should be conducted. So, I want to emphasize, that everybody else who think they can have an input or a say, it is not their statutory duty”, the Chief Justice ruled yesterday.

Kozak said the United States “join the Guyanese people and the international community in calling for Guyanese election authorities to follow accepted procedures and allow international election observers to verify the results.” #Guyana

However, On the issue of verification, the Chief Justice said that is not catered for in the law and if there are issues following a declaration, the law is clear on the steps that will have to be taken after that.

Today’s tabulation process scheduled for the Region Four Returning Officer’s Office at Ashmin’s Building, Hadfield and High Streets, Georgetown, never got underway because the Returning Officer began using spreadsheets instead of Statements of Poll.

The Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, GECOM Justice Claudette Singh halted the tabulation process for the Region Four earlier today following protests by some about the Returning Officer returning to the process with the spreadsheet process.

The GECOM Chair has said that she wants to read the written judgement that was handed down by the Chief Justice yesterday on the issue, before deciding on the way forward.

According to TeleSUR, "Kozak, 73, began his work in the 1970s when he worked as a negotiator on the Panama Canal Treaties during the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations. He then participated in the U.S. role to downplay the Sandinista revolution in 1978-1979 and was a member of the U.S. mediation team that implemented the Egypt-Israel peace treaty and sought a solution to the Lebanese Civil War."

"As many other operatives of regime change under Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr., he was tasked to push for U.S. interventions in Latin America. Panama’s Manuel Noriega wrote in his memoirs that the two CIA-State Department operatives who were sent to negotiate and then engineer his downfall from power in 1989 were William Walker and Kozak.

"In 1991, during his time as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the inter-American Affairs Bureau, Kozak proposed six different options to go against General Manuel Contreras, head of the DINA secret police during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile. 

The most radical option was to covertly snatch Contreras without the consent of the then democratic Chilean government violating international law and the country’s sovereignty in a bid to distance themselves from the U.S.-backed dictatorship in the name of “human rights.”

Then his path through key nations in the region took him to Haiti. In March 1993, Kozak was a deputy to U.S. Special Advisor Lawrence Pezzullo on issues related to the Caribbean nation and part of the U.S.-backed ousting of Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. 

After that from 1996 to 1999, he served as chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, undermining the Cuban government, especially during the island’s “special period.”

Under Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., he took his vast expertise in regime change to the former Soviet bloc. In 2000, Clinton appointed him as U.S. ambassador to Belarus, by 2001 he mounted "Operation White Stork" designed to overthrow President Alexander Lukashenko. 

During an exchange of letters to The Guardian in 2001, Kozak unapologetically admitted that he was doing in Minsk exactly what he had been doing in Nicaragua and Panama.

"As regards parallels between Nicaragua in 1989-90 and Belarus today, I plead guilty. Our objective and to some degree methodology are the same," he said. 

The strategy repeated in exact detail the tactics the U.S. used to help the Serbian opposition overthrow Slobodan Milosevic, and the Nicaraguan opposition who unseated Daniel Ortega in 1990. Mainly channeling funds to non-governmental organizations, such as the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (Canvas), to push for regime change from within.

According to leaked internal emails from intelligence firm Stratfor, Canvas “may have also received CIA funding and training during the 1999/2000 anti-Milosevic struggle.” The same strategy which later would be used in the Venezuelan guarimbas and Nicaraguan anti-government protests. 

As the Western Hemisphere bureau is responsible for implementing U.S. policy in Latin America, Kozak returns to the region where he learned his trade as a coup master ready to constrict those countries that are not aligned with the U.S.

 

 

 

 

Last modified onThursday, 12 March 2020 22:21
  • Countries: Guyana

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