It’s a topsy-turvy world

By Raffique Shah
December 06, 2020
Posted: December 08, 2020

Raffique ShahThe ethnic mix of the Venezuelan population—51 percent are categorised as Mestizo (blend of White/indigenous/Afro), 41 percent European/Middle East /Whites)—ensures that those who are flocking Trinidad more than Tobago are almost exclusively from the first mix. They are the equivalents of the “Reds” in our population, hence they are widely acceptable, and accepted, to Trinis on both sides of our ethnic divide, as well as the “Douglars” in-between.

As such, they are beneficiaries of our very complex complexion-sensitivity scale that recognises and categorizes scores of shades of black-into-brown (high brown, light brown, and so on) as well as variations of white that even Whites did not know existed (“bacra”). I submit that if these people were black Afros, if they had what are described as “negroid” features like, say, most Haitians, they would have never made it past immigration, far less to the sanctuaries of rented homes in suburban-to-rural districts. They would have likelier ended up in prison, awaiting deportation to their seemingly-cussed country, with the local population wondering aloud why they must be fed and housed on taxpayers’ money.

Indeed, even as I write here, in Guyana there’s a group of 26 Haitians, men, women and children, who arrived there claiming to be asylum-seekers. They were allowed into Guyana because Haiti is a member of CARICOM, and its citizens are supposed to enjoy free movement among its member-States, even the freedom to work. But the poor buggers will be kicked out of the region’s newest oil-haven, where there is understandable apprehension among that population that others, such as Trinis, who, up to recently, took a perverse delight in locking up then deporting illegal Guyanese, today covet their wealth.

The Haitians, I was saying, will be denied the few rights that CARICOM membership bestows on them even though they may be educated and well-qualified for certain jobs here. In contrast, the bulk of “Red” Venezuelans who are flooding T&T, are mainly menial workers, labourers who, admittedly, work harder than lazy locals, which is good for sectors of the economy such as construction and agriculture. The Venezuelans are also in high demand in the sex trade, which makes them prized possessions of heartless human-traffickers, destined to be enslaved in the netherworld that is the dark side of this refugee crisis.

As I wrote the word “crisis” here, I think it is necessary to determine whether there is in fact a refugee crisis that has emerged from the collapse of Venezuela’s oil industry. I have never doubted that things started pointing south since Hugo Chavez was around and very much in charge of the Bolivarian revolution. I know that the fist of God…’er, I mean America, is always present and making mischief anywhere in the Americas that socialist dreamers enjoy popularity and appear to be gaining traction. But Hugo and his comrades must have made some fundamental mistakes that steered Venezuela’s economy down a slippery slope.

That said, the untimely death of Chavez in 2013, and the emergence of Nickolas Maduro as his successor, which coincided with a global economic earthquake and the collapse of oil prices, must have made Venezuela a too-tempting low-hanging geo-political fruit for Washington, for Donald Trump, and for Venezuela’s envious and covetous neighbours. In this unstable environment, the intelligence agencies of the USA saw Maduro as an easy target for regime-change, which they had perfected in Libya. That they selected a nincompoop to replace him, and having failed to properly assess the strength of the Chavez brand, they threw all of Trump’s yes-men and all their sanctions against him, and he survived. Hell, he seems set to outlast Trump.

Then there is this: with a little help from China and Russia, two world powers that can take on America head-to-head, and some oil-muscle from Iran, these three unafraid to defy Washington’s sanctions, Maduro seems set to survive. In fact today (December 6) he has scheduled elections to the National Assembly, which has been the last refuge of pretender Juan Guaido, who, like his sponsor Trump, is is boycotting the polls, saying it will be “rigged”. Sounds familiar, eh?

Bottom line is Maduro will win, Guaido is not even in the race, and the 25 million or so Venezuelans who have stayed put in the country through bad and worse times, will elect a new Assembly that incoming US President Joe Biden will find difficult to delegitimize on the basis of fraudulent elections, a charge that Crazy Trump has made against him.

With Covid-19 decimating America’s population at an alarming rate, and the rest of the world fixated on how soon a vaccine will be ready to deliver us from the deadly Devil-virus, Maduro fights to live another day (yes, you read that right!), and the T&T Government may yet emerge from the immigrant crisis smelling roses.

It’s a topsy-turvy world, I tell you.

5 thoughts on “It’s a topsy-turvy world”

  1. Shah you are saying what we already know. But you and all the neo PNM writers never ask why the border is open with only one naval vessel in operation.
    Boat loads are coming landing in Quinam hiding in the bushes and coming out slowly blending into the population. Now they use their cellphones to communicate in English.
    They are taking over menial task and getting paid a pittance. As my friends tell me they all over the place and they act as though they are superior to the locals.
    They go to the hospital and get free health care. Who is paying for that? When the PNM said the border closed that statement is an oxymoron statement because it is wide open to Venes but not to the citizenry. Thousands of citizens have to seek a minister certificate, then a high price flight if they can get one. The Prime Minister lamented that even he is not even sure if his beloved daughter will be allowed to come home for Christmas. Maybe he still thinks Kamla in charge!
    Maduro is fulfilling Simon Boliver vision of an expanded Venezuela that sees Trinidad and Tobago as part of their territory. He has already called Rowley and “manners” him about those illegals. Expect him to take a greater interest in TnT affairs.
    When that plane landed in TnT with top Vene officials it was the start of a master plan. What the plane brought as a gift for the greedy Rowley remains a question. Did Maduro gave him a few bars of goal to help with the election and is now using that as leverage over him? These are questions the media cannot ask.

  2. “.I submit that if these people were black Afros, if they had what are described as “negroid” features like, say, most Haitians, they would have never made”

    There is only one problem with that picture, Mr Shah.. our Blank PM… A so-called Black Government sits.. Can you imagine what the world thinks of him? Well, the BLM world.. which in my hood, it’s mainly whites that have those ‘Black Live Matters’ posters, etc. in their front yard..

    It’s a crazy , confusing sight.. from BLM looking in..

    Anyway, is it this Venezuelan child that they are so bent on deporting..×736.jpg

  3. Mr. Mamoo, as an outsider with no horse in this race, your arguments are as focused and self-serving as a race horse with blinders on. You appear to be anti-PNM, and as such you are incapable of making a balanced argument for the readers to form their own opinions. Oh! I digress, maybe this is simply your opinion and not an attempt to inform the populace with a balanced view. You noted that Mr. Shah was stating the obvious, and then you did the same. I think that everyone knows that boat loads of “Venes” as you say are breaching the borders.

    1. My humblest apologies to you. Upon reflection I was a bit hard on the PNM. They are a great party and TnT is doing well. Thanks for the gentle rebuke. Wishing you a merry Christmas and a bright and prosperous 2021. Mamoo out.

  4. Raf, you made a good point of highlighting our obsession with skin color and race. Race and class will always be with us, as long as we continue to fail to address the evil effects of its acidity. Our country was built on the concept that privilege should be accorded to the white or light skinned, tolerance and acceptance to the brown, while the black always have to prove it is worthy of acceptance. Those of us who were around in the pre-independence era knew too well that white privilege was never questioned. As a young apprentice in the oilfields, we were never allowed in the “bungalows” where the privileged lived. The residents were almost exclusively Europeans and sometimes local whites. It never really mattered where the whites came from, as long as they were white they were entitled to the privileges. The browns, consisting of off-whites, Afro/whites,
    light skinned Indians, Chinese, Arabs, Latins and light-skinned blacks were our signature populace who occupied positions of
    grandeur and power. The blacks who were and still do represent as guardians of our democracy, always have to work for the pleasure of others to be recognized. This forms the conceptual basis of how race and class is viewed in our country. With the emergence of large Indian middle class, the issue is exacerbated because another dimension of culture has been added to the mix.

    An example of how finicky we have become about race and skin color is what transpired in the PNM between the leadership of Manning vs Rowley. Manning, who was of a softer brown than Rowley was accepted without question. When Rowley sought the leadership, those of a lighter hue (within the PNM) suddenly found that he was “too black” for that position. Case in point, Louis Lee Sing for whom the PNM received so much flack from Sat Maharaj for first getting a radio license, was most vocal in opposition to Dr. Rowley. He even formed and ran against the PNM even though he was a stalwart PNM. People like Mariano Brown refused to warm up to the leadership of Dr. Rowley till this day.

    From a male point of view, men (both black and Indian) always lived up to the standard that “red women” were the pinnacle of our conquest in our taste for women. This is where the Venezuelan women will find easy acceptance into our male social structure and behavior. Of course this is not new. Historically, some of our most beautiful women can be found in places like Lopinot and Santa Cruz. There is a fetish about our desires when “red woman” becomes a conquest.

    While historically our culture was based on the Afro-Trinidadian experience, as the Indian experience based on the achievement of the middle-class Indians is seriously challenging that concept with an Eastern flavor. That concept is definitely not Trinidadian, but our radio and TV stations are flourishing with the foreign culture which it is hoped will replace the local flavor of music and culture.

    We are unique in our exercise of how we view and appreciate who we are as a nation. We are African, Indian, Chinese, Arabic, European, Latin, Native. The mixtures make us beautiful in physical appearance and behavior. While this mixture interferes with our ancestral homogeneity, it makes us uniquely qualified to boast of our regional identity.

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