Straight Talk

The month of March is significant not only for the PPP, but for Guyana as a whole. As is well known Dr. Cheddi Jagan was born 22nd March, 1918 and died on 6th March, 1997. He dedicated his entire life to the cause of free, independent and democratic Guyana.
Mrs. Janet Jagan also died in the month of March, which has had significance for the month of March.

We reproduce below an article written by Dr. Jagan, which was published in the Mirror newspaper under his column “Straight Talk.”
(Hydar Ally)

February 2, 1987,
Editor, Toronto Star
Toronto, Canada

Permit me as a former Premiier to add to former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s sentiments expressed in your issue of December 4, 1986 on the theme Poverty, Intervention, Development and Democracy.

These subjects are inter-linked and interacting. There is also an inter-linkage and reciprocal action between economies, politics, ideology and culture.

First of all, some facts about the explosive Third World.

The total external debt of the Third World is estimated at US$1001 billion at the end of 1986.

Africa’s aggregate debt stands at $170 billion at the end of 1985. This was 340 per head, more than the income of most Africans. The foreign debt of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries is nearly $100 billion.

The Latin American foreign debt increased from $10 billion in 1966 to $240 billion in 1961. In the 1980-85 periods, the indebtedness nearly doubled, reaching $368 billion.

The Latin American foreign debt will increase from $358 billion in 1985 to $475 billion in 1990 and to $692 billion in 1995, according to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The sum total of profits obtained in the region by American monopolies alone from 1945 to 1930 was more than 120,000 million dollars. Through this period, the entire flow of American capital (both private and state) to Latin America amounted to only a quarter of this sum.

In the 1980′ s, Latin America became a net exporter of capital. In the 1982-1965 period, the net transfer of profits, principal and interest was US$106 billion, the annual average for the 1981-1985 period being $36 billion.

Flight of capital, particularly due to IMF-imposed devaluation, Latin American deposits in US banks total between $110 to $170 billion (US).

In 1961 and 1962, according to UNCTAD, ‘the prices of basic products that constitute 40 per cent of Latin American exports and 60 per cent if energy sources are included, dropped al-most 31 per cent, the largest decline in the last twenty years.

The industrialised nations said the ILO recently, are blockinc world trade and severely limiting growth in developing nations by their increasing protectionism.

The prospects are bleak.

According to ECLAC, the 130 million living in conditions of total poverty or critical poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 1980s will rise to 170 million by the year 2000; the 80 million unemployed. And under-employed in t98O will reach 112 million in 1995.

The poverty and hunger of the vast majority, about seven-eighths of the Third World countries are due to the fact that they are capita1ist-orientd with a deformed industrialization and are linked to the crisis-ridden world capitalist system in a status of dependency,. The dependence leads to under-development, backwardness, poverty and instability, which in turn, in a vicious circle, strengthens the dependence

According to ECLAC… “From 1974 to 1980, external dependence grew and became more complex.

This dependence has led to a growth rate of less than 1% per year in the 1981-85 period, instead of the 7% target set by the ECLAC Programme of Action.

To attain the goals of the UN International Development Strategy; the annual growth rate for the rest of the decade would have to be around 14%.

This is clearly an impossibility.

For development, democracy and people’s meaningful involvement at the political, social and economic levels are vital. But equally important for the eradication of backwardness and poverty are a genuine independence in domestic and foreign policies; a correct economic planning strategy; planned proportional development of the economy; an end to extravagance, corruption and political and racial discrimination.

Democracy is a form of state. And the state is an instrument of a class, either the bourgeois or the working class.

When the USA speaks of democracy, it obviously means bourgeois democracy.

This means IMF/World Lank conditionality linked to Reaganomics, the freedom of the market place” and the creation of an investment climate.

In other words, for the Third World, this means not simply capitalism, but dependent capitalism with a deformed industrialization, which leads to under-development and poverty and ultimately to the death of liberal democracy.
Those states which chose an independent, non-aligned course are attached indirectly as Nicaragua, Angola, Jamaica (Michael Manley), Chile (Salvador Allende) and Guyana when I was Premier or directly as the Dominican Republic (1965),Vietnam and Grenada under the PRG (1973).

There is only one sane alternative to intervention, the maddening arms race, the danger of a nuclear holocaust. And that is the acceptance of ideological pluralism and peaceful coexistence, and East/West and North/South dialogue for development.

Yours sincerely,
Cheddi Jagan