On July 15, the US Department of State announced that it was imposing visa restrictions on certain members of the Guyanese Government and their families. “Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on individuals who have been responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Guyana,” stated US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“We commend Secretary Pompeo for taking a principled stance for the sake of democracy and for taking the right approach,” stated Hindu American Foundation (HAF) National Leadership Council member Fred Stella.
In a clear and unequivocal statement, Pompeo said “there would be consequences for individuals who seek to undermine democracy,” in Guyana, and that “the events following the March 2 elections indicate that there are forces that have repeatedly refused to accept the will of the people at the ballot box.”
In May, HAF sent a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the United States to “impose target and personal sanctions specifically against those officials in the coalition led by People’s National Congress Reform and Guyana Elections Commission, who have been identified as subverting the electoral process.”
“We believe that this course of action will help hold those who have committed electoral fraud accountable for their actions and push the country towards implementing democratic reforms without destroying the fragile Guyanese economy [as would applying broader sanctions],” the HAF letter goes on to say.
In June, US Senators Jim Risch (R-ID) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues, issued a statement “encouraging Guyanese authorities to begin a democratic transition of power…”
HAF has been closely monitoring the human rights situation in Guyana for over 15 years and has published an annual ?human rights report comprehensively detailing human rights violations against Hindus in Guyana — where Hindus constitute 25 per cent of the country’s population. In 2019 HAF conducted an on-the-ground fact-finding mission to Guyana, where HAF officials met with diverse stakeholders.