Now we know why U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, (D-TN-9) traveled to South America at taxpayer expense.
As reported, Cohen and eight other congressmen undertook a super-secret mission to meet with Guyanese leaders last week.
But many locals reportedly resented the visit. There were just too many white Republican men, according to published reports.
Cohen, of course, is a Democrat.
The only other Democrat was Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.-52).
The remainder of the group were all GOP.
According to the Caribbean News Now, the trip was a “fact-finding mission to continue stronger engagement between the two countries.”
“During the meeting, discussion centered on Guyana’s political stability, security, border issues with Suriname and Venezuela; Guyana’s emerging oil and gas sector and environmental issues,” the website reported.
Geologists estimate 13.6 billion barrels of oil and 32 trillion cubic feet of natural gas exist in the Guyana-Suriname Basin, the website reported.
Exxon officials have already signed an oil deal with Guyanese-leaders. The Guyanese media portrays the Exxon agreement as “another form of economic-colonization.”
Guyana borders Venezuela.
According to the BBC, Venezuela’s economy is in freefall due to hyperinflation, power cuts, and food and medicine shortages.
A recent New York Post article blames socialism.
As The Tennessee Star reported last week, members of the congressional delegation talked about Venezuela’s current refugee crisis and how it will impact the Caribbean.
The Guyana-based Stabroek News reports Venezuelans desperate to get away are crossing over into nearby countries.
That website also reported the local media’s anger over the racial makeup of the congressional delegation.
Other Latin American news agencies made the same complaint.
“The nine members of Congress identified as part of the twenty-five-member delegation are all white, all male and overwhelmingly (seven to two) Republican,” according to one letter the Stabroek News published.
“It is my humble opinion, however, that a more diverse delegation would have had not only an important demonstration effect but would ensure that Guyana is perceived from diverse perspectives by the visitors.”
As The Star reported, the seven Republicans who accompanied Cohen and Peters were:
• Reps. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia’s 6th Congressional District
• John Rutherford of Florida’s 4th Congressional District
• Mark Sanford of South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District
• John Curtis of Utah’s 3rd Congressional District
• Todd Rokita of Indiana’s 4th Congressional District
• Richard Hudson of North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District
• Darrell Issa of California’s 49th District.
None of the lawmakers disclosed the trip on their websites or social media accounts last week.
Cohen, in an emailed newsletter to his constituents, sent out this past weekend, briefly mentioned a visit to the Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras — but nothing about Guyana.