YAHAPALANA AS A PUPPET REGIME Part 14 (A)
Posted on October 27th, 2019

KAMALIKA PIERIS

It is now known that the US wanted to control Sri Lanka as early as 2010, once the Eelam war ended in defeat for the USA in 2009. ‘Sri Lanka is developing on all fronts, economic social and political’ observed analysts in 2010.   ‘The data shows this beyond a doubt’ they said.

In the same year, critics spoke of ‘interests which wish to disrupt our democracy. They wish to breakdown what we have achieved before the next wave of development comes’.  Conspiracies are hatched to undermine the sovereignty and independence of Sri Lanka, said analysts in 2012.

In 2014 it was observed,’ If Sri Lanka has this same stability for the next five years, it will be difficult to manage Sri Lanka.  A weaker Sri Lanka is easy to dominate.    A strong Sri Lankan state would be an obstacle to foreign penetration and sell-off, added Dayan Jayatilleke.  There was, therefore, an urgent need to grab hold of Sri Lanka.

One way of doing this was to engineer ‘regime change’ and put a puppet on the throne. The process of regime change has been practiced by the USA for over a century, said analysts. Doing it democratically like in Sri Lanka is the best option. But if democratically elected regimes are defiant, the local military is used. If that also fails, then there is USA military invasion and legitimate head of state is bumped off.

Sri Lanka’s  ‘regime change’ was cleverly done. Two promises were made,  to reduce the cost of living and eliminate corruption. The USA had no intention of doing either but the gullible electorate believed them. There was also a promise of more enlightened rule. Environmentalists said candidate Sirisena, had made a 10-point environment presentation in December 2014 which had impressed them. So the majority of the environmentalists had voted for him. He had not fulfilled any of the promises when he came to power.

The political elite knew what had happened, as soon as the results were announced. We saw it on their faces, but the public did not know what they were in for. They soon found out, when the Yahapalana government went into action. This final essay in the series looks at what Yahapalana was asked to do, how they did it, and how the country reacted.

The west wants a government that will be open to foreign control, not a government that wishes to protect Sri Lanka, its material assets, its sovereignty, and its national interests, said Dayan Jayatilleke. 

The grand strategy of the neo-colonial powers is to ensure that the developing countries are kept unstable, that makes it easier to manipulate and influence them, said another critic.   These foreign interests only want permanent chaos here to help their hidden agenda.  They will not show their hand, they always operate underneath said a third critic.  

The Sri Lanka policy from independence onwards, and even before, was to build a  strong Sri Lankan capitalist economy and protect the Sri Lankan peasantry, said Dayan Jayatilleke.    Up to now, successive governments showed concern for the people and gave Sri Lanka a sort of welfare state. Now comes a government which has every intention of ruining the country, concluded Dayan.

One can’t even begin to chronicle in one article, all the outrages and idiocies that have been committed by this government, said  Chandraprema. Yahapalana is bringing the country into a state of political, economic and social chaos, said Tissa Vitarana. The government was causing chaos in every sector agreed Dayan. What kind of Government will place us in such insecurity and danger asked Chandraprema? 

From the time that this government came into power, we have been seeing things that we had never experienced under any previous government, continued Chandraprema. Usually, after an election, there are a few days of disturbances. Under this government, things were never allowed to settle down and normalize,  he said.

How this government regularly dreams up ever more ingenious ways of making the lives of ordinary people a living hell is truly remarkable and the way they doggedly stick to these harebrained schemes despite mass protests is even more remarkable, concluded  Chandraprema.

Critics observed that In 2001 UNP was very cautious with the economy, this time they have been completely reckless. In the past, there was a common belief that UNP regimes were good at economic management, and as a result, the economy gained a boost every time a UNP government came to power. However, this time around, this belief has been proven wrong.

This time the UNP and its  Yahapalana has been given a well-planned project designed to serve the interests of the USA. The modus operandi was planned in detail by experts from the USA, its allies, the IMF and World Bank, operating from Temple Trees and relevant Ministries and Institutions, said Tissa Vitarana.

It is reported there are large teams of foreign experts in the Prime Minister’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Planning and also in the Treasury, Ministry of Finance and even the Central Bank.” This would help in the introduction of neo-liberal economics into the country, certainly.

 But the tactics needed to bring the country down, break its spirit and its spine had to be prepared by USA’s local supporters who knew the country well. They would know exactly what sectors to hit and how.  They would have been preparing for this ‘regime change’ throughout the Rajapaksa rule.

It is now clear that the West has given three instructions to the Yahapalana government, (a) weaken the state, (b) ruin the economy and (c) crush the people. Then a dissatisfied, angry, restless community will be created, who will be encouraged to protest. A state of chaos will result. The west will then be able to move in, probably using Right to Protect” (R2P)

From 2015 to 2019, an angry electorate watched   Yahapalana at work. Yahapalana came to power because it promised the voters that they would reduce the cost of living. After Yahapalana came to power, the cost of living went up and up. The public complained about the skyrocketing cost of living.   Food prices have gone into the stratosphere with more and more people going to sleep on empty stomachs, said an Island editorial.

The public noted the increase of corruption, misuse of power, waste, political instability, break down of law and order, growth of the underworld and drug trafficking. Also,  the unprecedented delaying of Local Government polls, putting off Provincial Council polls, enactment of the 19th Amendment and the Geneva resolutions. Within the first 100 days came the Bond scam with a  second far bigger bond scam in  March 2016, several months after the last general election.   In between came the controversial coal tender.

The electorate watched the tear-gassing and suppression of peaceful protests for just causes. All the essential services went on strike during Yahapalana rule. Doctors, teachers, railway workers, university staff, administrative staff. The entire country was in turmoil with protests in Colombo almost on a daily basis with the government depending on the police to contain growing unrest, reported the media. The public was furious, but most blamed the government, not the strikers. 

There was a breakdown of services. Two trains collided near Maradana station. During the train strike of October 2019, dozens of passengers were seen traveling outside the compartments, hanging on dangerously. A sight never before was seen in Sri Lanka.

Small businesses were ruined by Yahapalana, leading to mass unemployment, indebtedness, and bankruptcy. There was also excessive taxation.  All this, it was hoped, would bring the population on its knees. It would also, hopefully, encourage aggression.

Aggression did appear. The ‘new’ weapon was poles. Many attacks on persons and shops using poles were shown on television. Television news showed people coming with poles and smashing a restaurant in Anamaduwa. At Kandakadu in  Kinniya, the navy was sent to investigate a charge of illegal sand mining. A  large crowd of Muslim youth with poles were waiting for them. There was a clash and 12 navy personnel were hurt, 3 seriously. Police and STF were called in to control the situation.

But the result was not what the USA expected. Instead of meekly going under, so that the USA could walk in,  Sri Lanka reacted strongly against Yahapalana. They expressed open regret over voting for  Yahapalana.  People who supported the government are now cursing it, said an observer.  A Sri Lankan visiting from abroad said, ‘the general impression I got was that the people are thoroughly disgusted about the way things are’.

I also voted for Ranil Wickremesinghe and the party”, said Sarath Obeyesekera in 2018. Like everybody else, we wanted a new and better leader. I became disgruntled during the last three and a half years when I personally encountered the new leader and the ministers at official meetings meant to help entrepreneurs solve their problems. I used to attend meetings of CECM, and the Southern Development Committee, chaired by  Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, R. Paskaralingam and Minister Sagala Ratnayake, respectively. These leaders were not listening to the views expressed by other members of the aggrieved parties, but showing off their power, they took decisions based on their own opinions.

Yahapalana government is the worst, most corrupt and inefficient government in our history, the public said. They made it clear that they wanted Yahapalana out. Instead of reacting emotionally, the electorate looked for a sound strategy to get Yahapalana out. ‘Wait till the next election comes’  they said. ( Continued)

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