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No CARICOM help needed in Venezuela

There is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and therefore no need for Barbados and the Caribbean to intervene, resident Head of Mission at the Venezuelan Embassy Franciso Perez Santana has declared.

“We believe in help and help when it is coming from our real friends is always welcomed. But I think countries have to wait until the country that is in trouble asks for help. At this moment we are not needing help of any country. We can solve our problems with our people.”

In recent years, Venezuela has been rocked by angry protests, looting and food shortages, but Santana told Barbados TODAY it was all part of a campaign being led by “international media and imperialists” to undermine the democratically elected government of President Nicholas Maduro.

“The international media have joined together with the imperialist forces and they are trying to push out our government; are trying to destroy our country, to destroy our revolution,” he charged, saying the two groups were also waging a war on the economic and financial front.

He blamed the prevailing food shortage on some opposition groups, claiming they were hoarding food, driving up food prices. He also lashed out at companies that have pulled out of Caracas citing monetary controls, saying it was just an “excuse”.

Santana maintained that the majority of Venezuelans were supportive of the embattled Maduro government and his policies and rubbished recent suggestions from the Head of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro that Venezuela had violated the principles of the grouping’s democratic order.

“I have to ask him [Almagro] if there are countries around the world that have the democracy that Venezuela has. I think not. They are working with the media to say that Venezuela has a humanitarian crisis, but this is just to try and intervene in the country . . . because if there is a humanitarian crisis you have to intervene.

“But do you think that in a country with a humanitarian crisis, you have plenty restaurants open and plenty of customers, you have no disease of malnutrition. In a country with a humanitarian crisis, you have disease of malnutrition, children dying, children not in a school and this is not happening in Venezuela.”

The OAS head has called for an emergency meeting of member states to vote on the Venezuela’s alleged violation of the democratic order in the coming weeks, a move that could lead to Caracas’ suspension from the hemispheric body.

Santana said the Maduro government was now anxiously awaiting the outcome of an intervention of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which has agreed to mediate between the opposition and the government.

“We want and wish and hope that other organizations and other countries let UNASUR work to see what happen,” he told Barbados TODAY.

He maintained that the Maduro administration was willing to engage in dialogue but was adamant that it could not accept the opposition’s terms.

“We want dialogue, we want peace. We went to the opposition to dialogue with our government but we need that the opposition recognize and don’t put conditions to the dialogue. The only thing they want is to keep President Maduro out of government, this is the only dialogue they accept . You cannot have dialogue with a gun to your head,” Santana held.

This week, opposition forces are seeking to validate thousands of signatures to request a recall referendum against Maduro.

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