CARICOM stands behind Maduro

Outgoing Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) Sir Louis Straker of St Vincent and the Grenadines is confident CARICOM will stand behind the embattled Nicolas Maduro government in Venezuela, despite concerns raised by his own prime minister that the regional grouping was divided over the issue.

Speaking with reporters Thursday on the sidelines of COFCOR’s 20th meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Sir Louis gave the assurance that CARICOM would not abandon Venezuela in its time of need, adding that the South American nation had been “very good” to the Caribbean over the years.

It was the same assurance that the head of the Venezuelan embassy here Francisco Manuel Perez Santana said Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had given to Maduro, while assuring the Venezuelan leader he “will never act against the Venezuelan people”.

Chair of COFCOR, Barbados’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean (right), in conversation with Venezuelan Ambassador Francisco Manuel Perez Santana at Thursday’s meeting.

It was not clear if Stuart had given these assurances before or after Barbados, along with the Bahamas, Jamaica, Guyana and St Lucia, had broken ranks with the remainder of  CARICOM and voted with the big countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) that want to kick Caracas out of the hemispheric body.

However, St Vincent and the Grenadines has been a staunch Maduro supporter, and Thursday Sir Louis repeated the very words used by the Vincentian prime minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves that some within the OAS were pushing for regime change in the oil producing country, something Sir Loius said the 14-member regional grouping would not tolerate.

“There are others who might have ulterior motives in trying to get regime change in Venezuela . . . .There are those who want to impose their will and stir up strife in Venezuela and we will not support that kind of thing, and no amount of pressure can be brought on St Vincent and the Grenadines or on CARICOM. There might be one or two countries [that may not go along with the grouping], but overwhelmingly, CARICOM is in support of Venezuela,” he assured.

In a letter to fellow CARICOM leaders last week, Gonsalves had complained that the 15-member grouping was allowing “a small group of powerful nations” within OAS to dilute CARICOM’s collective strength by dividing the regional states in a bid to overthrow Maduro.

“A handful of powerful countries with an agenda of naked self interest has strategically invited select CARICOM countries to their meetings and ignored the others. In the result, they have succeeded in disuniting and weakening CARICOM countries whose only strength lies in our solidarity,” the Vincentian leader wrote in the letter dated May 10, 2017.

“There is clearly a calculated strategy in place by a group of nations to achieve regime change in Venezuela by using the OAS as a weapon of destruction,” Gonsalves added, while accusing OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro of being a “chosen and willing tool” in the plot.

The Uruguayan had proposed in March that Venezuela should be suspended from the OAS until fresh elections are held, but the proposal received little traction among several members. Instead, in what is being seen as a precursor for more stringent action, Barbados supported a vote in the permanent council on April 26 to hold an emergency meeting of foreign ministers, possibly as early as Monday, to discuss the situation in the Spanish-speaking country.

Venezuela has been hit by growing unrest, with at least 40 people killed and hundreds injured during protests that began in early April to demand elections, freedom for jailed activists, foreign humanitarian aid to offset the economic crisis, and autonomy for the opposition-controlled legislature. Maduro accuses the protestors of seeking a violent coup.

Stating that he wanted peace and stability to prevail, Sir Louis said Almagro’s actions were “totally out of order” and he had insulted Maduro by going beyond “the normal diplomatic channels and the normal diplomatic norms to express his views on Venezuela”.

Earlier this week the Caribbean chapter of the International Network in Defense of Humanity called on CARICOM leaders to send a fact-finding mission to Caracas for “an informed analysis” about the state of affairs there.

However, Sir Louis told journalists Thursday there was nothing happening in Venezuela that required fact-finding. Instead, he said, there was need for “some kind of dialogue between the opposing forces”, but that was becoming difficult because “the opposing forces feel they have the secretary general of the OAS on their side, and some large states on their side who are aiding and abetting the kind of turbulence you have in Venezuela”.

The Vincentian diplomat reminded those “straddling the fence” that the Bolivarian Republic “has been pro-CARICOM and has done more for CARICOM than some of the big powers, and they should stand by Venezuela”.

“It is much to our detriment if we allow ourselves to be manipulated into a situation where we side with the bigger powers who are stirring up things in Venezuela and want regime change. We should not go that way,” he said firmly.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean, who took over Thursday as chair of COFCOR, declined to comment on the matter.

25 Responses to CARICOM stands behind Maduro

  1. Jennifer May 19, 2017 at 12:54 am

    Go CARICOM GO.

    Reply
  2. Tony Webster May 19, 2017 at 2:37 am

    60Billion “gone””, and we’re a**-kissing this shamless bunch of buffoons?

    Our beloved Dame Nita, who brought Namibia to statehood, must be spinning in her grave.

    Reply
  3. Richard Johnston May 19, 2017 at 7:38 am

    The guy and his mentor have destroyed the economy and disgraced the country, people are starving and standing in line for basic necessities, there is unrest and rioting, he has unlawfully expropriated foreign assets, airlines have stopped flying there. All I can figure is he is buying worthless support in the Caribbean for a few barrels of oil.

    Reply
  4. Ivana Cardinale May 19, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Good decision! Venezuela, a Caribbean country, has been victim of the western media fake news for 18 years since Chavez came to power. It’s nothing new fake news. Western media has done it to other countries. By the way, we are still waiting for the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam supposedly had and 15 years later, the US still bombing that country for no reason and killed over 2 million irakis. The world has to wake up and learn how to identify true news from fake

    Reply
    • Jennifer May 19, 2017 at 8:19 am

      @Ivana C – well said. Divide, disrupt and rule/control. The same people do the same strategies world wide. And another thing, please stop ASSuming that because some one calls themselves bajan they have african or slave ancestral heritage. In most cases the children of the said enemy is whom you are talking to on this forum. This is why the same people will jump up and kick like a stallion against such comments and cuss people like me. But do I care >>>>>>> not a bit.

      Reply
      • Tee White May 19, 2017 at 3:19 pm

        @jennifer I hear you. It’s easy to think that Bajan means a descendant of the African slaves because that’s who makes up 95% of our country but I hear you.

        Reply
    • Richard Johnston May 20, 2017 at 8:52 am

      That’s why people are flocking to emigrate there, and it is so peaceful and prosperous.

      Reply
  5. sticks and stones May 19, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Here we go again. The media dispensing alternative facts

    Reply
  6. the truth May 19, 2017 at 11:32 am

    The dictatorship is a problem that is affecting the whole region. More venezuelans will come to live in an already impoverished country like Barbados, crime will increase even more because those people are desperate. They do not have food or money.

    Reply
  7. Tony Webster May 19, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Who went a-begging to Muhammar al Ghadafi, get for $tuff to finish Argyle airport? Hmmm…Hey, what’s become of that chap recently? I know the Libyan people loved him…er….to death.

    Reply
    • Tee White May 19, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      I guess with your racism you think that Libya is better off now than it was under the previous government. Maybe C(IA)NN hasn’t informed you yet that Black people are being sold as slaves in Libya now. So much for US/NATO liberation from “the dictator”.

      Reply
      • Tee White May 19, 2017 at 3:38 pm

        If you think that the suffering the people in Libya are now going through with constant war and insecurity, women being raped and people being tortured is some kind of joke, that tells us everything we need to know about you and your professed concern for the well being of Venezuelans

        Reply
  8. Tony Waterman May 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    You Gotta be kidding me-WoW!!!! How wrong can one get it-WHY???

    Reply
  9. Tee White May 19, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Well done, CARICOM! The Venezuelan rich and priivileged, with the backing of the USA are trying to destroy the country because the poor have encroached on their privileges. They want to go back to the days where the poor, including the black and indigenoous Venezuelans, were second class human beings in their own country. If they have any love for their country, they would stop the violence, sit down with those Venezuelans who have different political views to theirs and try to agree a peaceful way to help the country get out of its situation, instead of trying to destroy the country’s economy and insitgating violence.

    Reply
    • Jennifer May 19, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      yep Tee – in a nutshell.

      Reply
  10. Peter May 19, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    Today at 5:oo p.m. CNN released a news clip of a woman searching through garbage to find food for her five children. Wow Jackass Jennifer, call that US propaganda. They sent a team claiming to be tourists. If Madura is so good, let us see his side of how Venezuelans are living. Ivana Carxdinale. You are a diplomatic plant. You cannot say otherwise. Tee White, You need to vizsit Venezuela and see for yourself. Jennifer the Jackass is a failed black who is dysfunctional in every quantum of life. Venezuela was once a thriving country undermined and destroyed by those uncaring dictators. I challenge anyone to showcase their success.

    Reply
  11. Peter May 19, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Today at 5:oo p.m. CNN released a news clip of a woman searching through garbage to find food for her five children. Wow Jackass Jennifer, call that US propaganda. They sent a team claiming to be tourists. If Madura is so good, let us see his side of how Venezuelans are living. Ivana Cardinale. You are a diplomatic plant. You cannot say otherwise. Tee White, You need to vizsit Venezuela and see for yourself. Jennifer the Jackass is a failed black who is dysfunctional in every quantum of life. Venezuela was once a thriving country undermined and destroyed by those uncaring dictators. I challenge anyone to showcase their success.

    Reply
  12. Tee White May 20, 2017 at 6:12 am

    This is what happens when you follow C(IA)NN blindly. No one is saying there are no problems in Venezuela. What we are saying is that the problems are being deliberately created by the rich elites in Venezuela with the backing of the U.S. government in order to carry out regime change because they resent the way the poor are challenging their privileges because they too want a share of the cake. It is illogical to suggest that Venezuela was once a thriving country because if that was the case and the Venezuelan people were happy there would have been no Bolivarian movement. It’s like when some people say apartheid South Africa was a thriving economy – yes thriving for a small minority. Simply following C(IA)NN and calling governments that disagree with the U.S. ‘dictators’ is cheap propaganda that can’t be taken seriously. What is your definition of a ‘dictator,?

    Reply
    • Richard Johnston May 20, 2017 at 8:55 am

      Maybe it’s time for you to move there and enjoy the liberal democracy.

      Reply
  13. Tee White May 20, 2017 at 9:12 am

    @richard I live where I like and it’s none of your business where I live. Where I live has got nothing to do with the fact that it is wrong for the US government and the rich Venezuelans to be waging economic war against Venezuela and instigating violence and chaos in that country.

    Reply
    • Richard Johnston May 20, 2017 at 10:00 am

      How come it got bad only when Chavez took over? Have the Americans and rich people only recently become determined to ruin the country? What evidence can you show that Americans are provoking the riots?

      Reply
  14. Tee White May 20, 2017 at 10:46 am

    @richard The fact that you even ask these questions just shows how poorly informed you are about developments in that country. Of course the destabilisation began after Chavez came to power because the US was opposed to the government he led and supported the previous Venezuelan governments. If you recall, if you are old enough, that when Michael Manley’s government took a turn that the US didn’t like, that was when the destabilisation against Jamaica began.

    The rich people and Americans are trying to provoke the ruination of the country in order to achieve a political objective which is to overthrow the government and return Venezuela to what it was before when the black, indigenous and poor Venezuelans were languishing in poverty and want in the midst of the “thriving Venezuelan economy”.

    To be honest, I am surprised that you would even ask if there is any evidence that the US government is actively destabilising Venezuela. A quick Google search ‘US destabilising Venezuela” will bring up many items on this. I am posting one link here from the UK newspaper The Guardian which was published in 2014. I chose this one because The Guardian can hardly be described as a publication that supports the Venezuelan government https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/18/venezuela-protests-us-support-regime-change-mistake

    Reply
    • Richard Johnston May 21, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Don’t flatter yourself. The US has much bigger priorities than who is running Venezuela now that it doesn’t need their oil the way CARICOM does. The article is labeled “opinion,” not the editorial position of the Guardian. Venezuela is a deplorable dictatorship and the people are doing something about it.

      Reply
  15. Tee White May 22, 2017 at 11:23 am

    @richard The idea that the USA is not interfereing in Venezuela with a regime change agenda is laughable and shows how poorly informed or dishonest you are. The US is a global hegemon which sucks up wealth from every country it can control and if you think the US oil companies don’t want to seize control of Venezuela’s oil, you are living in cloud cuckoo land.

    I did not claim the article represented the editorial position of the Guardian. In fact I made it clear that the Guardian can ‘hardly be described as a publication that supports the Venezuelan government’.The point is that even in such a publication information is openly aired that the US government is attempting to carry out regime change in that country. This information is widely known and it makes no sense trying to deny it.

    Your heroes in Venezuela just set fire to a young black man. That tells the world everything we need to know about them https://youtu.be/2plIj-zeMsk

    Reply
    • Richard Johnston May 24, 2017 at 7:32 am

      You provide no evidence of the “widely known” US involvement in “régime change” in Venezuela other than US statements of disapproval of the way Maduro and his henchmen are running the country into the ground to the detriment of everyone including the least well off. I do know that Venezuela has unlawfully seized assets of many oil companies, not just American. It is not in the US’s interest to see a destabilized Venezuela, but Maduro certainly is doing a good job at it. Does it do your ego good to insult people you disagree with? The Guardian is a good example of a free press that does not exist in Venezuela’s dictatorship, and where even the most contradictory views are available.

      Reply

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