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Barbados reiterates call for non-interference in Venezuela

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Barbados has reiterated the need for the Caribbean to remain a zone of peace and insisted that only the Venezuelans could decide on the future of the South American country even as President Donald Trump is gearing for a meeting with select Caribbean leaders today on the economic and political developments in Venezuela.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who has been a member of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) delegation meeting with regional and international stakeholders on the Venezuelan crisis, told Parliament Wednesday night that “instability in Venezuela will undermine peace in the southern and eastern Caribbean as we are already seeing in Trinidad and Grenada.

“We have been in a zone of peace in the Caribbean for so long that we are in danger of underestimating how important it is for us to have a peaceful region. If, God forbid, there is military intervention in Venezuela, it would destabilise this region for a very long time and we could be living with the adverse social and human effects for a very long time after relating to refugees and other social instabilities that come with the movement of guns and trade of guns for basic food items,” she told legislators, while delivering her administration’s 2019-20 national budget.

Caricom leaders at their inter-sessional summit in St Kitts-Nevis last month reiterated their position of non-interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela and said they were prepared to mediate in the process to bring about a peaceful resolution to the crisis where Opposition Leader Juan Guaid with the support of Washington and its allies are seeking to replace President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn into office for a second consecutive term earlier this year.

In late January, regional leaders, led by the Caricom chairman, Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris of St Kitts-Nevis, and including Mottley and Dr Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago, met with the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, expressing optimism that the UN will assist in establishing the road map towards peace and security for Venezuela.

The delegation also participated in a meeting in an international meeting in Uruguay where the Montevideo Mechanism was adopted saying it presents “the only objective mechanism” to address the complex political situation in Venezuela”.

President Trump will meet with the leaders of the Bahamas, St Lucia, Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic today to discuss Chinese economic intervention in the region as well as the political and economic crisis in Venezuela, among other matters.

The Caribbean leaders invited had in January supported a resolution at the Organization of American States (OAS) in not recognising Maduro’s second five-year term.

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