Former regional leaders opposed to use of force to end Venezuela crisis

By CMC

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Former Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Feb 25, CMC – Five former Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders say while they acknowledge the need for humanitarian aid to Venezuela, they are against such assistance being politicised.

In a joint statement, the five former leaders, PJ Patterson of Jamaica, Lester Bird of Antigua and Barbuda, Dr. Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia, Owen Arthur of Barbados and Said Musa of Belize, said they also support the decision of CARICOM in promoting a “process of dialogue between all the parties in Venezuela to seek accord and to negotiate constructively a settlement of the internal challenges that confront the nation as a whole.

“We appeal to all governments to contribute to the process of peaceful negotiation by the Venezuelan parties in the interest of the people of Venezuela and the wider hemisphere,” they said.

Opposition Leader, Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president of Venezuela and backed by the United States and several other countries, has called on President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn into office last month, to step down.

Maduro is backed by Russia, China, Cuba and several other countries and he regards the aid shipment by the United States as a pretext for military intervention in the South American country.

Over the last weekend, the military in Venezuela prevented the aid convoys from entering the country from Brazil and Colombia.

Venezuelan security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd demanding to cross the Venezuela-Colombia border.

In their joint statement issued over the last weekend, the five former regional leaders said they are “concerned about the maintenance of the Caribbean as a zone of peace, express great disquiet about events surrounding the situation in Venezuela and the prospect of any action that is inconsistent with the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“In this connection, we are concerned that no action be taken that would jeopardise these fundamental principles of international law.

“We recall the importance of order in our hemisphere and the central importance of the United Nations system. The conduct of relations between nations necessitates adherence to, and preservation of accepted norms and principles, and we warn that any retreat from these norms and principles threatens peace and security and portends far-reaching consequences, including humanitarian suffering and the contagion of economic decline.”

The former leaders said they believe that any aid to Venezuela the United Nations should “be conducted under the auspices of the United Nations according to normal procedures, including the participation of the Government and other authorities.

“We categorically reject the use or the threat of force as a means of resolving the situation in Venezuela.

In a spirit of international democracy, we join the CARICOM call on all nations to help promote a process of dialogue between all the parties in Venezuela to seek accord and to negotiate constructively a settlement of the internal challenges that confront the nation as a whole.

“We appeal to all governments to contribute to the process of peaceful negotiation by the Venezuelan parties in the interest of the people of Venezuela and the wider hemisphere.”

The five former leaders said “none of the Venezuelan parties should be encouraged to eschew the process of dialogue, which alone can produce “a Venezuelan Pact” that is central to lasting peace and orderly economic and social restoration and progress.”

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