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Local Venezuelans wary of Trinidad’s support of Maduro

By Trinidad Guardian

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(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — A group of Venezue­lans who are liv­ing in Trinidad and To­ba­go are ques­tion­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Gov­ern­ment and Nico­las Maduro regime, in light of the ques­tions sur­round­ing the le­git­i­ma­cy of Maduro’s new regime.

Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs Den­nis Moses at­tend­ed Maduro’s pres­i­den­tial in­au­gu­ra­tion cer­e­mo­ny on Thurs­day. Sev­er­al oth­er coun­tries around the world opt­ed not to recog­nise Maduro’s new term.

The Venezue­lan pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, held last May, were held sev­er­al months be­fore they con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly due and ac­cord­ing to sev­er­al ob­servers did not meet the min­i­mum stan­dards for trans­paren­cy.

This has lead to the Eu­ro­pean Union, the Unit­ed States, as well as mem­bers of the Li­ma Group, which com­pris­es of 13 Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries. Cana­da as well as the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Amer­i­can States not to recog­nise the Maduro’s pres­i­den­cy.

Pe­ru banned Maduro and 93 of­fi­cials of his gov­ern­ment from en­ter­ing their coun­try while Paraguay cut diplo­mat­ic ties with Venezuela on Thurs­day.

How­ev­er, based on the Min­is­ter Moses’ ap­pear­ance at the event, it ap­pears Trinidad and To­ba­go does recog­nise his of­fice. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Min­is­ter Stu­art Young told re­porters at Thurs­day’s post-Cab­i­net press con­fer­ence that T&T is a sov­er­eign coun­try that con­tin­ues to have good re­la­tions with Venezuela. Venezuela is T&T’s clos­est neigh­bour, just sev­en miles away.

Austin Agho, a Venezue­lan ob­serv­er who re­sides in Trinidad but con­tin­ues to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion at home, said the T&T Gov­ern­ment is an awk­ward po­si­tion.

“T&T is in a dif­fi­cult po­si­tion, need­ing to ap­pease Maduro in or­der to ac­cess the Drag­on Field,” said Agho.

The Venezue­lan Pres­i­dent came to Trinidad in De­cem­ber 2016, to dis­cuss the Drag­on Field gas deal with Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley. The deal was of­fi­cial­ly signed in Venezuela in Au­gust last year.

But the le­git­i­ma­cy of Maduro’s sec­ond term may al­so be prob­lem­at­ic for that agree­ment, Agho said.

“Un­for­tu­nate­ly, the le­gal­i­ty of the deal is very much in ques­tion, giv­en that one, the ap­proval of the Venezue­lan Na­tion­al As­sem­bly is re­quired for treaties and deals; and two, the fact that Maduro is no longer Pres­i­dent,” said Agho.

Mem­bers of Caribbean Refugee Voic­es, Beat­riz and Mon­i­ca Joseph, two Venezue­lan res­i­dents in Trinidad, al­so ques­tioned the sta­tus of T&T deals with Venezuela dur­ing an in­ter­view on CNC 3’s the Morn­ing Brew yes­ter­day.

Mon­i­ca Joseph said the coun­try had seen lit­tle re­turns from their ex­changes with Maduro so far, point­ing to the dis­tri­b­u­tion of sup­plies to the South Amer­i­can coun­try pri­or to Drag­on Gas deal be­ing fi­nalised.

“I think it is some­thing we need to ques­tion here in Trinidad, our re­la­tion­ship with Venezuela, what does it ben­e­fit to us?” asked Joseph, “As the pub­lic, we need to ques­tion our gov­ern­ment and find out ex­act­ly what are their deal­ings are with Venezuela.”

They al­so raised con­cerns about the gov­ern­ment’s stance giv­en the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing state of af­fairs in the coun­try.

“It’s pret­ty grim, it’s kin­da like the rot­ting of a coun­try from the in­side,” said Mon­i­ca Joseph who, how­ev­er, felt Venezuela was not to­tal­ly lost from a de­mo­c­ra­t­ic stand­point.

She be­lieves out­side in­ter­ven­tion is need­ed.

“From the in­side, it’s a bit hard to do any­thing, you come up against a lot of walls if you try to do any­thing de­mo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly,” said Joseph.

Maduro first as­sumed the Venezue­lan Pres­i­den­cy fol­low­ing the death of Hugo Chavez in 2013.

This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

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