Caricom Must Stand Firm at the OAS
The Movement for Social Justice calls on all Caricom governments to stand firm at the meeting of the Organisation of American States (OAS) which starts in Mexico tomorrow, June 19. At the last meeting of OAS Foreign Ministers in Washington, Caricom countries took a united position and defeated the concerted attempt by a minority of OAS member states, led by the United States, to pass a Resolution condemning Venezuela. The Caricom representatives at that meeting, held on May 31st, 2017, countered with a resolution of their own, which called for respectful dialogue on the issue of the conflict in Venezuela. The Caricom Resolution was adopted.
Since that meeting we have witnessed almost unprecedented pressure being applied by the United States on Caricom countries to abandon their principled position of “non-interference in the internal affairs of a state” and respect for the “sovereignty” of all nation states, be they large or small. These principles are the internationally recognized and accepted norms of international relations, but are often violated by large, powerful states in their own self-interest. In this regard, the position taken by Prime Minister Rowley on the removal of the Luis Almagro as Secretary General of the OAS was absolutely the correct one.
In the past week we have witnessed the visit to this country by a very senior official of the US State Department – Francisco Palmieri, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs. His visit was an open effort to try to get the Trinidad and Tobago government to change its position on Venezuela. Yesterday we had a letter to “The Editor” of our national newspapers from John McIntyre, Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy here in Port of Spain, attacking the elected government of Nicolas Maduro. This letter is filled with hypocrisy given the situation in the United Sates where discrimination, racism pervades a system that results in the highest prison population in the world, most inmates being men of colour. Similar letters were issued by the US Embassies elsewhere in the region, including the Georgetown, Guyana Embassy.
Just two days ago, the US President, who had no difficulty being hosted by the un-elected rulers of Saudi Arabia, went on the offensive against another Caribbean country – Cuba. It is very clear that the US, as in the past and particularly now, under Trump, is intent on implementing the old, imperialist agenda of hegemony over Latin America and the Caribbean. This must not be allowed to happen unchallenged.
The meeting of the OAS in Mexico starting tomorrow, will therefore be extremely crucial. Caricom governments must not be bullied, coerced or bought by offers of aid etc, to alter their principled position. The MSJ calls on all Caricom governments to firstly, stand united in the OAS forum; and secondly, to insist that the OAS adopt a position that seeks to have dialogue between the Government and Opposition in Venezuela towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict within the context of the Venezuelan Constitution, respect for its institutions, and the regard for the “non-interference” in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.
Movement for Social Justice