Secretary General of CARICOM, Irwin LaRocque has made it clear that the regional bloc will not interfere in the sovereign affairs of Venezuela.
CARICOM Heads of Government will meet in Grenada from July 4 to 6, and LaRocque stated the crisis in the troubled South American country is not on the agenda but it might be discussed.
“The agenda for the Heads of Government meeting will be adopted on Wednesday morning and I guess we will see what emerges out of that agenda,” he said at a press conference on Monday.
He stated that there are basic principles which unite CARICOM on the matter.
“I wish however to say to you that there are some basic principles that the Community has elaborated and these principles still hold,” he remarked. “All our member states ascribe to the statement issued by the COFCOR, the Council for Foreign and Community Relations, of none interference, none intervention in the internal affairs of the sovereign state of Venezuela. This holds despite what you may have read about a particular text being considered at the OAS, these principles hold.”
He added, “I think we have to wait for the outcome of the meeting to see what statements will come out of this meeting on Venezuela if any. We have basic principles we are united on that continue to inform our approach to dealing with Venezuela and whether or not the matter is discussed, we have to wait to see what is the outcome of the meeting.”
However, evidence suggests that the political and economic crisis that has engulfed Venezuela has divided CARICOM.
At an Organization of American States (OAS) general assembly in Mexico recently, there was no united front on a resolution aimed at addressing the Venezuelan situation, despite calls for unity among CARICOM states.
Jamaica’s foreign minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, said CARICOM votes splintered on the resolution “despite significant efforts to coordinate positions”.
Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Vincent and the Grenadines voted against the resolution while Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Guyana and St Lucia supported it. Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Haiti, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago abstained.
The resolution, which ultimately failed, included a proposal for a ‘group of friends’ to mediate the crisis and it also called for President Nicolas Maduro to “reconsider” an assembly to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution.
About 82 people have died in Venezuela in the crisis and there appears to be no end in sight.