Tensions rise between Caricom, OAS head over Venezuela

Luis Leonardo Almagro

(Trinidad Guardian) Ten­sions over the po­lit­i­cal col­lapse of Venezuela are con­tin­u­ing to rise af­ter the coun­tries of the Caribbean Com­mu­ni­ty (Cari­com) dis­tanced them­selves from the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Amer­i­can States (OAS) Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al Luis Leonar­do Al­ma­gro and his sup­port of Venezue­lan Op­po­si­tion Leader Juan Guaidó.

Cari­com has main­tained a stance of non-in­ter­fer­ence and has not picked a side in the clash be­tween oust­ed leader Nico­las Maduro or Guai­do.

The mem­ber states of Cari­com said that Al­ma­gro spoke in sup­port of Guai­do on the OAS plat­form but did not have the au­tho­ri­sa­tion of the OAS.

Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Stu­art Young on Satur­day said he was “stunned” that Al­ma­gro, as a pub­lic ser­vant at the OAS would “step so far out of his crease” to make a pub­lic state­ment in the Maduro/Guai­do clash.

Young con­firmed that Cari­com sent a let­ter to Al­ma­gro de­mand­ing that he clar­i­fy that his po­si­tion is his own and not that of the en­tire OAS.

“The po­si­tion that he came out quite bold­ly and gave ear­li­er last week or the week be­fore, that need­ed to be clar­i­fied that that is not the po­si­tion of the OAS and there was no con­sul­ta­tion with the mem­bers of the OAS be­fore that was ar­tic­u­lat­ed,” Young said.

“This was quite stun­ning as an ob­serv­er,” Young said.

He said that he was proud to be a mem­ber of Cari­com

“The Cari­com mem­ber­ship is lead­ing the in­ter­na­tion­al con­ver­sa­tion once again and do­ing what is right and as mem­bers of the OAS say­ing lis­ten, you can­not use the of­fice that you hold so go and clar­i­fy that that is your in­di­vid­ual po­si­tion, “ Young said.

The Cari­com let­ter that Young re­ferred to the OAS on Jan­u­ary 31 by the chair­man of Cari­com and Prime Min­is­ter of St Kitts and Nevis, Tim­o­thy Har­ris. Har­ris in the let­ter said the Caricom members met and de­ter­mined that the OAS does not speak for them or with them on this is­sue.

Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley rep­re­sent­ed the coun­try at that meet­ing to dis­cuss the Cari­com po­si­tion on the Venezue­lan cri­sis.

In the let­ter, Har­ris ref­er­enced the meet­ing with Cari­com heads on Jan­u­ary 24, 2019, and called on the OAS to “clar­i­fy” that it does not speak for the Cari­com coun­tries.

“The Heads of Gov­ern­ment con­sid­er it im­per­a­tive that you pub­licly clar­i­fy that you did not speak on be­half of all the mem­ber states of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Amer­i­can States,” Har­ris said.

“We are aware that this is not the on­ly oc­ca­sion on which you have made pub­lic ut­ter­ances in the name of the or­gan­i­sa­tion with­out au­thor­i­ty,” he said.

The Cari­com de­scribed Al­ma­gro ac­tions as a “clear de­par­ture of from nor­mal prac­tice and cause for great con­cern,” Har­ris said.

The OAS web­site lists me­dia and press re­leas­es for the month of Jan­u­ary and there is noth­ing about the OAS’s sup­port for Guai­do.

How­ev­er, on Twit­ter, Al­ma­gro is vo­cal about the sup­port of Guai­do over Maduro even call­ing Maduro a dic­ta­tor and call­ing for the sup­port of fair elec­tions.

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