(Trinidad Guardian) Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Stuart Young has said that the government of Trinidad and Tobago currently recognises Nicolas Maduro as the president of Venezuela.
He made the announcement at Thursday’s post-Cabinet news conference.
However, he once again reiterated that Trinidad and Tobago respects the sovereignty of Venezuela and has no intention of intervening.
“I have come here today to reiterate government’s position. This has been the government’s position from day one. The government’s position when it comes to matters of foreign policy, is we will not intervene nor will we interfere with what is going on with sovereign states,” Young said.
He said it was a position that had been given careful thought.
Minister Young is asking local commentators to first read the Constitution of Venezuela and before pronouncing on a position but he did not go into any particular detail of the Constitution.
“At the end of the day, the Venezuelan people will decide,” he said.
The Minister said the government of Trinidad and Tobago is encouraging dialogue.
“We also call for calm for whatever it is worth. We hope that they can work things out via dialogue” he said, before adding that the government continues to decline any hardline solutions.
As for fears of a greater influx of Venezuelans into Trinidad and Tobago, Minister Young, who is also the Minister of National Security, said that he has spoken to national security agencies on ensuring the country’s borders are protected.
“The borders have been made less pourous and I want them even further secured. That is taking place,” he said.
He said a meeting will be held among national security operatives next week, specifically to address border security.
He told reporters that police have enhanced their operations on land and that the Coast Guard’s 14 interceptors will play an increasing role on sea.
Venezuela is Trinidad and Tobago’s closest neighbour, just seven miles from the shores of Trinidad.
The United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, France and several South American countries have either expressed support for Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó who declared himself as President of Venezuela on Wednesday, or have denounced Maduro’s leadership as illegal.
Russia, China, Cuba and Turkey are among the countries supporting Maduro, describing what is taking place in Venezuela as a US-led coup.
The population of Venezuela is 32 million but millions have fled to neighbouring countries in the last three years following a drastic collapse in the country’s economy, which saw inflation cross 1 million percent.
There are an estimated 40,000 Venezuelans in Trinidad and Tobago.