(Trinidad Guardian) T&T’s border is now locked down!
National Security Minister Stuart Young confirmed this was in train yesterday as word spread of an uprising in neighbouring Venezuela.
“We are locking down the borders and increasing (security) resources around those areas,” Young told the T&T Guardian in the Senate yesterday.
Heightened local action on systems kicked in following news of a possible attempted opposition-led uprising in Venezuela and clashes between supporters of President Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly head and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido.
Media reports initially reported Maduro’s government was “putting down” a small coup attempt after Guaidó announced he was in the “final phase” of ending Maduro’s rule. Guaido urged supporters to force Maduro from power. Some pictures showed certain military members supporting Guaidó. Maduro, however, said he’d spoken with military leaders who showed “total loyalty.” The UK Guardian reported gunfire, tear gas and water cannon use. The United Nations has appealed against violence.
Yesterday, Young’s ministry subsequently stated, “It’s been reported certain elements of the Venezuelan military have indicated support for Juan Guaido and that support has resulted in disturbances in Venezuela. T&T maintains its principled position of non-interference and non-intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela and hopes the Venezuelan people will resolve their affairs peacefully. The ministry’s relevant divisions have been working together, focused on securing our borders and we’ll continue to do so.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses is overseas. Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Edmund Dillon said, “We’re certainly watching the situation very closely.”
Energy Minister Franklin Khan, who’s admitted the TT/Venezuelan Dragon Gas field project was delayed because of Venezuela’s problems this year, had no comment. Other Energy Ministry officials were, however “staying tuned” because of T&T’s stake in the project.
Caricom’s Guyana secretariat —responding to the T&T Guardian—also echoed T&T’s position, saying: “We maintain the call for a peaceful internal resolution.”
The secretariat later issued a statement from Caricom chairman, St Kitts Prime Minister Timothy Harris, who appealed for calm and peace in Venezuela. Harris spent much of yesterday consulting with other Caribbean leaders on the issue. He reiterated his pledge that Caricom “will continue to make every effort to help bring a peaceful resolution to Venezuela’s political crisis.”
“My colleague Heads of Government and I are collectively charged with ensuring the continued security and stability of our beloved Caribbean region. This responsibility is our first and foremost priority as we work in unison to safeguard our people’s future,” Harris said.
“Caricom has been working earnestly to promote meaningful dialogue and diplomacy, as well as a four-phased process—the Montevideo Mechanism—whose aim is an inclusive and lasting solution. Such a considered approach can only redound to the benefit of Venezuela and, by extension, the countries and citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Earlier this year, Caricom’s Harris and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley attended meetings on Venezuela at the UN and Uruguay. Harris also attended meetings in Ecuador. Yesterday’s Venezuelan clashes exploded just before Harris was scheduled to engage in follow-up talks with the International Contact Group (ICG) on Venezuela in Costa Rica next week.
While Caricom’s Montevideo Mechanism was rejected by Guaido, Caricom Foreign Ministers recently teleconferenced with Guaido. T&T’s Moses later said he’d have spoken to Maduro. But there was no word after that. Harris will be in T&T on Friday for a Caricom security summit.