US Embassy ‘deeply concerned’ by T&T’s stance on Venezuela; Caricom re-affirms non-intervention

“Democracy and prosperity require tough choices…”

The following release on Trinidad and Tobago’s recognition of Venezuela president Nicolás Maduro’s government was issued by US Ambassador Joseph Mondello:

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (second from left) and Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro (right) dance to calypso after a meeting at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on 5 December 2016.
(Copyright AFP 2017/Federico Parra)

Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó and the democratically elected National Assembly have the full recognition and resolute support of the United States of America and the majority of democracies in the Western Hemisphere.

I find the official statements from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago recognising the undemocratic and illegitimate government of Nicholas (sic) Maduro to be deeply concerning.

Democracy and prosperity require tough choices.

I and the entire US Embassy are committed to maintaining mutually beneficial bilateral relations with the government and people of Trinidad and Tobago.

Photo: Venezuela Opposition Leader and president of the National Assembly, John Guiadó.
(Copyright Mundo24)

The Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM): Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Foreign Ministers of Grenada and Suriname met by video-conference on 24 January 2019 and issued the following statement:

Heads of Government are following closely the current unsatisfactory situation in Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, a neighbouring Caribbean country. They expressed grave concern about the plight of the people of Venezuela and the increasing volatility of the situation brought about by recent developments which could lead to further violence, confrontation, breakdown of law and order and greater suffering for the people of the country.

Heads of Government reaffirmed their guiding principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the affairs of states, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, and respect for human rights and democracy.

Heads of Government reiterated that the long-standing political crisis, which has been exacerbated by recent events, can only be resolved peacefully through meaningful dialogue and diplomacy.

In this regard, Heads of Government offered their good offices to facilitate dialogue among all parties to resolve the deepening crisis.

Reaffirming their commitment to the tenets of Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter which calls for Members States to refrain from the threat or the use of force and Article 21 of the Charter of the Organization of American States which refers to territorial inviolability, the Heads of Government emphasised the importance of the Caribbean remaining a Zone of Peace.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (right) and Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro shake hands during a joint press conference in Port of Spain on 23 May 2016.
(Copyright Alva Viarruel/AFP 2016/Wired868)

Heads of Government called on external forces to refrain from doing anything to destabilise the situation and underscored the need to step back from the brink and called on all actors, internal and external, to avoid actions which would escalate an already explosive situation to the detriment of the people of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and which could have far-reaching negative consequences for the wider region.

Heads of Government agreed that the Chairman of Conference, Dr the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis would seek an urgent meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General to request the UN’s assistance in resolving the issue.

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  1. Warning: Undefined variable $userid in /www/wired868_759/public/wp-content/plugins/user-photo/user-photo.php on line 114

    In the words of David Abdulah then Treasurer and Education Research Officer of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union of TnT during a radio interview on station WPFW 89.3 FM Washington, D.C., on 29 November 1988: “the IMF action against Trinidad and Tobago is a bit of a punishment for (the government’s) stand against the U.S. government’s invasion of Grenada.” ”

    Davison Budhoo went on to accuse the Fund of using statistics as ‘lethal’ weapons, explaining in detail how, on behalf of the Fund, he had been involved in ‘statistical malpractices‘ to exaggerate the numbers in IMF reports to make Trinidad & Tobago – a country rich in oil resources – appear to be unstable. He accused the IMF of more than doubling an important statistic measuring labour costs so that T&T appeared unproductive even though the Fund had the correct information.

    Moreover, he alleged that the IMF ‘invented, literally out of the blue‘ massive, unpaid government debts. Budhoo claimed that these acts were deliberate and not accidental or ‘sloppy calculations’ – and they were treated as fact by the financial markets, who classified T&T as a bad risk and cut off financing to the country.

    A drop in the price of oil, combined with the cut-off funding, meant that Trinidad and Tobago’s economy collapsed and they were forced to ask the IMF for help. Badhoo described what the IMF demanded in return as ‘deadliest medicine‘ – a ‘whole gamut‘ of structural adjustment policies. Budhoo described these events as the ‘deliberate blocking of an economic lifeline to the country through subterfuge’ to ‘see T&T destroyed economically first and converted thereafter‘.

    Budhoo also made it clear that T&T was not an isolated case and called the IMF’s a form of torture in which “‘screaming in pain’ governments and peoples [are] forced to bend their knees before us, broken and terrified and disintegrating..begging for a sliver of reasonableness and decency on our part..but the torture goes on unabated“.

    Hearing Budhoo’s accusations, the T&T government ordered two independent studies to see whether the claims were true – and found that they were entirely correct: the IMF had deliberately inflated and even invented numbers in order to damage the country and bring it to its knees

  2. The Vice President of Venezuela’s National Constitutional Assembly, Aristobulo Isturiz, revealed that the US imposed economic blockade on Venezuela has prevented 18 million boxes of food from reaching the country that is suffering from food shortages.

    He then went onto highlight that the sanctions affect ordinary Venezuelan people and not the country’s leadership, just as US-imposed sanctions on Syria are having the same effect.

    Isturiz then revealed that allied countries had to make payment for the food to be reached as the US sanctions prevents Venezuela from making such purchases.

    TeleSUR explained that while Venezuela does have a food crisis that has resulted in mass food shortages, the blame is often pinned on the country’s socialist government and that government officials accuse right-wing opposition forces and their allies in the private sector and in international finance of intentionally sabotaging the economy.

    The same report continued to explain that last year, over 750 opposition-controlled offshore companies linked to the Panama Papers scandal were accused of purposely redirecting Venezuelan imports of raw food materials from the government to the private sector. Many of these companies sell their products to private companies in Colombia, which resell them to Venezuelans living close to Colombia.

  3. Kyon Esdelle can you put those posts about the IMF in this thread as well?

  4. Peace breaks out!

    World Alert Jan 26, 7:29 PM

    U.S., Venezuela reach deal to keep diplomats in each other’s capitals for 30 days as they seek a broader accord
    The United States and Venezuela announced a temporary reprieve from their standoff late Saturday as the countries agreed to work on migration and bilateral issues. If no deal is reached at the end of the 30-day period, the Venezuelans said, the U.S. diplomats remaining in Caracas would need to be repatriated within 72 hours.

    The resolution came after a morning of heated clashes at the United Nations between the U.S. and Russia — a longtime Venezuelan ally — over the Trump administration’s call for Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro to step down. European nations threatened to join Washington and leave the socialist leader increasingly isolated.

  5. no they being paid by who sent them

  6. Trump ambassador another failed Trump brand like Trump university Trump airlines Trump vodka and d list goes on.

  7. Like dogs moving in on each other’s kill.

  8. they already did that financial sanctions

  9. Essentially USA plans to starve them out, make Venezuela unmanageable and destroy the Maduro regime that way.
    Not with boots on the ground.

  10. Pompeo said: “Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem. Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays, no more games.”

    Pompeo, who was expected to address a security council meeting last night that was also due to be attended by the Venezuelan foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, said he hoped the “international community will disconnect their financial systems from the Maduro regime.”

    • Lasana Liburd yes that’s the kind of speak that the Democrats and all their backers have been using against anyone who doesn’t agree at any time with their nonsense.

      Unfortunately they are joined by countless un-smart individuals across the Western Hemisphere including here in T&T.

      Now they will all know how it feels. Sheep. Im not sure what the terminology is for this psychological condition but it’s was never good.

      To be clear, no one is necessarily nor automatically a Trump supporter if you’re disgusted by the democrats.

  11. Pompeo, who was expected to address a security council meeting last night that was also due to be attended by the Venezuelan foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, said he hoped the “international community will disconnect their financial systems from the Maduro regime.”

  12. On Friday, a Labour spokesman called for a negotiated settlement and warned against British intervention. “We oppose outside interference in Venezuela, whether from the US or anywhere else,” he said. “The future of Venezuela is a matter for Venezuelans.”

    Jeremy Corbyn has strongly criticised foreign attempts to undermine Maduro.

  13. Vladimir Putin visited a few days ago with serious aircraft and fire power.
    They are fighting for Venezuela’s oil. Nothing more than that. The MNCs and those that control them will destroy countries and people to have their resources. Politicians who get their money and power from these entities them do their bidding.
    Make no mistake this is about money not democracy. Nit even an effort to reinstate US hegemony in the western hemisphere. It is a much narrower interest. It’s called MAGA.
    If you want to know what MAGA looks like examine what the world was like between 1940 to 1975.

  14. Pompeo said: “Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem. Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays, no more games.”

  15. It’s back to the 80’s now with the rehirement of economic hitman Abrams to ‘help’ Venezuela restore democracy…plus throw in warmonger John Bolton.

  16. Lasana Murray can you put the link on the legitimacy of lack thereof of Maduro’s government in one of the existing threads on the subject?
    No new threads unless from unimpeachable source and with a significant update. 😉

  17. BTW people please note all the nation pushing for the opposition are also nations who used to be colonizers, who created the greatest acts of cruelty against mankind and lead us into two major wars

  18. I think PM Rowley was right on this call. Then again, so many governments have been changed by foreigners including the US at the last elections.

    • Kala Ramnath as the PM said, it’s for the people of Venezuela to decide who’s their leader. So if KPB woke up and decided she’s the PM of TT, would other governments support her stance. The UNC is a typical “banana republic” type political party- they oppose for the sake of opposing. How can u support the rule of democracy in one breath and support the attempt to use force to remove an elected government? Everyone beating up their mouths about the legitimacy of Venezuela’s Presidential Election. Has the UN or any independent body done any investigation to prove its illegitimacy? Let Venezuela call an election and invite independent observers to oversee it.

    • Dwight Halls kamla sounded like a childish dunce supporting Guaido.. Does she even know who he is?

    • Rose-Marie Lemessy-Forde as I said banana republic politics. Half of the ppl supporting Guido never heard of him before this week. Had our Government supported him, KPB would have been calling for support for Maduro??‍♂️??‍♂️??‍♂️

  19. So why is Trump going against his so-called puppet master (Russia) in this scenario?

  20. Since we supposed to stand with whatever America says and once we don’t do that we against them.

  21. Why didn’t we declare Hillary Clinton the winner in 2016? After all she won the popular vote.
    And since when is neutrality support?

  22. Who answers the phone is the boss is one thing. We support Maduro is another. Gortt is absolutely right and dead wrong at the same time

  23. Let’s start by trading in euros and move away from the USD and see what happens

  24. So we have returned to the good old days have we. Foreign governments simply sponsoring coups in countries they have destroyed when they could not have their way with them. Then install a puppet regime to govern at their whim and fancy.
    History does indeed repeat itself.
    Does this mean they may now sponsor a new regime in Trinidad next.

  25. This dispute is Faustian, at either end. Neutrality is the safest bet.

  26. Everybody have a degree in international relations all of a sudden

  27. Today some U.S. commentators noted that the U.S. has a history of encouraging dissidents to rise up and then doing zip to actually help them on the ground. Let’s see how this plays out.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/09/world/middleeast/iraqi-shiite-anger-at-united-states-remains-strong.html

  28. To the sycophants who hang onto every word of the US and drink their Kool Aid Each. And. Every. Time.

    Anything here sounds familiar?
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw0-ASR4sr8

  29. We must never take the side of a country led by a liar, conman and general piece of s ___t.Under him, US has lost all moral authority to dictate to any country in the world. Why doesn’t he recognise the Russian opposition? He is a first rate jackass and the opposition’s support for him is a disgrace. Their recklessness has certainly cost them my vote. thanks

    • Andy Jacob this would have happened under any head of the Republicans and the democrats too. Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric. Yes Trump is who he is, however he wasn’t there for Libya, Syria, the Ukraine, Grenada, several countries in South America, countless.

      It’s US imperialism and that’s why certain candidates like Jill Stein and Tulsi Gabbard are running their campaigns against US war mongering.

  30. Democracy and prosperity require tough choices..read between the lines

  31. The following Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM): Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Foreign Ministers of Grenada and Suriname met by video-conference on 24 January 2019 and issued the following statement.
    Heads of Government are following closely the current unsatisfactory situation in Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, a neighbouring Caribbean country. They expressed grave concern about the plight of the people of Venezuela and the increasing volatility of the situation brought about by recent developments which could lead to further violence, confrontation, breakdown of law and order and greater suffering for the people of the country.
    Heads of Government reaffirmed their guiding principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the affairs of states, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, and respect for human rights and democracy.
    Heads of Government reiterated that the long-standing political crisis, which has been exacerbated by recent events, can only be resolved peacefully through meaningful dialogue and diplomacy.
    In this regard, Heads of Government offered their good offices to facilitate dialogue among all parties to resolve the deepening crisis.
    Reaffirming their commitment to the tenets of Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter which calls for Members States to refrain from the threat or the use of force and Article 21 of the Charter of the Organization of American States which refers to territorial inviolability, the Heads of Government emphasised the importance of the Caribbean remaining a Zone of Peace.
    Heads of Government called on external forces to refrain from doing anything to destabilise the situation and underscored the need to step back from the brink and called on all actors, internal and external, to avoid actions which would escalate an already explosive situation to the detriment of the people of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and which could have far-reaching negative consequences for the wider region.
    Heads of Government agreed that the Chairman of Conference, Dr the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis would seek an urgent meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General to request the U.N’s assistance in resolving the issue.”

  32. Cnc3

    Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has sent a clear message on how he feels about US Ambassador Joseph Mondello making a public statement against Trinidad and Tobago’s position on Venezuela.

    “I take umbrage at the United States’ ambassador in Trinidad and Tobago making a public statement criticising the actions of the government of Trinidad and Tobago while we take action in protection of the interests of the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” Dr Rowley said in the Parliament Friday evening.

    “We in Trinidad and Tobago under all of our government, we have preserved the sovereign position of the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

    He lashed out at members of the opposition who have said that they support Juan Guaidó who has declared himself interim president of Venezuela.

    “If today there are people in the opposition who believe they must take instructions from somebody else and the US Embassy on Marli Street, then you’re on your own. Leave the PNM out of that,” he said.

    He continued: “Until there is a change of government in Venezuela, as Mr Patrick Manning said, when you pick up the phone, is who answer the phone (is) in charge of Venezuela. What they are asking us to do is to take sides largely contrived by external forces. If you are going to have a change of regime in today’s world post-World War 2 and you want to do it properly, you’re required to go through the UN and sanction it. Trinidad and Tobago will not be invited to take any interest that would damage our relations with neighbours.”

    At a news conference earlier, Dr Rowley made it clear that the government will not support an invasion of Venezuela to topple President Nicolas Maduro.

    “Trinidad and Tobago from day one was not supportive of the approach of forced regime change in Venezuela. Forced entry to bring about regime change is forbidden by the OAS article and UN article and Trinidad and Tobago has kept faith with those articles,” he said.

    Dr Rowley said that no one can pretend that the situation in Venezuela is not serious but adds that entering the country to change the regime is not allowed.

    He also criticised the opposition for declaring support for Guaidó at that news conference.

    “Here in T&T, persons with no responsibility and responsible to no one but themselves, have an issue with our position,” he said.

    He added: “The statement by the opposition can be seen and ought to be seen for what it is – reckless and undermining of the government’s effort in treating with a particular situation.”

    “The president that can only get into office in Venezuela by force is the one the opposition is choosing,” he said.

    Dr Rowley will be leaving the country on Sunday for talks with the United Nations in New York and in Washington on T&T’s position.

    “It is not for the people of Trinidad and Tobago to bring about regime change in Venezuela to determine who runs Venezuela,” he said.

    – by Sampson Nanton

    • It’s sobering how this response reads like it was written by some of the older trinis I have encountered in my lifetime.

      “Know your place and don’t get involved with other people business.” Then later they turn around and complain about crime and say “Dem young people out of hand”.

      T&T does not have to “intervene” but that gas pipeline is clearly taking a side. Be down with ten toes or admit you can’t deal with the drama and pull out.

      Still OPM needs to be organizing “Conversation On Venezuela”.

    • Lasana Murray ahm, how could it be we not taking a side?
      Gas deal in train, support for ‘elected’ leader, but offering to mediate? Sides have been taken, deliberately or not.

      • And that is absoulute rubbish. When Pinochet had dogs assaulting women, and most of the industrialized countries of the world had bought chilean copper, whether they were coomunist, socialist or capitalist. A commercial agreement is totally different from a political position. For example, at this moment usa still imports 500,000 barrels of oil from Venezuela and they clearly don’t support what is going on in the country

    • And they sent Moses to the inauguration, Nerisha Mohammed

    • Nerisha Mohammed the ‚side‘ taken is the acceptable and LEGAL way. Regardless of oil deal. We must support those in our region when they are being abused.

      Everyone wants to give opinions on children dying in wars and stay neutral? You have to be kidding.

      It is intentional and right to take this position.

    • Linda Louison not so sure about that. From what I’m starting to better understand now, the issue is that Maduro’s rule is illegal by their own way of doing things.

      They have no democratically elected leader which could open the country and region up to all kinds of problems. Notice Europe is saying hold an election while the US is being more opportunistic about picking sides.

      TnT’s current stance can backfire tremendously and hurt us down the road. We already have been branded as a corrupt drug transshipment island.

    • Lasana Murray lmao no elected leader? I’m not going to go into the perhaps 15+ year long agitation and infiltration going on in Venezuela conducted by the US to achieve just this. I have no more time to thrash out what’s not true or misrepresented or not.

      I know i was once there.

    • Linda Louison “No democratically elected leader”. I’m not going to go into it either, I don’t speak Spanish and can’t verify most of the information I’m consuming right now.

      But I do understand the argument that his time was up on Jan 10th and no elections were held. Multiple sources say the National Assembly thing is what is supposed to select the president right? What I understood so far is that he bypassed that process by amending the constitution.

      What I am also reading is he had supreme court judges and military leaders in his pocket allowing him to break the rules. He also outlawed an opposition party correct?

      If Rowley or Kamla did that here in TnT, wouldn’t we want the rest of the world to take notice?

    • Elections were held last year, the Opposition didn’t participate (because they claim the elections were rigged) and thus Maduro got re -elected.

      Look, the equivalent argument is to say that Trump is not the President because we don’t like him. It’s a bullshit argument.

  33. We need a national consultation before it’s too late.

  34. Amazing a US citizen got chopped up in the Saudi Arabia embassy but the Orange man ain’t blink especially since they bought 350 Billion arms. MYOB

  35. Republicans seem to only deal in absolutes… or was that the Sith? Kinda hard to tell which is which

  36. I had planned since last year to take a well-deserved vacation, far away from T&T. Timing of it has nothing to do with the arrival of Russian military “contractors” and this, last month:

    RUSSIA MILITARY PLANES ARRIVE IN VENEZUELA, IRAN’S WARSHIPS MAY FOLLOW TO SUPPORT U.S. FOE

    https://www.newsweek.com/russia-military-venezuela-iran-warships-us-foe-1252790

  37. US Embassy spelled Maduro’s name wrong too yes… :-/

  38. Lmbao like the USA is a bastion of democracy

  39. I find he damn out a place is he threatening us dr Rowley clearly stated we are neutral

    • Well like I said before, if you follow the US foreign policy culture since the time of John Foster Dulles, whose strict Calvinist Christian upbringing influenced his worldview, non-alignment was just as abhorrent as openly siding against them. Remember when W Bush uttered his famous piece of effluence? “If you’re not with us, you’re with the terrorists”?

      I knew this would eventually happen; I just want to see now what many Trinis would say seeing as how easily they bow down to Uncle Sam. I replied what we *should* tell the ambassador but I’ll get it blocked again O:)

    • A Corey Gilkes “HYMC” maybe? ?

    • Rose-Marie oh my gosh girl behave leave him be ….I guess he probably in the people 4 season country I don’t know just saying…..

    • Neisha Dowridge I was asking A Corey Gilkes if that was what he wanted to tell the ambassador that would have been blocked. As in “HYMC”. I would have liked to tell him that as well. Farse and outa place. If the US has a position why does that have to be t&t position ?

    • Rose-Marie Lemessy-Forde,that *is* essentially what I said

    • Rose-Marie Lemessy-Forde no GFY and i myself hardly use that language or its acronym. Lol

      Besides I am staying away from always addressing my mother’s private parts so I have to say anything it’ll be HY fadder di** let’s see how they like that! Lol

  40. I’m more interested in his views on the shutdown.

  41. Is he a federal worker? Just asking

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