“The critical issues for us here in [Trinidad and Tobago] and the region are not how anyone feels about President Nicolás Maduro—based on knowledge, misinformation or ideology—but about fundamental principles in international relations, in particular the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states.
“It is vital for small states to uphold this principle, enshrined in international law, in a world where the powerful want to control us—mind, body and territory…”
The following statement regarding Trinidad and Tobago’s position on Venezuela’s governance crisis was submitted by Khafra Kambon, chairman of the Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago:
The Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad & Tobago compliments the Prime Minister and the government of Trinidad and Tobago for forthright public rejection of a call by the United States President to recognise a pretender called Juan Guaidó as the ‘Interim President’ of Venezuela, with no constitutional basis for the claim.
The government must be further commended for its positive role in discussions which led CARICOM countries to almost unanimously reject the contemptuous call. US pressures had coerced some CARICOM countries into voting for an earlier resolution in the OAS to condemn the government of Venezuela. Trinidad and Tobago abstained from that vote.
We unequivocally reject the opposition party’s ill informed and backward criticism of the principled stand taken by the government on this major issue for the region which demands the greatest unity possible. We find it hard to conceive that anyone in political leadership would not see the dangerous course for countries like ours on which the United States is embarked in this all too bold effort to unconstitutionally remove a government in the region.
For an extended period the US administration has sought to bring about the collapse of the Venezuelan government by crippling economic sanctions and internal subversion. Now they are transparently seeking our support for coup d’etat or military invasion, for their own interests.
The critical issues for us here in TT and the region are not how anyone feels about President Nicolás Maduro—based on knowledge, misinformation or ideology—but about fundamental principles in international relations, in particular the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states.
It is vital for small states to uphold this principle, enshrined in international law, in a world where the powerful want to control us—mind, body and territory. Most of the relatively few countries expressing support for the US position against Venezuela are doing so because of intimidation or the perceived self-interest of leaders. Ignorance about facts on the ground in Venezuela is seen even in major partners of the United States.
The British representative at the United Nations, supporting the lie that President Maduro had been elected in a rigged election, backed up his claim by saying that the Maduro regime stuffed the ballot boxes. The Venezuelan representative at the UN had to inform him that the system in Venezuela is all electronic—there are no ballot boxes.
In maintaining a firm stand on non-intervention, we have to be aware of the basic facts. Unbiased international observers are high in praise of the transparency of the electoral process in Venezuela. The Maduro government had continuous dialogue with the opposition groups before the May 2017 election.
Extensive talks were held in the Dominican Republic, mediated by the government of that country, At the end of the talks, all parties agreed on a proposed election date, specific electoral guarantees and specified international observers.
After a call from US secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the opposition refused to sign the agreement. The Maduro government invited several international observers, including from the OAS, the European Union and the United Nations, who eventually declined or failed to show.
The eventual boycott of the election by the major opposition parties and invited international monitors was not by chance. Pre-election polls had indicated that Maduro would win.
Clearly a solid core of the Venezuelan people continue to have confidence in President Maduro despite economic hardships, which they know were initially triggered by the fall in the price of oil and considerably worsened by vicious economic sanctions.
The United States and its allies, who are pretending concern for the welfare of the Venezuelan people, should drop the smokescreen of wanting to provide humanitarian aid to those whom their sanctions are punishing, lift the sanctions and restore the access of the country to its assets abroad, including the US$1.2 billion worth of gold stored in the Bank of England.
The country has billions of dollars in reserves abroad, estimated at $8 billion by sources quoted by RT. Instead the US is moving in the opposite direction.
On January 28, they illegally took control of the assets of Venezuela’s state owned oil company, PDVSA.
All those of us who want to see democracy survive in Venezuela and the restoration of economic progress in Venezuela—which lifted millions of a previously ignored underclass from poverty—those who want to see principles of international law upheld for our own protection as a small country in a world of vicious sharks; we must all raise our voices in protest against the continued economic strangulation of Venezuela and this transparent, unjustifiable attempt at a coup led by an unbalanced US President.