Venezuelan Crisis is Now Regional In Scope

By Stephen Kangal
January 30, 2019

Stephen KangalIt appears to me that the latest statement issued by Minister Stuart Young deputizing for a missing -in-action Minister of Foreign Affairs on the situation in Venezuela stands on the following three planks:

  1. The UN principle of the Sovereign Equality of States
  2. Non- Interference by T&T in the internal affairs of sovereign state of Venezuela
  3. Non-Intervention militarily but potential mediation in crisis Venezuela
    The first thought that strikes me is that were the international community deterred by the first two above-mentioned pillars in South Africa, the despicable policy of apartheid in South Africa would have been still with us today. Infringements of human, civil and political rights concerns globalize the situation in Venezuela beyond its sovereign/territorial boundaries.

It is no longer considered an exclusive internal matter and T&T must take due note. It has evoked the outrage of the international community as a result of the humanitarian crisis that is plaguing Venezuela.

But the international community saw apartheid as a denial of fundamental human rights to blacks, a threat to the peace and order of the world and indeed to humanity and removed this nefarious system of discrimination.

The effects of the Venezuelan crisis unleashed by Maduro have exceeded the borders of Venezuela and are manifesting itself in T&T, Colombia and other countries with the influx of Venezuelan refugees numbering over three million. This can no longer be considered exclusively a Venezuelan problem confined to its borders.

T&T has had to accelerate a bill to deal with refugees. It seeks to assist Venezuelan nationals in need of food, shelter, clothing, employment and beefing up of its border security apparatus. Trade in Venezuelan- sourced guns brought by the refugess is increasing the crime pandemic here and we had to export emergency supplies of food etc. to Venezuela responding to the internal food shortage situation.

Accordingly for T&T to base its current policy position on the irrelevance of sovereignty, non-interference and a do-nothing scenario is to misunderstand how the Venezuelan crisis situation has mushroomed incrementally and gained attention demanding international settlement of the bifurcated political situation there.

This escalation has provided the OAS with a window to condemn the illegitimacy of the Presidency of Maduro and for states to recognize the acting Presidency of Juan Guaido. That is designed ostensibly to restore human, civil and political rights, reduce suffering of the people and to salvage the tottering- on- the- brink Venezuelan economy to benefit the people.

T&T, although a small state located next to Venezuela must demonstrate strong statesmanship and navigate the crisis sensibly and with much needed diplomacy. Galvanising Caricom is a fruitless initiative without any clout. They themselves are divided into three camps with Jamaica and Guyana opposing Maduro’s regime.

2 Responses to “Venezuelan Crisis is Now Regional In Scope”

  • The recognition of Juan Guaido as the acting President of Venezuela by the US, some South American countries and the European Union has forced the World to focus on the refugee crisis in Venezuela and the fiscal and immoral failures of Maduro.
    T&T has buried its head in the sand and ignored the injustices and tyrannical rule of Maduro in the name of oil and gas.
    As previous PM of T&T Kamla has laid out the red carpet welcoming Maduro. Rowley has done the same. Both leaders have overlooked the questionable reign of Maduro and the plight of the Venezuelan people for energy agreements which benefit T&T.
    Kamla, as Opposition leader has adopted a position of convenience, an anti-Maduro stance which she gambles would benefit her politically with alignment to the US. Rowley in his usual uncontrolled, emotional manner so unbefitting of a prime minister is trying to steamroll his way into some sort of unclear neutral stance. His earlier tirade left the impression that he was in full support of Maduro, ignoring the moral implications of such a position.

  • Compared to that position adopted by the Government in siding with Maduro by recognising his Presidency by the attendance of Moses at the Jan 10 inauguration Kamla has ascended to the moral high ground in determining her policy to recognise Guaido as the Interim President as elected Head of the National Assembly. Hers is humanitarian crisis driven as well as being a very strategic decision It is clear that both Government and the UNC define the crisis in Venezuelan differently. The Government thinks that the situation is “very unsatisfactory” while the Opposition regards and reads the crisis from a caring humanitarian perspective seeing that so many people are suffering from food shortages, medicine scarce and the deprivation of human, political and civil rights of the people of Venezuela.The act to recognis the Maduro second Presidency in the face of so many allegations of inhumane consequences flows from a careless presence of Moses at the inauguration that conveys instant recognition that Rowley Administration did not foresee and was caught with his pants down because of his obsession with the Dragon Gas Deal not failing after the trauma of the Sandals Scandal. He cannot afford to be the victim of two major successive failures in the management of the T&T economy. But the US sanctions imposed on PDVSA will kill the Dragon and it will no longer roar with gas for T&T. The incompetence of both Moses and Rowley in presiding over the external economic relations of T&T is showing in the adoption of a pro_Maduro policy bilaterally while pursuing a mediating/ non-interference role multilaterally. It is clear that Kamla has outsmarted the Government in her politically correct positioning by non-adoption of a position similar to that of Rowley/Moses but also on the side of human rights and to bring an end to the mass suffering of the people of Venezuela while promoting links with the Opposition in Caracas that may redound to the benefit of T&T and to her should she win the 2020 elections. It is in this sense a quite astute and strategic decision but not the same as that adopted by Rowley. The US did not influence the decision of the UNC as alleged falsely by the Prime Minster in Parliament when he lambasted the American Ambassador in the full public glare that was very undiplomatic and very crass damaging TT/USA relations by his indiscretions and resulting in his not being able to go to Washington to meet stakeholders because of a Department of State rebuff. He returned to T&T with negative deportment and disappointing body language. The latest is that he is not invited to the Feb 7 Montevideo Meeting because of his pro-Maduro stance and somewhat anti-American guise in Parliament and his constant insinuations that the USA wants to impose a military solution in Caracas.

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