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Five ex-Caricom leaders weigh in


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Five ex-Caricom leaders weigh in

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FIVE FORMER Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders say while they acknowledge the need for humanitarian aid to Venezuela, they are against such assistance being politicised.

In a joint statement, the five former leaders, P.J. Patterson of Jamaica, Lester Bird of Antigua and Barbuda, Dr Kenny Anthony of St Lucia, Owen Arthur of Barbados and Said Musa of Belize, said they also support the decision of CARICOM in promoting a “process of dialogue between all the parties in Venezuela to seek accord and to negotiate constructively a settlement of the internal challenges that confront the nation as a whole.

“We appeal to all governments to contribute to the process of peaceful negotiation by the Venezuelan parties in the interest of the people of Venezuela and the wider hemisphere,” they said.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president of Venezuela and is backed by the United States and several other countries, has called on President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn into office last month, to step down.

Maduro is backed by Russia, China, Cuba and several other countries, and he regards the aid shipment by the United States as a pretext for military intervention in the South American country.

Aid blocked

Over the last weekend, the military in Venezuela prevented the aid convoys from entering the country from Brazil and Colombia. In their joint statement issued over the last weekend, the five former regional leaders said they are “concerned about the maintenance of the Caribbean as a zone of peace, express great disquiet about events surrounding the situation in Venezuela and the prospect of any action that is inconsistent with the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The former leaders said they believe that any aid to Venezuela should “be conducted under the auspices of the United Nations according to normal procedures, including the participation of the government and other authorities.

“We categorically reject the use or the threat of force as a means of resolving the situation in Venezuela.

“We appeal to all governments to contribute to the process of peaceful negotiation by the Venezuelan parties in the interest of the people of Venezuela and the wider hemisphere.”

The five former leaders said “none of the Venezuelan parties should be encouraged to eschew the process of dialogue, which alone can produce “a Venezuelan pact” that is central to lasting peace and orderly economic and social restoration and progress”. (CMC)

FORMER CARICOM LEADERS calling for a peaceful solution to the Venezuela crisis. (Internet image)

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