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CARICOM has written to Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro saying it rejected his decision to recognize recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.
Victor Gill Ramirez
In a letter, Dr. Timothy Harris, prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and chairman of CARICOM, expressed “disapproval and grave concern” over the matter, describing it as “inappropriate.” CARICOM Heads held a special meeting on January 24 to discuss the ongoing situation in Venezuela. In attendance were Heads of Government from Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. Foreign Ministers of Grenada and Suriname were also in attendance. “Heads of Government mandated me as as Chairman of the conference, to write to you to express our disapproval and grave concern with regard that you, in your capacity as Secretary-General, have adopted by recognizing the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guido, as interim President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” Harris wrote in the letter dated January 31. “This action, on your part, without the authority of the Member States of the Organization of American States, is considered inappropriate.” Harris told Almagro that is it imperative he clarify that he does not speak on the behalf of all OAS member states. “We are aware that this is not the only occasion on which you have made public utterances in the name of the Organization without without authority,” he stated. “This type of unilateral by the Head of an International Organization, whose members comprise sovereign states, is a clear departure from normal practice and cause for great concern.” Despite the appearance of unity in the letter, the Venezuelan crisis has split CARICOM, since many member states are also part of the OAS. A resolution not to recognize Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro’s second term was presented by Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, the United States, Paraguay and Peru at the OAS recently. St. Vincent and the Grenadines led a group consisting of Suriname and Dominica, which voted against the resolution. Jamaica, St. Lucia, The Bahamas, Haiti and Guyana voted for it. St. Kitts, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Belize and Grenada abstained..