Sun | Nov 19, 2017

Jamaica supported failed US-backed resolution on Venezuela

Published:Saturday | June 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Johnson Smith

Jamaica was among six CARICOM countries that voted in favour of a failed US-backed resolution at this week's Organisation of American States (OAS) general assembly that included a proposal for a "group of friends" to mediate the Venezuelan political crisis.

Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Guyana and St Lucia were the other CARICOM states that voted in support. Those who voted against the resolution, which also called for President Nicolas Maduro to "reconsider" an assembly to rewrite the constitution, were Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Haiti, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago abstained.

 

Short three votes

 

The resolution failed on Monday because it fell three short of the 23 votes it needed to be passed. The US did not propose it on Wednesday for the final declaration.

The CARICOM bloc carries 14 votes and most of those countries benefit from favourable Venezuela oil loans, although imports are falling.

In a statement issued yesterday, Jamaica's foreign minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, said that the resolution "did not seek to censure the Venezuelan government although it expressed strong concerns about the situation there".

But Venezuelan allies at the three-day summit said the resolution was 'interventionist'. The South American nation's foreign minister, Delcy Rodriguez, called countries that supported the US in its Venezuelan resolution "lapdogs of imperialism".

Johnson Smith said CARICOM's votes splintered "despite significant efforts to coordinate positions".

"I wish to emphasise once more," she said, "that the decisions taken by Jamaica throughout this process have been based on accurate information, the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the Charter of the OAS, and the consideration of all factors, including efforts to coordinate with our CARICOM partners."

More than 70 people have been reportedly killed in anti-government protests in Venezuela.