Stay out of Venezuela's internal affairs, Antigua PM urges CARICOM
ST JOHN'S (CMC):
Prime Minister Gaston Browne is advising his Caribbean Community (CARICOM) colleagues to stay out of the internal affairs of Venezuela, where opposition forces have been staging street demonstrations over the past months in a bid to force President Nicolas Maduro out of office.
Last month, CARICOM foreign ministers called for non-interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela, where several people have been killed in street demonstrations.
"In so far as intervening in the affairs of any state, we are against that. We have taken that position at the OAS (Organization of American States) and we have stood by that principle. We have stood by the principle of non-interference, we have stood by the principle of respecting the sovereignty and independence of states," Browne said in an interview broadcast on the state-owned ABS television.
He told viewers that his administration was "concerned about the situation in Venezuela," adding "clearly the situation is getting more and more intense but ultimately it has to be resolved by the Venezuelan people".
Earlier this month, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves praised CARICOM countries for acting "with independence, courage and concerted action" during the OAS Permanent Council meeting called to discuss the situation in Venezuela.
In a two-page letter sent to Irwin La Rocque, the CARICOM secretary general, Prime Minister Gonsalves said that the "CARICOM stance was a tribute to our region's commitment to the highest ideals of our Caribbean civilisation and of its institutional expression, politically, the independent and sovereign nation-state".
In his letter, which was copied to heads of state and governments in CARICOM, and obtained by the Caribbean Media Corporation, Gonsalves said he was "humbled and proud of the majesty of CARICOM's united stance in defence of the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states; the bedrock ideas of sovereignty and independence, (and) the nobility of the fundamental precepts of representative democracy".