ST GEORGE'S, Grenada (CMC) – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders will rely on “some basic principles” when it comes to the issue of the unfolding political situation in Venezuela, but the matter is “not on the agenda” for their annual summit that begins here on Tuesday, CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque has said.
“The agenda for the Heads of Government meeting will be adopted on Wednesday morning and I guess we will see what emerges out of that agenda. Currently the issue of the situation in Venezuela is not inscribed on the agenda,” LaRocque told a news conference here Monday, ahead of the summit.
Opposition supporters have been taking to the streets in Caracas demanding the removal of President Nicolas Maduro. The demonstrations have resulted in the deaths of several Venezuelans.
But CARICOM appeared to be divided on the issue with St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica among those regional countries urging the Caribbean not to interfere in the internal affairs of the South American country.
LaRocque said that while the Venezuela issue is not on the agenda, “there are some basic principles that the community has elaborated and this principle still holds.
“All our member states subscribe to the statement issued by the COFCOPR (CARICOM Foreign Ministers) of non-interference, non-intervention in the internal affairs of the sovereign state of Venezuela”.
He said the policy “holds despite what you may have read about a particular text being considered at the OAS (Organisation of American States), those principles hold.
“I think we have to wait for the outcome of the meeting to see what statements come out of this meeting on Venezuela, if any,” he added.
“We have basic principles that we are united on that continues to inform our approach to dealing with Venezuela and whether or not the matter is discussed we have to wait and see what is the outcome of the meeting,” LaRocque said, adding that Maduro had not been invited to the three-day summit that will be chaired by Grenada's Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell.