As the world seeks a solution to the political instability in Venezuela, Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley says the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) have agreed with their international counterparts that the Caribbean must remain a zone of peace.
Speaking on the Brass Tacks Sunday radio programme, the Prime Minister, who is in Washington, DC said she had just returned from a meeting in Uruguay with representatives from regional groupings to decide on the best solution to the crisis Venezuela is facing.
“We held meetings with the United Nations Secretary General, along with other delegations across the world such as the African Union, the European Union, Russia and their allies and the Latin American community. In CARICOM, we agreed that our region must remain in total peace, because we are small nations with a thin buffer and any form of instability would destroy our stability economically and socially, both individually and as a region.”
With military intervention ruled out, Mottley said, “Two or three weeks ago, the wider international community was considering military intervention, but CARICOM’s position on that was very clear and that is why we went to the UN and said military intervention was a no-no.” She added that the European Union had also agreed not to go the route of military action.
Prime Minister Mottley noted that Barbados was not choosing the sides of either elected President Nicolas Maduro or the self-appointed interim President, Juan Guaido, but believed dialogue was the best way to resolve the dilemma.
“Small countries can only survive if they uphold the rule of law, and both the UN Charter and OAS Charter are based on principles of territorial sovereignty, non-interference and non-intervention, and respect for the rule of law. So to have someone declare themselves as interim president of a country in circumstances where the constitutionality of it may be in serious dispute, requires some talk at the very least.
“There are numerous political parties in Venezuela, and if you replace the party in power tomorrow, you are dealing with a country that has 30 million people, and there are millions who will remain unsatisfied. And when the world’s attention turns from Venezuela, that country as well as its neighbors will still have all the repercussions to deal with, which could create instability in the region.”
Following the meetings in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo, Ms. Mottley said the leaders gathered came up with what they called the “Montevideo Mechanism” which will govern how the peace process will work.
“We agreed that we would put together a team of people who would help bridge the gap and enter into a four-stage phased dialogue with direct contact among the players involved in a secure environment. All parties will get to put their views on the table, try to find common ground, and then there will be a commitment phase and once they reach agreement, they will have to stick to certain timelines and then there will be the implementation phase.
“We have identified four people who will work on this, including former Barbados Chief Justice Sir David Simmons, former Inter-American Development Bank President Enrique Iglesias, Mexico’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs Fernando Sepulvedo and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.”
The prime minister said so far the Maduro government had agreed to take part in the negotiations and the group was still trying to reach out to the opposition.