CARICOM has claimed for itself a victory in the ongoing Venezuelan crisis, declaring that talks in Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines’ taking a seat in the UN Security Council vindicated the regional bloc’s non-interventionist stance and its ‘diplomacy of peace’.
Following talks between the warring political factions, mediated by Norway, held here earlier this week, the ambassador to CARICOM, David Comissiong, praised the region for staying the non-interventionist course, in the face of pressure from larger nations bent on military intervention.
Delivering his report on the last week’s annual CARICOM summit in St Lucia, Ambassador Comissiong said that it is never too late to use the power of dialogue to settle conflicts, echoing a similar sentiment offered by Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
Ambassador Comissiong was not able to give an update on the outcome of the negotiations but said: “Diplomacy of peace has been vindicated. At the conclusion of the CARICOM summit in St Lucia, it was announced that Barbados would be hosting talks between the government of Venezuela and the opposition. This happened between Monday and Tuesday this week.
“This to my mind is a consolidation and vindication of CARICOM’s diplomacy of peace. I think the world is coming to recognize that the position taken by CARICOM in favour of peace and dialogue was the correct position. There were big countries who were saying that the time for talk is over, but CARICOM spoke truth to power when we said that the time for dialogue and the time for peace is never over.”
Barbados is a member of a troika of CARICOM nations including St Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago which have been instrumental in pushing for non-intervention in, and dialogue on, the Venezuelan crisis by spearheading the five-month-old Montevideo Mechanism along with Mexico and Uruguay. Norway’s prime minister, Erna Solberg, was a special guest of CARICOM leaders at their 40th annual summit, held in St Lucia. She held private talks with Prime Minister Mottley.
The Foreign Ministry in Oslo issued a statement on Sunday announcing the two sides “will meet this week in Barbados to make progress in seeking an agreed and constitutional solution for the country. The negotiations will take place in a continuous and expedited manner”.
The political deadlock between the two sides reached a critical point in January, after Juan Guaidó declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela and was immediately recognized by the United States. Initial meetings between the two camps to resume talks began in mid-May in Oslo.
Comissiong further argued that confidence in Barbados to host this high-stakes meeting must be viewed on the backdrop of St. Vincent and the Grenadine’s historic elevation to one of the rotating seats in the United Nations Security Council. He contended that these were all signs that the rest of the world is taking stock of CARICOM’s diplomatic position of peace.
He said: “St. Vincent is the smallest country in history to win a seat on the UN Security Council and they won by a magnificent tally of 185 votes to 6 votes. That also constitutes a vote of confidence in the CARICOM diplomacy of peace and insistence to the adherence to the principles of international law.” [email protected]