Jamaica Observer / Dear Heads of Government of Caricom, As Caricom citizens, we write to you to express our deep concerns about the ongoing imperialist assaults against our sister nation of Venezuela, and also about the very troubling stance of some heads of Government of our regional body.
We wish to make it unmistakably clear that, as Caricom citizens, we stand unwaveringly with our embattled sister nation of Venezuela in defence of its sovereignty and its right to choose its own political path to self-determination and development.
Unfortunately, at the recently held Organization of American States (OAS) meeting in Washington, DC, some of our Caricom member states — specifically Jamaica, St Lucia, Barbados, The Bahamas, and Guyana — chose to abandon the principles of collective leadership enshrined in the foundational document of the Treaty of Chaguaramas which have historically guided Caricom’s foreign policy positions in relation to other countries.
The unprincipled actions of the referenced member states led them to side with United States imperialism by voting for a resolution that is premised on the fraudulent notion that there is a breakdown of democratic order, rule of law, and social peace in Venezuela, and that the presidential elections that are scheduled for April 22, 2018 will not be democratic, transparent and fair.
The said resolution also encourages and portends an illegal and subversive intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela with its demand that the Venezuelan Government postpone the presidential election and open the country up to interventionist so-called “assistance” from OAS member states that are hostile to the Bolivarian Government.
We believe that this unprincipled vote on the part of Jamaica, St Lucia, Barbados, The Bahamas, and Guyana is not only a despicable betrayal of Caricom’s traditional principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations and respect for other nations’ right to self-determination, but that it is also a betrayal of a friend who has extended to us badly needed assistance through the PetroCaribe Energy Cooperation Agreement and other forms of aid to foster development and the prosperity of our peoples.
We therefore condemn in the strongest terms the machinations of these five Caricom member states that have shredded the principles of Caricom in order to assist the largest and most menacing imperialist nation of our hemisphere to achieve one of its prized geopolitical objectives, namely the isolation and overthrow of Venezuela’s anti-imperialist revolution.
We also profoundly regret that the Governments of Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Haiti, St Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago chose to sit on the fence at the OAS meeting by either abstaining in the vote or by absenting themselves from the meeting, instead of voting in favour of upholding the principles of sovereignty and self-determination in relation to our sister nation of Venezuela.
It is our belief that at a time when US imperialism is openly pushing for a military coup and military intervention against the sovereign Government and people of Venezuela, to abstain from voting against an openly anti-Venezuela interventionist resolution in the OAS is to renege on a sacred responsibility to defend our region from the evils of imperialism and to uphold the notion of the Caribbean as a zone of peace.
In this regard, we salute the governments and political leaders of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, and Suriname for their dignified votes at the OAS meeting; not only in support of sovereignty and self-determination in Venezuela, but also in defence of the principles of self-determination and sovereignty of Caricom itself.
In closing, we unapologetically reiterate our solidarity with the anti-imperialist Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela and respectfully call upon all the heads of Government of Caricom to staunchly defend the principles of self-determination, sovereignty, freedom, and the non-interference in the affairs of other countries.
Needless to say, it is our unbending belief that to defend these principles in Venezuela and all other states is to defend them in our Caricom states as well.
As such, we appeal to all Caricom heads of Government to recognise that the inherent dignity of our nations demand that we fully embrace the fundamental international law principles that underlie our Caribbean Community — principles that enjoin us to unite to defend a sister nation against an imperial aggressor.
We recognise that Venezuela’s anti-imperialist revolution has already borne impressive successes in education, health care, and housing, and in the reduction of poverty, hunger and unemployment. We further recognise that Venezuela could have achieved even more gains in making the economy work for the majority of its people had the country not had to contend with unlawfully imposed sanctions and other forms of subversion.
We are only too well aware that Venezuela’s battles against imperialism and oligarchy are going to be our challenges and tribulations as well whenever our people in Caricom decide to fundamentally confront the dependent capitalism that is so deeply entrenched in our countries. Indeed, we already have bitter evidence and confirmation of this in the form of the attempts of Grenada’s New Jewel Movement under the late Maurice Bishop between 1979 and 1983, and of Jamaica’s People’s National Party under the late Michael Manley between 1972-1980. And when the time for our test comes once again we will want the support and solidarity of all decent, principled, and law-abiding nations.
Long live Caricom unity!
Long live Caricom-Venezuela unity!
Jamaica Peace Council
David Comissiong (Barbados)
Clement Payne Movement of Barbados