Fri | May 26, 2017

Letter of the Day | Don’t engage in Venezuela coup

Published:Friday | May 19, 2017 | 5:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Yesterday the CARICOM ministers of foreign affairs all gathered in Barbados for a special meeting to discuss, primarily, the situation in Venezuela and the campaign that has emerged in the Organization of American States (OAS) to intervene in the domestic affairs of Venezuela by attacking President Nicol·s Maduro and his United Socialist Party administration.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines has already publicly expressed his concern about the manner in which a small group of powerful OAS member states are using that organisation and its compliant secretary general, one Luis Almagro, to target and subvert President Maduro.

Prime Minister Gonsalves has also expressed disquiet about the manner in which CARICOM governments have been permitting Luis Almagro and the said small group of powerful nations to break their unity within the OAS and use them to advance their anti-Venezuela agenda.

Indeed, we Barbadians should be extremely concerned about the role that our country and our OAS ambassador, Selwin Hart, have been playing at the OAS!

Mr Hart committed a major diplomatic blunder when, on April 3, he joined together with 16 other ambassadors to the OAS to stage an outrageously meeting at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, to target, stigmatise and attack the legitimate government of Venezuela.

Indeed, so outrageous were the actions of Mr Hart and the other 16 rebel ambassadors in staging the unconstitutional meeting in defiance of the chairman of the Permanent Council of the OAS (the ambassador of Bolivia) and the vice-chair of the council (the ambassador of Haiti) that the actions of Hart and his cohorts are being described by OAS officials and by veteran statesmen like Sir Ronald Sanders as "a coup d'etat followed by a lynching".

Hart and his fellow rebel ambassadors - no doubt emboldened by the fact that they were being led by the mighty USA - persisted with their meeting and went on to propose and pass a resolution that - in effect - indicted the democratic-socialist administration of President Maduro and set the stage for an OAS intervention in the internal affairs of that country.

The end result of the outrageous folly of Hart and his fellow rebel ambassadors is that Venezuela has felt constrained to withdraw from membership of the OAS!

So, as a result of the actions of Ambassador Selwin Hart and our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Barbados has played an unprincipled role in causing Venezuela to be hounded out of an important regional multilateral organisation.

As a citizen of Barbados, I consider this to be one of the lowest and most shameful episodes in our entire history of diplomacy as an independent nation. Surely, Errol Barrow - author of the motto "friends of all, satellites of none" - must be turning in anguish in his watery grave!

No CARICOM country should, therefore, find itself in an unholy campaign to aid and abet those forces that are so anxious to once again get their hands on Venezuela's tremendous oil resources that they are intent on unconstitutionally bringing down the Maduro administration.

DAVID COMISSIONG

President, Clement Payne Movement