Saint Lucia would support a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) mission to Venezuela once the initiative gets the backing of the relevant parties.
This country’s External Affairs Minister, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun,told the Times in an interview that CARICOM has indicated that the organization is prepared to assist Venezuela in arriving at a solution.
“If this is best achieved by sending a delegation, Saint Lucia would support the initiative,” the minister told the Times.
Flood Beaubrun said Venezuela would have to indicate the critical elements of a solution.
She explained that the government and opposition parties would have to step away from their entrenched positions, and moderate their language.
” Importantly, external parties should not further exacerbate the problem with any inflammatory comments, but rather should seek mechanisms by which to facilitate consensus building,” Flood-Beaubrun stated.
She said CARICOM member states recognise that the onus is on Venezuela to resolve the problems facing the country.
Flood-Beaubrun said that was the reason for the reference by CARICOM foreign ministers to an internal solution.
The ministers ended a meeting in Barbados on Friday calling for non-interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela,where at least 40 people have been killed in street demonstrations aimed at forcing the Nicolas Maduro government out of power.
Flood-Beaubrun told the Times that CARICOM is of the view that a mediator can play a significant supportive role and assist Venezuela in reestablishing dialogue between the relevant parties and possibly achieving a solution.
” Venezuela sees CARICOM as an important friend and partner and CARICOM ‘s possible participation in a mediated solution would be on the basis of mutual trust, respect for democratic principles and for the rule of law,” she stated.
However Flood-Beaubrun explained that no details have been agreed.
She observed that an important element of any process would be agreement by both the government and opposition in Venezuela that CARICOM could participate.
” The timing and road map would similarly have to be agreed by the parties,” the External Affairs Minister told the Times.
Asked whether she shares the view articulated by some that the Western media are somehow distorting the real situation in Venezuela, her response was that in the absence of one’s own independent assessment of the situation in Venezuela, one is forced to rely on the media, as well as input from parties on the ground, including government and/or the opposition.
” There are certain facts however which cannot be ignored, including that there has been the loss of life; that there is evidence of social unrest and economic hardship; that the operations of key institutions have ceased; and that there has been the failure of government and opposition to arrive at an agreement that would result in normalcy,” Flood-Beaubrun said.
The minister stated that Saint Lucia’s position has been a principled one that recognizes that the problems in Venezuela are serious and require this country’s attention and engagement.
“We also continue to believe that the OAS is the best forum for hemispheric discourse on issues of significance to peace and stability in our region. We are committed to ensuring Venezuela remains part of our hemispheric family and the OAS process,” Flood-Beaubrun said.