Saint Lucia highlighted the threat posed to the region by the situation in Venezuela, as it joined Jamaica, Haiti, the Bahamas, Guyana and 14 other members of the Organisation of American States (OAS) in voting for a resolution denying the legitimacy of the second term of Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro.
Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname voted against while Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, and Belize abstained, according to news reports.
The OAS resolution was passed minutes after Maduro was sworn in on Thursday.
It called for a new presidential election which would be free and fair and attended by international observers.
Saint Lucia’s representative, Anton Edmunds, described the situation in Venezuela as a political, economic and humanitarian crisis that ‘threatens us all”.
“Contrary to the thoughts of some, this is a regional issue and not merely a national or domestic one,” Edmunds asserted.
He told the OAS that Saint Lucia has seen an influx of arms and drugs with Venezuela origins, as well as the illegal entry of Venezuelans.
“An internal breakdown has influenced this,” the Saint Lucia diplomat said.
He explained that the situation had caused Saint Lucia to implement visa restrictions, since the influx of “bad actors’ has the potential to destabilize “our already vulnerable nation.”
Venezuela’s Maduro has said that his country is fighting “an epic battle, singular and heroic” against those who want to destroy its “socialist revolution”, the Miami Herald reported.
Maduro first came to power in 2013 after the death of his mentor and predecessor Hugo Chávez, and has led the country through some of its most tumultuous times, the publication said.
The once-wealthy nation is saddled with the world’s highest inflation, according to reports.
CNN quoted Maduro as saying that he was the victim of a campaign of lies.
“We’re a real democracy and I, Nicolas Maduro Moros, I am a truly democratic president,” Maduro said in a televised address, according to CNN.
The United States described his election as a sham, while the European Union has declared that the poll was neither free nor fair.