The current unrest in Venezuela has prompted Saint Lucia Minister with Responsibility for External Affairs Sarah Flood-Beaubrun to express concerns about security.
“If there is a breakdown in any country, if there is loss of life, if there is civil unrest – within the region there are implications,” Flood-Beaubrun told reporters today.
“Our borders are open and so what happens in one country affects the other,” the minister observed.
Ongoing unrest in Venezuela escalated this month resulting in dozens of deaths.
“I think there is legitimate concern about the situation in Venezuela both in terms of loss of life, human rights and of course the hardships that the people there endure” Flood-Beaubrun said.
“Clearly, we are concerned about the democratic process being respected as well and this has implications as well for the security of our countries given what is happening,” the Saint Lucia minister said.
She asserted that it was important for dialogue to take place to resolve the situation.
“We can’t bury our heads in the sand,” the minister declared.
Flood-Beaubrun noted that Saint Lucia enjoys friendly relations with Venezuela and has benefitted from the South American country’s help.
She said Saint Lucia welcomed that and wants to continue enjoying those relations.
“But as a region it is important that we address the issues that affect us and our countries and there needs to be dialogue to see how this can be resolved,” the minister explained.
“What is important is that even with countries are friendly with us, we have got to be true to our friends and we have got to always try to lead by example and be frank and open when there needs to be frank and open dialogue,” Flood-Beaubrun stated.
According to her, the fact that Venezuela remains a friend does not mean that Saint Lucia cannot speak the truth to its friend and say that there is a problem that needs to be discussed and resolved.
“It is up to us as a region to support Venezuela to find the right solution,” Flood-Beaubrun said.
“When lives are lost, when there are issues regarding democratic processes, when people are suffering – we need to find solutions,” the minister told reporters.
She noted that discussions are ongoing even at the highest level of the Organisation of American States (OAS).
Venezuela’s government has announced that it is quitting the OAS, accusing the regional body of meddling in its internal affairs over weeks of political unrest.
The step was taken Wednesday just hours after violent clashes in Caracas between security forces and protesters during yet another march against the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro.
The Venezuela unrest stems from dissatisfaction with the government, which has been accused of economic mismanagement resulting in huge shortages of daily essentials like food and medicine.