St. Lucia’s Minister of External Affairs, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, says St. Lucia will support a Caribbean Community (Caricom) mission to Venezuela.
The minister stated that Caricom believes mediation could be integral to ushering Venezuela to a solution for the ongoing agitation. “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 explained.
Flood-Beaubrun added that the Venezuelan Government along with the opposition parties would have to make a concerted effort to express neutrality and a willingness to cooperate in the process. “If this is best achieved by sending a delegation, St. Lucia would support the initiative,” the minister said.
Conversely, she said that the Caricom member states recognize that Venezuela is ultimately responsible for any resolution to the current problems being faced. “Importantly, external parties should not further exacerbate the problem with any inflammatory comments, but rather should seek mechanisms by which to facilitate consensus building.”
So far, at least 40 people have lost their lives in demonstrations aimed at forcing the Nicolas Maduro Government out of power.
During a recent meeting in Barbados, foreign ministers across the region called for non-interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela. “The timing and road map would similarly have to be agreed by the parties,” the external affairs minister said. She observed that an important element of any process would be agreement by both the government and opposition in Venezuela that Caricom could participate.
Flood-Beaubrun pointed out that no details have been agreed on.
In reference to accusations that the Western media have misrepresented the situation in Venezuela, she stated that in the absence of independent assessment, one has to rely on information from the media and other parties on the ground – including the Venezuelan Government and 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 added.
The minister added that St. Lucia’s position has been one that recognizes that the problems in Venezuela are serious and require 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.