Statement by the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, Q.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Barbados, on the situation in Venezuela following a meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay.
This week in Uruguay, CARICOM along with Mexico and Uruguay, settled the Montevideo Mechanism to try to bring about a peaceful resolution to the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
This mechanism must be owned by the Venezuelan people and we cannot take sides. Four distinguished citizens of the Americas have been appointed including our very own former Chief Justice, Sir David Simmons. He will join former President of the Inter American Development Bank Enrique Iglesias who is well known to Barbadians and Caribbean people, former Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs and International jurist Bernardo Sepúlveda, and Ibero-American Secretary General Rebeca Grynspan.
Barbados remains committed to this process of preserving the peace. It is our view that there can be no long-term resolution without dialogue, without conversation, and without compromise from the extreme positions.
Over the last two weeks in all of our meetings, CARICOM has repeated our concerns that respect we had for the principals of non-interference and non-intervention as found in the UN Charter and the Organization of American States Charter and that the Caribbean region remain a Zone of Peace.
In both instances, our positions reinforce a call for no external military intervention or no disproportionate use of domestic military force.
We have also highlighted our horror at the humanitarian crisis that continues unabated. There can be no time spent in the allocation of blame for this crisis as with each day, it worsens. That is why we believe people must come to the table and talk.
Regrettably, this issue is being reduced to a ‘winner takes all’ contest. A country with 30 million people and multiple opinions and parties can no more be reduced to this, than we can settle complex foreign policy in a 60-second newscast or on social media. It is complex and it is nuanced. There are valid and legitimate arguments on all sides. Hence the deep divisions that are being seen in and out of Venezuela. All this while sanctions continue and shortages of food and medicine abound.
The Venezuelan people are the ones feeling the consequences.
It will be truly unfortunate near tragic if the world cannot bridge the gap of ideological differences. We should not be blinded by the differently tinted glasses we wear. We must recognize that it is imperative that all sides get to the table and talk, and talk quickly. Refusing to do so only prolongs the divisions.
The memory of what the world fought for in World War II cannot be abandoned: the right for all voices to be heard especially the least among us, a person’s human rights to be protected, the territorial sovereignty of nations to respected and for the rule of law to be upheld to avoid anarchy, were all battles that were fought and won less than a century ago.
We must work hard to preserve the peace, to protect the people of Venezuela and the neighbouring states including those of us in the Caribbean that have been largely ignored by both: countries and the International media, and indeed to respect diverging opinions to the maintenance of meaningful dialogue.