In his column, Sanders said what occurred should never have been allowed to happen, as “factually, Venezuela is not a member of the OAS. On April 27, 2017, the Venezuelan government properly notified the OAS secretary-general of its withdrawal from the Organization in accordance with its rules. Consequently, the Charter ceased to be in force with respect to Venezuela whose membership of the Organization ended on April 27, 2019,” and Juan Guaidó’s representative does not represent the duly elected government of that country.
He pointed out that: “…the purported representative of Venezuela is merely the spokesperson for only one of many political parties in Venezuela…”
“The people of Venezuela had no say in Guaidó’s selection or in his adornment with the title of “Interim President”. Guaidó and his party cannot deliver any basic function of a government. They do not have the capacity to sell a one-cent stamp to a Venezuelan, or to respond to governments that need to engage with the authorities in Venezuela,” the Antiguan diplomat pointed out.
Hence “when Guaidó’s representative requested – on his own and with none of his patron governments – the placement on the agenda of the Permanent Council of a presentation by himself on “Venezuelan Migration and Its Recent Tragic Consequences,” the delegation of Antigua and Barbuda objected.
“The agent’s intention was to escalate an attack on Trinidad and Tobago, launched by Guaidó on November 24, regarding the recent deaths of 16 Venezuelans who had left Venezuela illegally in a boat that appeared to have capsized. In a public statement Guaidó stated: “The cruel treatment to which they (Trinidad and Tobago) subject Venezuelans who have been forced to migrate as a result of the dictatorship is painful and inhuman”, and then he threatened, “Parliament will initiate an investigation and the world is watching the events in Trinidad and Tobago,” Ambassador Sanders observed.
“In his presentation, Guaidó’s agent made baseless accusation against Trinidad and Tobago, claiming that ‘there have been abuses and mistreatment of Venezuelans in Trinidad’ and demanding that ‘Trinidad and Tobago allow access to its territory and provide protection to people coming from Venezuela, observing due process and the principle of non-refoulement’.”
The Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador told the OAS that “the purported representative of Venezuela is merely the spokesperson for only one of many political parties in Venezuela. Allowing the views and positions of only one political party to be expressed in any forum of the OAS is contrary to natural justice and democratic principles since it denies a similar opportunity to other political parties in Venezuela.”
He said despite the efforts of the chair to ignore a call for a vote on the matter, one was forced under the evident rules of the Organization and the representatives of three CARICOM countries – The Bahamas, Haiti and Jamaica – were part of the 17 states that supported an “abuse” of the process which allowed the purported Venezuelan agent to illegally vote on a matter in which he had a vested interest.
Sir Ronald added: “The Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago, Anthony Phillips-Spencer, made a dignified and robust response that did not recognise Guaidó’s agent, but rejected all his remarks. The Ambassador was clear that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had stated that the incident in which 16 Venezuelans had lost their lives had occurred ‘within Venezuela’s jurisdiction’. He pointed out that ‘Trinidad and Tobago—a small island State—has compassionately taken the unprecedented step of officially registering and facilitating over 16,000 migrants from Venezuela to live and work in Trinidad and Tobago. This hospitality continues even as our economy faces significant challenges that have affected our own people’.”
According to Sir Ronald, “There should have been many shamed faces at the end of the Ambassador’s response to the remarks by an agent with not one shred of authority to speak for the people and authorities of Venezuela. This event reflects a perverse OAS no one should want, and which ill-serves the people of the Americas.”
The career diplomat is of the view that the OAS, as it currently stands, “is the handmaiden of powerful governments, which control it through various methods, including coercion”.
He maintains that the attack on the Government of Trinidad and Tobago by the Guaidó representative was “wrongly allowed but rightly resisted”.
- Countries: Antigua_Barbuda, Trinidad_Tobago
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