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  • CARICOM Chairman Dr Timothy Harris (4th from right) with other members of the regional group’s high-level contact group on Venezuela

    CARICOM Chairman Dr Timothy Harris (4th from right) with other members of the regional group’s high-level contact group on Venezuela | Photo: Office of the Prime Minister of St. Kitts

Published 1 May 2019

The Chairman said CARICOM “has been working earnestly to promote meaningful dialogue and diplomacy, as well as a four-phased process called the Montevideo Mechanism.” 

Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis, May 1, 2019:-- On the last day of April 2019, as the first clear signs of a final, all-out, externally-backed attempt to topple the Venezuelan Government by force became clear, Caribbean Governments reiterated their determination to work with regional and international governments and entities to press for a peaceful solution.

On Tuesday, April 30, U.S. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton all publicly backed what Caracas described as ‘a failed coup attempt’ that featured clear threats to national security and edged Venezuela closer to civil war.

Bolton, in a press conference during the day, also called on the top Venezuelan military officers, including the commanders of the army and the National Guard, to back Guaido, warning of untold consequences if they didn’t.

But Venezuela’s Caribbean neighbors, including those that support Washington’s tough anti-Venezuela stance at the Organization of American States (OAS), all signed-up to the Chairman’s declaration of the regional grouping’s continuing preference for a peaceful solution to the Venezuelan crisis.

Chairman of the 13-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr. Timothy Harris, worked the phones Tuesday to remain apprised of the situation in Venezuela, where self-imposed U.S.-backed ‘Interim President’ Guaido had called for a national uprising and for the national army to help him unseat President Nicolas Maduro.

Harris, who is also Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, spent much of the day in consultation with other Caribbean leaders and CARICOM Secretary General Edwin LaRocque regarding developments in Venezuela, where an opposition figure serving a jail term under house arrest had joined Guaido’s street protest and participated in what Caracas says was ‘an attempt to mislead soldiers’ at a military base in the capital city.

Venezuela’s military spokesmen had also reported attacks during the day by Guaido supporters on soldiers, resulting in several senior officers being shot and critically wounded.  

“I appeal for calm and peace,” Harris said Tuesday afternoon, while reiterating his pledge that “CARICOM will continue to make every effort to help bring a peaceful resolution to Venezuela’s political crisis.”

“My colleague Heads of Government and I are collectively charged with ensuring the continued security and stability of our beloved Caribbean region,” Prime Minister Harris added, noting that “This responsibility is our first and foremost priority, as we work in unison to safeguard our people’s future.” 

The Chairman said CARICOM “has been working earnestly to promote meaningful dialogue and diplomacy, as well as a four-phased process called the Montevideo Mechanism, whose aim is an inclusive and lasting solution.” 

“Such a considered approach,” he added, “can only redound to the benefit of the country and people of Venezuela -- and, by extension, the countries and citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

CARICOM has continued its painful search for a peaceful solution, engaging in the process with Guaido’s forces and working with Latin American states as well as international bodies.

CARICOM has also established a special sub-committee on Venezuela that includes the Prime Ministers of Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago, Mia Mottley, Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Dr Keith Rowley, respectively.

Chairman Harris has led Caribbean delegations to several meetings on Venezuela’s political crisis, including in Guyana, Uruguay and Ecuador, as well as at the United Nations.

The CARICOM Chairman is also scheduled to engage in follow-up high-level talks with the International Contact Group (ICG) on Venezuela in Costa Rica next week.

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