The Caricom delegation which left yesterday for the Uruguay conference on Venezuela is entering the talks as other international players - including the Lima Group and Russia - have also mounted calls for peaceful resolution of the Venezuelan crisis and dialogue towards this.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses left yesterday to join Caricom’s delegation in Montevideo, Uruguay, where the international meeting on the situation in Venezuela will be held today, a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said.
Rowley is expected home Friday - immediately after the meeting. Finance Minister Colm Imbert is acting as Prime Minister.
A Caricom Secretariat statement said the international conference set to convene tomorrow will focus on the ongoing political upheaval in Venezuela. Caricom boasted that the delegation’s Uruguay appearance “follows on the heels of its skilful shuttle diplomacy at the United Nations, to advance dialogue and negotiations for the benefit of the Venezuelan people.”
This, following weeks of turmoil in Venezuela regarding the stand-off between embattled President Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly head Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president.
Representatives from the main countries and international organisations that hold a neutral position toward Venezuela have been invited to the Uruguay meeting. Conference hosts Uruguay and Mexico said the purpose of the conference is to establish a basis for a new dialogue mechanism that includes all the forces in Venezuela to help restore peace.
Russia yesterday backed dialogue on the situation, saying the Venezuelan crisis could only be solved by inviting the government authorities and the opposition to the negotiating table.
As the US has continued signalling that military options are not off the table, the Lima Group of Latin American countries and Canada - while supporting Guaido - yesterday emphasised support for peaceful transition through political and diplomatic means minus military use of force.
Caricom officials in Guyana could not comment yesterday on what the team’s schedule will be in Uruguay and whether they would caucus with other leaders ahead of the official agenda.
They did not comment on whether Caricom’s delegations may have any talks with the European Union/Latin American contact grouping which also meets in Uruguay tomorrow. That team is solely focusing on obtaining fresh elections in Venezuela.
Reporter: Gail Alexander