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CARICOM pondering participation in Summit of the Americas based on participation of Cuba and Venezuela

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Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2022. 9:49 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Members of the Caribbean Community are pondering their participation in June’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles if Venezuela is represented by Juan Guaidó, interim president, rather than the sanctioned Nicolas Maduro, and if Cuba is left out after successive appearances in 2015 and 2019.

According to Caribbean National Weekly, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne says St. John’s does “not believe in the policy of ostracizing Cuba and Venezuela,” adding “we do not recognize Juan Guaidó as the President of Venezuela.

“In those circumstances, Antigua and Barbuda will not participate,” he noted, adding “despite this difference in opinion, we remain respectful of President (Joe) Biden and the US administration.”

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, speaking on a radio program on Sunday, confirmed that the matter had been discussed by leaders of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) on Saturday and had also been raised during the CARICOM Inter-Sessional Summit held in Belize in March.

“If Guaidó goes to represent Venezuela if the Americans were to do that it would be an act of folly and I think it will be unlikely that Caribbean governments would go,” Gonsalves said, though he refused to say if St Vincent will be one of them. Gonsalves also said a “consensus” position had been reached at the March Intersessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government that if Havana or Caracas are not invited “CARICOM will not attend.”

There has been speculation that the 15-member regional integration grouping, currently chaired by Belize’s John Briceno, will not attend the June 6-10 summit in Los Angeles, California that Washington says is expected to focus on “Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future” for the hemisphere.

The U.S. has promised to work with regional stakeholders on issues such as dramatically improving pandemic response and resilience, promoting a green and equitable recovery, building strong and inclusive democracies, and addressing the root causes of irregular migration.

However, it continues to recognize the authority of the democratically elected 2015 National Assembly as the last remaining democratic institution and Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president per a January 4 statement.

CARICOM leaders have in the past reiterated their position of non-interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela and said they were prepared to mediate in the process to bring about a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

 

 

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