THE Prime Minister has rejected any idea of US military intervention in Venezuela in light of US President Donald Trump’s vow to send a fleet of warships to the region to curb alleged illicit drug shipments by the Venezuelan Government.
The Southern Command of the US Navy is set to double its force in the Caribbean, off the coast of Venezuela.
The US Government has laid narco-terrorism charges against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and several colleagues, and putting a US$15 million bounty on his head. President Trump alleged Maduro was in cahoots with Colombia’s FARC rebel group to flood the US with cocaine during the uncertainty of the covid19 pandemic.
Maduro rejected this claim, saying Trump was trying to distract his population as the virus ravages the US.
Dr Rowley, who recently met Venezuelan vice president Delcy Rodrigues here despite TT's border closure, told Monday’s briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s that nothing has changed in TT’s stance on Venezuela.
“Our position remains the same. TT remains a part of Caricom and we resolutely defend that position, saying we view the Caribbean as a zone of peace. That has not changed, and we do not expect it to change.”
He then seemed to criticise Trump.
“So if there are others who believe it should be different, we don’t have any control over that. Insofar as we have any involvement, we continue to reside under the umbrella of the UN, where these matters are not ones of size and strength, but one of compliance with the rules-based principle, where those rules are determined for all – large, small, big, little, weak, strong – and if the rules are observed, we should have nothing to fear."
Rowley expressed his concern that in today’s world it is not uncommon for such rules to be disregarded in the Venezuelan case and others.
“We will continue to stand by the request, the demand, urgings, for rules-based action only.
"We are talking here about non-intervention and absence of military solutions to political problems in this way.
“So these tensions have come to our borders. We do not have the wherewithal to prevent that, so we simply have to rely on the principles of international justice and international observance of the rules we have agreed to prior to these difficulties arising.”
This all came amid reports of gasoline shortages in Venezuela and Venezuelan migrants returning home from nearby Colombia, where they lost their jobs in the covid19 lockdown.
The US has offered to ease sanctions levelled over alleged election-rigging by the Maduro regime, on condition that Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido both step down in favour of an interim government, pending fresh elections.