Former UWI prof: US using Rio Treaty to 'bully' TT

Andy Knight, former UWI professor of international relations, said the US is simply using the Rio Treaty to bully TT to bend to the US's will.

"It is a misuse of the treaty and US action may be a violation of international law based on Article 51 of the UN Charter and Article 18 of the Organisation of American States) Charter."

He was responding to a statement issued by US Ambassador to TT Joseph Mondello on Tuesday saying that at a meeting on May 6 with National Security Minister Stuart Young he expressed concern about the visit of Venezuelan vice president Delcy Rodriguez and the obligations of TT as a party to the Rio Treaty.

Knight told Newsday the Rio Treaty is a relic of the Cold War and is a defence pact that was created in the context of Article 51 of the UN Charter – an attack on one member of a defence pact is an attack on all members. He pointed out TT, Haiti and the Bahamas were the only Caricom members of the treaty.

"It is an outdated treaty in our post-Cold War world. I think that TT (as well as Haiti and the Bahamas) should rescind their membership in that treaty."

He said the treaty is not relevant to the imposition of US sanctions on Venezuela. Venezuela is not threatening the US or other members of the Rio Treaty with War or aggression.

"If anything, the US, through economic sanctions on Venezuela, is the aggressor here. Therefore the use of the treaty to attempt to discipline TT is out of bounds in my opinion."

Former director of the UWI Institute of International Relations Dr Anthony Gonzales told Newsday the idea of using the Rio Treaty seemed strange to him in this situation and he does not see how it is applicable.

"The purpose they want to use it for is quite different from what it was originally intended for."

He said the US wanted to use the treaty to back sanctions against Venezuela and he cannot see how certain members of the treaty can decide on behalf of all the members on the question of procedure and changing its purpose.

Gonzales pointed out that Venezuela is not a member of the Rio Treaty and no one was under attack.

"I don't see how it's relevant."

Asked if the statement by the ambassador reflected any issue in the TT/US relationship, Gonzales said the relationship was much broader.

"They may have some disagreement on this particular issue. TT is trying to be neutral in a very difficult situation. The country is pushed by both sides to take a position."


"Former UWI prof: US using Rio Treaty to ‘bully’ TT"

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