PM urges US to lift sanctions on Venezuela

Dr Keith Rowley -
Dr Keith Rowley -

THE Prime Minister on Friday appealed to United States President Joe Biden's administration to use its influence to help achieve a negotiated solution to the crisis in Venezuela and lift sanctions imposed on that country by his predecessor Donald Trump.

Dr Rowley, who is also Caricom chairman, made this appeal to the US during a virtual interview with the Atlantic Council.

The council is a US-based, non-partisan organisation founded in 1961 to provide a forum for international political, business and intellectual leaders.

Rowley said he would like to see an "early review of the US' scorched earth policy in this area, since the United Nations assessment confirmed what we always knew and that is, the ineffective harsh policies, unilateral sanctions, are contributing immensely to widespread, additional indiscriminate human suffering in this Caribbean nation."

Venezuela, he continued, needs help "which is not beyond the US leadership." Rowley recalled that since 2019, Mexico, Norway and Caricom have been advocating dialogue between opposing political factions in Venezuela to solve "seemingly intractable political problem".

He said, "I will ask the (Biden) administration not to be over-influenced by the dogmas of the recent past and the hawks of the recent flyings but to look at this with a clean table top." The US, he said, "once again has the stature and the influence, to bring the Venezuelan parties to a table, with the support of Caricom and other nations, read the riot act to everybody and agree, as they all agreed, that Venezuelans must solve Venezuela's problems, not only in the interest of Venezuela but the interest of all of us who are co-dependents."

He added, "We are convinced that it is possible that some solutions can be had, so that sanctions can be removed."

Rowley described Venezuela's relationship with Caricom and the US as "so fundamental to our comfort and prosperity."

Recalling steps taken by TT to sign the Dragon gas deal with Venezuela in 2018, Rowley said his government was able "to get Venezuela to agree to do something that not been done before, which is to export its gas.

"Everything was in place to have TT tap, for the international market and for its own development, gas supplies close to our border. But the sanctions on Venezuela have brought a halt to all of this."

He also said Caricom was very disappointed with the recent announcement of "the unconvincing designation of Cuba as a terrorist sponsoring state.

"We believe that this is one place that climate change would be welcome. We could all benefit from a significant thaw in the relationship between Cuba and the US."

Rowley said "continued close collaboration and partnership on regional and international issues" was the best way to advance US-Caricom relations for everyone's benefit

In a statement issued earlier in the day, Caricom said it was seeking close collaboration with the US on issues such as combating illegal firearms in the region; blacklisting and correspondent banking; energy and trade.


"PM urges US to lift sanctions on Venezuela"

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