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US Black group hails CARICOM's stance on Venezuela

Sunday, July 16, 2017

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WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — A major United States Black group has applauded the Heads of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), who, at their recent Summit in Grenada, discussed the serious challenges facing Venezuela and its people, and offered to facilitate a dialogue between the government and the opposition.

The New York-based Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW) on Saturday said it was “very concerned about reports of racist violence by right-wing, anti-government forces targeting members of the Afro-Venezuelan community.”

IBW also called on the US Congressional Black Caucus to investigate these reports and to support CARICOM’s position by demanding that the Trump Administration “cease and desist interfering in Venezuela’s domestic affairs, and in undermining its national sovereignty.”

Additionally the IBW condemned recent efforts by Organization of American States’ (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro and a “small group of powerful states in the OAS who are relentlessly attacking the Venezuelan government, openly supporting the opposition forces and are attempting to divide and weaken the solidarity of the 15 CARICOM member states of the OAS on their stance towards the crisis in Venezuela.”

Furthermore, IBW said it supports the position of the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, “who continues to consistently uphold Article 15 of the OAS Charter, which says that ‘no state, or group of states, has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other state.’”

The OAS Charter says “this principle prohibits not only armed force but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the personality of the state or against its political, economic and cultural elements.”

The IBW also urged CARICOM countries to “resist pressure from Washington and from the OAS, and continue to stand firm in their united and principled position concerning the crisis in Venezuela.”

On Wednedsay, Almagro and Venezuela’s opposition leader, Leopoldo López, urged the immediate return to democracy in the South American country. The OAS said that Almagro “held a telephone conversation” with López on that before.

“During the conversation, the two agreed on the need to continue working for the return of democracy to Venezuela and the recovery of the rights of the Venezuelan people,” the OAS said.

“They also emphasized the urgent need for the regime to cease repression, to publish a comprehensive electoral calendar, open a humanitarian channel to meet the needs of the people of the country, completely restore the powers of the National Assembly and release all political prisoners, including a complete release for López himself,” it added.

“They expressed their recognition of the Venezuelan people, who achieved the release of López, following more than 100 days of pro-democracy protests,” the statement continued. “In the same way, they highlighted the importance of the plebiscite called for Sunday, July 16.”

On the contrary, the OAS said the two leaders agreed that the holding of the National Constituent Assembly “would entail the final dismantling of democracy, and called on the people to join forces for Venezuela to return to the path of democracy and institutionality.”

In a statement contained in communique at the conclusion of the 38th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, held in Grenada earlier this month, CARICOM leaders “reaffirmed their guiding principles of adherence to the rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy, as well as for the fundamental principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of states.”

Concerned with the difficult political, economic and social situation in Venezuela, in particular, the increase in violence and polarization between the Government and the Opposition, and its effect on the people of Venezuela, and recognizing the urgent need to find an internal solution to the present situation, the CARICOM Heads of Government mandated the Chairman of the Conference, Prime Mitchell Keith Mitchell of Grenada, to communicate with the parties concerned in Venezuela about this offer.

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