Outspoken Attorney-at-Law Anselm Clouden, is calling for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to follow in the footsteps of countries like the United States and England that have acknowledge the authority of Venezuela’s self-declared Interim President and Opposition Leader Juan Guaido, as opposed to Nicholas Maduro, who was controversially re-elected for another 6-year term in May 2018.
“I am calling on the CARICOM Heads, as a former ambassador of this country (and) as a multi-nationalist to ensure that something is being done and being done now, in the fierce urgency of the moment, for some level of peaceful intervention to avert a civil war in Venezuela and our voice must be heard, we must make our position clear…”, the attorney told reporters at a press conference.
According to Clouden, “the countries that have recognised the opposition, they have more facts than we do and I think we are obliged to follow that trend as now attained globally…by the United States, Canada, England, the European Union and other countries that are joining in, acknowledging the opposition leader as the legitimate interim president for the time being”.
His statement on the Venezuela issue came days after a United Nations General Assembly session on the political and economical crisis in Venezuela, in which CARICOM expressed the view that “non-interference” is what is most needed to combat the issues affecting the Spanish-speaking country, resulting in thousands fleeing due to massive food shortages, poor health conditions and rising inflation.
Grenada was represented at the United General Assembly meeting by Foreign Affairs Minister Peter David, who announced CARICOM’s position at a press conference last week Friday.
Minister David is known to be a major supporter of the Maduro regime, which is suspected of providing him with substantial finance for his political work locally.
Attorney Clouden said the situation in Venezuela, which is said to have the largest oil reserves in the world, cannot be allowed to continue, in which people “are generally suffering”.
“The country needs to be stabalised or there is a great danger that the entire region could be destabalised as a consequence of what is happening in Venezuela…It is about time to stop talking sovereignty and through peaceful means CARICOM’s voice must be heard to effect a peaceful resolution of this sordid and coercive situation in Venezuela,” he said.
Expressing strong support for Juan Guaido, the self-imposed Venezuelan president, the outspoken attorney pointed out that the “validity of the (May 2018) elections has been questioned by international observer missions.
“It is evident that President Maduro has lost the confidence of the people”, Clouden said, quickly adding that it was “a rejection of the results of the last election that has culminated in this civil disobedience and unrest”.
He suggested that the only sensible option is for Guaido, who “was not allowed to participate in the elections to be recognised as the legitimate interim leader for the time being to prepare for (fresh) elections…under international supervision”.
“…This situation (political and economical crisis in Venezuela) would continue to a very great degree if it (unrest) is not as it were checked, then you can have a deterioration of civil society to the extent where there is a civil war”, he said.
Several Grenadians who have often demonstrated anti-American sentiments took to the streets of St. George’s last week to express disgust and concern with the actions taken against Venezuela, by the Donald Trump administration in Washington and his allies around the world in backing the interim president.
The so-called Grenada/Venezuela Friendship Association along with a number of local union leaders and staff of the Venezuela Embassy and Institute demonstrated their support for the besieged Maduro government against US-imposed sanctions on Venezuela and the attack on the country’s sovereignty.
One of the protesters, Dr. Winston Thomas said that the Grenada/Venezuela Friendship Association is standing with the people of Venezuela, who are facing severe social and economic aggression, engineered by the sanctions imposed by the US government.
Thomas told reporters that the group has been assured that the people in Venezuela “remain patriotic to the Maduro government” despite the many challenges within the country.
He said the group will continue to show their support for the Venezuelan people with further solidarity events if necessary.