Grenada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Peter David has reiterated a call that was often made during the ill-fated 1979-83 Grenada Revolution for the Caribbean to be recognised as a Zone of Peace.
David made the call in St. George’s at a press conference against the backdrop of a power play between the United States, China and Russia in the uncertain situation in Venezuela where President Nicolas Maduro is under pressure to remain in office in Caracas.
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has been trying to woo the army to help bring about regime change in Caracas but Military chiefs have so far remained loyal to Maduro.
Guaidó who declared himself interim leader of Venezuela in January is backed by the United States and over 50 countries while China, Russia and Cuba continue to support Maduro.
Minister David restated Grenada’s stance for there to be dialogue in the ongoing Venezuela crisis and for the “Montevideo Mechanism” to be used to solve the problem in the oil-rich South American republic.
“The Montevideo Mechanism is a mechanism established between Ecuador, Mexico and now CARICOM. The efforts that we are undertaking are toward dialogue. We believe that the resolution to the problems in Venezuela will come from dialogue. Grenada has maintained that position – our Prime Minister has said time and time again that dialogue is the way, drums of war must not be beating loudly, that we should continue to talk. We believe that this dialogue is the only way that the people of Venezuela will find some kind of resolution to their conflict,” he said.
According to Minister David, this is important for peace to reign in the region.
He said: “War is easy, peace is difficult particularly when you feel the wind is at your back you think you have the high road. I must say that since CARICOM took the decision to advocating dialogue that it has been put on the table – countries like Canada for instance, have now said publicly that they are interested in dialogue. We believe that the region should remain a zone of peace and I am optimistic but I generally I’m an optimistic kinda guy.
“…I am optimistic that Venezuela, Venezuelans and even those persons who have been beating the drums of war will come to the position that peace is the only desirable resolution with respect to Venezuela. And we referred to Libya and you know everybody thought it was easy – overthrow Gaddafi, remove Saddam Hussein – the proof has proven to be much more difficult and Libya continues to deteriorate, Iraq is still in conflict.
“We don’t want that on our borders. It is not a question of whether or not you support Maduro, whether or not you support Guaido – it’s a question of whether or not you support the region remaining a zone of peace. We cannot build a wall around Grenada – all we want to do is remain peaceful in Grenada”.
The Foreign Minister also offered an explanation for Grenada’s absence at a recent video conference meeting in Barbados between Guaido and some members of Caricom.
He said the position adopted in the region is that Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and St. Kitts which holds the current Chairmanship of Caricom will lead the region on the Venezuela situation.
“…We in Grenada believe that CARICOM has appointed a three person team comprising Trinidad, Barbados and the Chair of CARICOM, St. Kitts, and we believe that those three governments, those Prime Ministers or their designates are the ones to speak for CARICOM with respect to Venezuela. That is why in the meeting in Barbados – with the opposition in Venezuela – they attended and we expect that they would be the ones doing all of the negotiations on behalf of CARICOM,” he told reporters.