By Alexis R. Milan
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has expressed its full support for Guyana in the face of Venezuela’s territorial claim against that country, and expects all member nations to support Guyana.
A representative from the CARICOM Secretariat, speaking to The Reporter, indicated that CARICOM fully expects all sister nations in the organization to stand in solidarity with Guyana over Venezuela, despite the on-going bilateral relations that many CARICOM nations share with Venezuela.
Though many governments in the region lean heavily on support from Venezuela’s PetroCaribe program, the organization considers ties with Guyana, as a fellow member, of more significance than relations with Venezuela.
Belize’s Foreign Ministry has not issued a statement declaring the country’s stance on support for either side. However, the Reporter made several attempts to contact Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington without success. This media house will follow up with the Minister on a stance in a subsequent report on this matter.
CARICOM declared its position in support of Guyana during a summit rhis past weekend.
“Caricom stands firmly behind Guyana”, Barbadian Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said.
“We do not think that there can be any compromise so far as Guyana’s territorial borders is concerned.”
Venezuela has long-claimed about two-thirds of Guyana and has become more insistent about a large marine area where the oil company, Exxon Mobil Corporation says it made a significant oil discovery.
David Granger, Guyana’s newly elected president, praised CARICOM for ensuring that the region remains peaceful.
“We already have some commercial and cultural relations with Venezuela, and we expect those relations to continue”, he said. However this week, Venezuela began cutting ties with the country.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has recalled his nation’s ambassador to neighboring Guyana, after statements by Granger that Venezuela was excessively intruding into Guyanese maritime territory. Maduro has also urged the international community to support a Venezuelan takeover of Guyanese Caribbean waters.
He has also ordered a full review of Venezuelan relations with Guyana.
Granger, he claimed, was participating in a “grave campaign to promote hatred, distrust, negative elements regarding the character of the Venezuelan being and history and the libertarian tradition of the people of Bolívar.”
This week the Venezuelan government also accused Guyana of working with international agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to penetrate and undermine the venezuelan government.
Some political and diplomatic pundits have said that the CARICOM has to tread carefully on this issue, since almost all member countries, including Belize, benefit from Venezuela’s energy alliance, PetroCaribe, while around half a dozen of them are members of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA).
Venezuela, Guyana and other CARICOM countries are also members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Additionally, Guyana is an original signatory to the Treaty of Chaguaramas which established CARICOM.