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No country has the right to intervene in another country’s affairs – PM

No country has the right to intervene in another country’s affairs – PM
PRIME MINISTER Dr Ralph Gonsalves


PRIME MINISTER Dr Ralph Gonsalves has reiterated St Vincent and the Grenadines’ (SVG) support for Venezuela, amidst the recent protests and declaration from the president of the United States (US) that they do not recognise Nicolás Maduro as the country’s legitimate president.

Gonsalves was speaking at an event at the Venezuelan Embassy in Kingstown this week, when he said that no country has the right to intervene in another country’s affairs.

“As is well known by now, St Vincent and the Grenadines in all relevant international fora, this government has been firmly, unequivocally defending the rights of the Bolivarian revolution to pursue their own path to development without interference,” the prime minister said.

Maduro was sworn in for a second term earlier this month, after a vote marred by an opposition boycott and claims of vote-rigging. Mass protests are currently taking place in the South American country.

On January 10, the Organisation of American States (OAS) agreed to “not recognise the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro’s new term as of the 10th of January of 2019”. The resolution was approved with 19 votes in favor, 6 (including SVG) against, 8 abstentions and one absent.

And on Wednesday, Donald Trump, the president of the US said that he recognises Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president. It has also been reported that a number of South American countries including Brazil, Columbia and Peru have also recognised Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president.

As a result, Maduro cut diplomatic relations with the US and gave American diplomats 72 hours to leave Venezuela. However, the US has responded by saying that the “former president” no longer has the authority to make such an order.

Gonsalves, in his remarks on Wednesday, described the current situation as a coup and said he could not imagine any other country or its leader doing to Venezuela what the US is currently trying to do.

“I cannot imagine another country, a president or prime minister of another country could make a broadcast to the citizens to the United States of America and tell them to take to the streets and to support Nancy Pelosi, who is the Speaker of the House of Representatives; that Trump is entirely unworthy of being president; he is undermining the Republic and [US Vice President Mike] Pence is his ally and that what is called for here is a serious disruption of the constitutional process and must name Nancy Pelosi, president temporary to carry out fresh elections so that we can return to normalcy,” the prime minister said.

He added that if “anybody that were to do that, I would oppose them as a completely unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of the United States of America.”

The prime minister said that the US and SVG are very good friends and he has no interest in having an issue with the North American country. He further said that while both countries will continue to cooperate with one another, they have a “respectful difference on dealing with this matter with Venezuela”.

“…We will continue to do so but friends from time to time will differ and we differ with them on this. And our position is clear and in accordance with the highest traditions of the OAS and the United Nations in defence of the principles of non intervention and non interference in the internal affairs of another country,” Gonsalves said.

Gonsalves said that the principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs are clearly established in international law and constitute the foundation of relations between states.

These he said are fundamental to the charter of the OAS and the United Nations.

“Even in circumstances where there are difficulties and challenges internal in any country, it is not the business of anyone else to interfere or to intervene, but to provide requisite support for solutions to take place peacefully and within the laws and constitution of that country. These things are clear and well established. If any country is given the right to intervene and interfere willy nilly, well then what you have is the law of the international jungle,” Gonsalves said.

The prime minister said that Venezuela poses no challenge to the US. He added that the sanctions that have been placed on the South American country also cause SVG to suffer by creating difficulties for the Petro-Caribe project.

But he reiterated that SVG will continue to stand in solidarity with Venezuela.

“Venezuela doesn’t have to worry about St Vincent and the Grenadines’ government. I am satisfied that the people of this country by a significant, if not an overwhelming majority, support our position of dignity and high principle. It is our duty at the same time to see if we can have peace in Venezuela and to have a receding of some of the material challenges,” Gonsalves said.