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Sir James calls for independent recount of votes in Venezuela

Sir James calls for independent recount  of votes in Venezuela

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A former prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has added his voice to those international observers who are calling for an independent recount of all votes cast in the April 14 presidential elections in Venezuela.{{more}}

And Sir James Mitchell, who was prime minister of SVG from 1984 to 2000, has the support of several former heads of state and government, including two from Central and South America.

In a recent interview with SEARCHLIGHT, Sir James said at the 31st Annual Plenary Meeting of the InterAction Council held in the Kingdom of Bahrain from May 9 to 11, he broached the topic of Venezuela.

“I pointed out that there is quite a myth in the outside world that Venezuela is a society that is looking after the poor. I pointed out to them, while that is so in one respect, agriculture, industry and business in Venezuela have been ruined. Venezuela now has oil and nothing else.

“I pointed out that the so called socialist principles of government controlling everything, meant eventually that there is nothing to control,” Sir James said.

Sir James said that he told the meeting of former heads that after the April 14 presidential elections in Venezuela, then President elect Nicolas Maduro, attended a meeting of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), at which he said that the election results would be audited with international observers.

“When he got home, with the Cuban influence, he said he would audit them himself.

“So, he has betrayed the trust of all the Latin American people,” Sir James stated.

Sir James is also taking issue with a statement attributed to the head of the Venezuelan national assembly, Diosdado Cabello, that salaries would not be paid to members of Congress who refused to recognise Maduro.

Sir James said his position on Venezuela became part of the final communique from the InterAction meeting, which was also attended by Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica and Andres Pastrana, former president of Colombia.

“When I spoke on Venezuela, Arias and Pastrana, … they liked what I said and they invited me to draft the statement to go into the communique which they signed.

The communique from the meeting expresses “concern that the government of Venezuela has not honored the understanding given to the neighboring governments of UNASUR in holding a recount of the election results with international observers, and expresses the hope that the democratic credentials of the country, including the rule of law and separations of powers between the executive and the judiciary will be restored, and also urges that the rights of the Congress be respected.”

Sir James acknowledged that the government of SVG, which has close ties with Venezuela and President Maduro, may not be pleased with his position.

He, however, said he “always sees around the corner.”

Sir James said that if one sees something going wrong and does not speak out, it is wrong.

“If things turn around in Venezuela, they are going to remember that St Vincent and the Grenadines stood up for them. That is how this world goes.”

On April 15, the Venezuelan government declared Maduro the winner of the special presidential election, with 50.8 percent of the vote and said opposition candidate Henrique Capriles took 49 percent — a separation of some 262,000 votes out of 14.9 million votes cast.

The InterAction Council, which was established in 1983 is an exclusive grouping of former world leaders.

The meeting, which was held in Manama, Bahrain, was attended by 18 former world leaders from Canada, Austria, The Netherlands, Ireland, Saudia Arabia, Costa Rica, Malaysia, New Zealand, Japan, Jordan, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tanzania, Nigeria, Colombia, Ghana, Greece, Cyprus and Latvia.

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