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Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)
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KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent (CMC) — Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines has cautioned the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to refrain from allowing a small group of powerful nations to dilute the “collective strength” of the 15-member regional grouping.

Gonsalves, in a three page letter to CARICOM leaders, that was circulated to the media, warned that a wedge is being driven through CARICOM over a plan for “regime change” in Venezuela and the group of powerful nations with the Organisation of America States (OAS) has an “agenda of naked self-interest”.

He said the group has “strategically invited select CARICOM countries to their meetings and ignored the others. In the result, they have succeeded in disuniting and weakening CARICOM countries whose only strength lies in our solidarity. This worrying development has been particularly manifest in matters relating to Venezuela,” said Gonsalves in a letter dated May 10.

“There is clearly a calculated strategy in place by a group of nations to achieve regime change in Venezuela by using the OAS as a weapon of destruction,” he added.

Gonsalves said while CARICOM countries may have concerns about the political, economic and social conditions in Venezuela, “we are all sufficiently seasoned political leaders to know that toppling a government will not end those conditions, particularly when there is no viable, electable single alternative to replace it”.

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Resolving the conflict

He acknowledged that CARICOM member states could have a role in promoting dialogue to help resolve the conflict in Venezuela — he warned fellow regional leaders against allowing themselves “to be ambushed into breaking our solidarity and aligning ourselves with fair-weather friends”.

Meanwhile, representatives from 18 OAS member states have approved a meeting of foreign ministers scheduled for May 31 in Washington to discuss the Venezuelan crisis.

In recent weeks, there has been growing unrest across Venezuela, with several killed and others injured as they have called for elections, freedom for jailed activists, foreign humanitarian aid to offset the economic crisis, and autonomy for the opposition-controlled legislature.