If the United States were to invade Venezuela to remove President Nicolas Maduro from office and some CARICOM governments join in, which side would St. Vincent and the Grenadines be on?
That’s one of the questions that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves was asked on Tuesday on Boom FM on the on-going impasse in Venezuela.
“Well, St. Vincent and the Grenadines would be entirely opposed to an invasion for the simple reason Article 2, paragraph 4 of the Charter of the United Nations, makes it plain that you can’t threaten or use force against another country,” the prime minister said.
“There are only two cases, two exceptions in the Charter of the United Nations: one, you’re doing so for self-defence, and clearly, there is no issue of aggression of Venezuela against the United States or, secondly, if it is a situation adjudged by the Security Council to be so serious that it requires a response through the Security Council for an intervention.”
He said that it is for this reason the United States president Donald Trump is not lobbying the Security Council in his efforts to secure regime change in Venezuela.
“… they have tried it before, that it doesn’t measure up to a global security threat and they wouldn’t get the support of the security council.”
Regarding the reports that Russia is sending troops to help Maduro, Gonsalves said:
“I hear all kinds of things but I hear a lot of fake news. There is no evidence that that has happened.”
He said that international law should be observed.
“In the same way that what saves us, you and me and others in this community, is not to have a strong and powerful man, more powerful than you and I come and bully us and beat up on us and we have no recourse to law.
“We have the law here; we have the courts to defend us. There’s a thing called international law. And this is the problem, there are some states, because of some fear – people can’t live by fear. You have to be practical, you have to be pragmatic, but you assert your principles. How could it, in heaven’s name, be in the interest of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to have a military invasion in Venezuela?”
He said that Canada and Europe oppose a military intervention in Venezuela.
Asked about the difference between a proposed US invasion of Grenada and Washington’s invasion of the St. George’s in the 1980s, Gonsalves said that in Grenada, “… the Americans used a fig leaf, that is to say, that the countries in the OECS, Eugenia Charles [then prime minister of Dominica] was then chairman, invite them in and that the governor general, which was the authority in Grenada did that. So they were in there by invitation.”
Gonsalves said he was against that military invention, as was Margaret Thatcher, then prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who was a good friend of then US president, Ronald Reagan.
Asked if he thinks that the Vincentian people support Maduro, Gonsalves said that if
Maduro is recalled and another person is elected president, Kingstown will have good relations with that person.
“I’m dealing with principle you know,” Gonsalves said.
He said everybody knows that his party has links with the St. Lucia Labour Party and he would have preferred to see Kenny Anthony rather than Allen Chastanet as prime minister of St. Lucia.
“Allen knows that himself but Allen and I work very well together as prime ministers representing St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia respectively. I don’t know how these things are so difficult to be understood. They are crystal clear to me,” Gonsalves said.