NEWS on the issues concerning the Venezuelan Crisis and Maduro’s Regime seem to be advancing in low gear. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has appeared steadfast in affirming and reaffirming its united commitment to bringing a peaceful resolution to the political crisis in Venezuela. It seems to remain steadfast amidst pressure from the United States, Canada and the European Union to give its support in recognising the Opposition Leader, Juan Guaido, as Venezuela’s President.
The March 22nd meeting between President Donald Trump and the five Caribbean Leaders in Mar-a-Lago was alleged by certain sources to serve the purpose of enticing the Caribbean Leaders to give their support to the U.S against Maduro’s regime. According to World Politics Review (WPR), the U.S promised the Caribbean Leaders, in exchange for their support, investments in their economies. Among the promises was the hint that Caribbean countries which gave their support would enjoy certain forms of preferential treatment from the U.S, such as “assistance regarding security cooperation, and resistance to natural disasters” according to WPR.
According to Robert Looney, Professor and International Consultant on economic development, the five countries which met with Trump in Mar-a-Lago have already given the U.S their support by rejecting Maduro. Although the details of that meeting were not made public, some speculated that it had the potential to split CARICOM over the Venezuelan issue. But CARICOM, in the wake of that meeting, continued to assert its united stance of non-intervention and non-interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs.
Meanwhile, U.S-imposed sanctions on Venezuela are escalating the Venezuelan refugee situation in the Caribbean. According to a publication by The New Republic, Alvin Hilaire, Governor of Central Bank, stated that it will cost Trinidad & Tobago an estimated $92 million in order to aid refugees coming in from Venezuela. It is not known how much it may cost the smaller islands to do so. It has been assumed by some that the Caribbean countries which do not support the US in the Venezuelan affair may fall-out of favour with the U.S, thus making Chinese partnerships with those countries even more appealing.
All things considered, Venezuela and China have just recently been proclaimed as threats to Caribbean security. The proclamation was made by Navy Admiral, Craig Faller, who is the military commander responsible for U.S national security interests in the Caribbean and Latin American regions. According to him, the Caribbean is under threat of the Venezuelan crisis and encroachment by China. He has outwardly accused Maduro’s regime of substituting money from state-run businesses with money generated by drug trafficking.
Regarding the threats to which Faller alluded, he stated earlier this week while on a visit to Jamaica, “We have to pay the right amount of attention to this region and invest appropriately for the future.” In fact, the U.S co-hosted a two-day Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC) on the 14th and 15th of November, 2019, to discus regional security mechanisms that support operations of disaster relief, and to focus on countering transnational threats. The conference was co-hosted alongside Defence leaders from Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and Michael Jones, acting director of the Caribbean Community’s Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS) were also in attendance at the conference.