(CMC) — The division among Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries on the Venezuelan issue within the Organisation of American States (OAS) continued Tuesday as the Permanent Council of the hemispheric body voted to “accept’ the nomination of a candidate supported by Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is seeking to replace President Nicolas Maduro as head of state in the South American country.
St Lucia, Jamaica, Haiti and the Bahamas voted in favour of accepting Gustavo Tarre “as the National Assembly’s designated permanent representative, pending new elections and the appointment of a democratically elected government,” in Venezuela.
But Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, joined Venezuela in voting against the measure, while Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts- Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago abstained. Belize was the only CARICOM country absent when the vote was taken on Tuesday.
The OAS Permanent Council is chaired by the United States, which is at the forefront of efforts to remove Maduro, who was sworn into office for a second consecutive term earlier this year, from power.
The four CARICOM countries that voted in favour of the resolution have supported the so-called Lima Group that is seeking Maduro’s removal and last month met with United States President Donald Trump on Venezuela.
CARICOM has adopted a united position on the Venezuelan matter and in February, the regional leaders at their inter-sessional summit in St Kitts-Nevis reiterated their position of non-interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela and said they were prepared to mediate in the process to bring about a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
The vote at the OAS came on the same day that the St Lucia government said that it was re-affirming its position that the Caribbean must remain a zone of peace and that there should be “no third state intervention” in Caracas.