Saturday 4 April, 2020

PNP blasts Gov't over Venezuela vote

The decision by the Jamaican government not to recognise the legitimacy of the presidency of Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, is being criticised by the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP).

On Thursday Jamaica sided with 18 other members of the Organisation of the American States (OAS) in stating their intention to not recognise Maduro's second term as president of the increasingly isolated South American country, that is in the midst of a social and economic crisis.

Responding to the development on Friday, PNP spokesperson on foreign affairs and foreign trade, Lisa Hanna, said Jamaica's vote has departed from the traditional principles on which the nation has relied for decades.

Hanna charged that the move has brought the country's image in the international community into disgrace.

"Jamaica has always stood firm on principles in forging its international diplomatic relationships. Central to these principles has been a commitment to non-interference in the internal affairs of all nations and the peaceful resolution of disputes," Hanna said in a statement.

She added that: “As a consequence, Jamaica has been able to build a wide-ranging set of relationships and alliances which among other things has made us a central player in the movement of non-aligned states. We are friends of many and the enemy of none.”

Hanna argued that throughout the country's history, Jamaica, as an independent country, has maintained relationships with diverse countries with different political systems, ideologies and electoral arrangements.

She stressed that the maintenance of these relationships has never meant validation of the particular policies or internal political arrangements of the various states with whom we have relations. , she added.

 “Jamaica has always shown assertive, courageous and enlightened leadership in our foreign policy and diplomacy. As a result, we have developed an enviable reputation of courage and activism in the international arena. Our consistent approach in taking decisions on the basis of principle has served us well, earning Jamaica respect in matters of foreign diplomacy. Our views have been highly sought by our allies,” Hanna stated.

Hanna said it was noteworthy that in various periods of natural disasters, the Venezuelans have come to the assistance of the Jamaican people. As such, she said the PNP believes they deserve to be treated with respect and honour.

“This is certainly not the way to treat the people or government that has been a hemispheric partner for Jamaica through Petro Caribe, the debt buy-back, through periods of national disaster,” Hanna said.

She also pointed out that the position of the PNP is that disputes between countries and different political factions should be resolved through peaceful means.

The OAS resolution was passed in Washington minutes after Maduro was sworn in for a second term in Caracas, Venezuela. It called for new presidential elections with all necessary guarantees of a free, fair, transparent, and legitimate process, to be held at an early date, attended by international observers.

The resolution was approved with 19 votes in favour, six against, and eight abstentions, with one member absent.

However, the resolution also noted that the OAS Permanent Council and the Meeting of Consultation of Foreign Ministers remained ready to engage in diplomatic initiatives, including good offices, aimed at promoting dialogue in Venezuela, with a view to arriving at a political solution to the crisis in that country.

Fernando Simas Magalhaes, ambassador and permanent representative of Brazil to the OAS, was critical of member states that abstained or voted against the resolution.

"This union cannot remain submissive before a country that today suffers the consequences of a brutal dictatorship. Those that [remain silent] before the regime of Nicolas Maduro or that abstain are an obstruction to the work of the organisation," Magalhaes stated at the end of the meeting.

But Venezuela's Ambassador Samuel Moncada called the measure "a hostile act ... against the will of our nation".


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