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Belize’s Cagey Response about Venezuela

The United States does not recognize Nicolas Maduro as the President of Venezuela. The majority of Organization of American States members voted on a resolution that did not recognize his new term in office. 8 countries abstained from voting and Belize was one of them. Belize, like several CARICOM countries, had benefited from low cost PetroCaribe fuel. But when the delicate political system and pressures of that State brought the program to a crawl across the region, Prime Minister Barrow in a press conference last year had indicated that the country had already moved onto other sources for fuel. Two weeks ago when the OAS voted to “not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro’s new term” as president, Belize was one of 8 countries which abstained.  The Permanent Council of the OAS held a special meeting to consider recent developments in Venezuela yesterday. Belize’s Permanent Representative to the OAS, Daniel Gutierrez spoke about the seriousness of the situation but without making any pronouncement or taking any sides as to the legitimacy of the Maduro Regime. In essence, his soliloquy was ‘much ado about nothing.’

Nicholas Maduro: “Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman and colleagues the crisis in Venezuela has now been taskasized into a crisis in this very house of the Americas. Let me be exceedingly clear, we are concerned about what is happening in Venezuela. As we speak long lines of Venezuelans cry for basic supplies. We have all witnessed the mass exodus complete with suffering and indignity that human migration entails. Under any definition of good governance there is something amist of the way life has changed for the worst for many Venezuelans. It is ultimately the responsibility of the state to take care of its people. In this regard the failure of the Government of Venezuela is unquestionable. Belize has not been and is not now blind to this. Mr. Chairman, Belize also recognizes that there is a role for the OAS in this crisis. The OAS cannot and should not be silent when events in a member state are so transformative that those new conditions imperil the basics of dignified life. Colleagues if we truly believe in dialogue, if we truly believe in diplomacy, if we truly want to talk to all parties then let us be guarded with where we steer this organization.”