Millions of people are suffering from hunger, victimization and unemployment in Venezuela. As recent as this morning, humanitarian aid has been blocked from entering the country at its border with Brazil and at least one person has died as a result. It may seem quite a distance away from little Belize, but the wider ramifications can trickle down to our country if peace is not rendered anytime soon. It is on that note and more that several past prime ministers of five Caribbean countries have come together to express concerns over the situation in Venezuela. A document sent out by the former leaders, including Belize’s Right Honourable Said Musa, noted that their concerns are over the events and the prospect of any future moves that would prove inconsistent with the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Love News spoke to former Prime Minister Said Musa who indicated we should not forget that Venezuela is a friend of Belize.
Said Musa Former Minister: “We don’t have an army that can withstand these very actionary ideas but what we do have is our voice and we stand on principal and that is why we felt these leaders: Patterson, Arthur, Bird, Kenny, Anthony and myself felt that it was important that we should make a statement on what is going on in Venezuela today. Yes we all recognize that the country needs humanitarian aid, the people need it. You watch it on the television screens: they are having problems with getting food stuff, they are having problems getting medicines and all that in the hospitals. Why? I don’t want to go into the why because that will take another interview but it is very clear that our very rich and powerful country has been brought to its knees. Do we realize that Venezuela is perhaps the country with the greatest oil reserves in the world. More oil than Saudi Arabia, more oil than Nigeria and more than any other country. It is a very rich country under the ground. In fact when things were going good let us not forget under President Chavez when the oil was being pumped and we were getting a good price for the oil on the world market, they helped us. They helped little countries like Belize, Jamaica, Guyana and all the rest of countries. The whole CARICOM received help from Venezuela so why shouldn’t we in turn show our gratitude and send stuff you know, our commitment and solidarity with these Venezuelan people who are suffering.”
Jose Sanchez: “Do you find our Government’s response weak in the little that they have said diplomatically via our Ambassador to the OAS?”
Said Musa Former Minister: “Indeed not only we can find it. It is though we are acting through intimidation, we are being intimidated. I recognize you know that in government one has to be circumspect because you don’t want to do anything to affect your own people but we need to stand up for principal, we need to stand up for values. Why? We need to stand up for the United Nations system because we are a creature Belize and indeed that can be said for all the Caribbean countries. We are creatures of the UN system. Were it not for the United Nations and the support that you get there we would never be independent countries, we would never have that right of sovereignty and territorial integrity so we have to stand up for that. Those very fundamental principles: independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The leaders have called for parties to refrain from any action that would jeopardise the fundamental principles of international law. The group of leaders have acknowledged the need for Venezuelans to receive humanitarian aid and that it should be delivered without politics and under the watch of the United Nations. They added that they reject the use of threats and violence and call on all governments to push for a peaceful resolution for Venezuela and the wider hemisphere. The statement was issued by the former leaders of: Jamaica, PJ Patterson; Belize, Said Musa; Barbados, Owen Arthurs; Saint Lucia, Kenny Anthony and Antigua & Barbuda, Lester Bird.