Bahamas ‘firm’ on Venezuela position
The Bahamas stands “firm” on its decision to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as president, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said on Saturday.
“The Bahamas’ position has not changed,” Minnis said.
He added: “The [Organization of American States has] categorically stated that the election in Venezuela was an illegitimate election.
“Our argument was if the election is illegitimate it means the government is illegitimate. If the government is illegitimate, and we are a democratic society who believes in democracy, both us and America, which means that you must have new elections and that must be done as quickly as possible. That has been our position.
“When America issued a statement that they were recognizing the opposition leader, Juan, as the president of Venezuela, we, likewise, agreed because the election and the government was illegitimate and the assembly had appointed Guaido as the president of Venezuela. Our position has not changed.”
Minnis and the leaders of Jamaica, Haiti, Saint Lucia and the Dominican Republic had a bilateral meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday in Florida.
According to a statement from the White House Office of the Press Secretary, Trump wanted to use the meeting as an opportunity to “thank these countries for their support for peace and democracy in Venezuela”.
Venezuela has been facing a political and economic collapse that has created a humanitarian crisis and caused millions to leave the country.
Earlier this year, thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets in a movement against Nicolas Maduro’s presidency as numerous countries dispute his legitimacy.
In January, the OAS voted on a resolution not to recognize his legitimacy and later announced that it would recognize Guaido as interim president.
However, even as some of its member states have chosen sides in the tense political situation, CARICOM has called for a non-interventionist strategy and encouraged dialogue between the opposing groups that both claim stewardship of the country.
CARICOM countries were divided on the issue.
OAS members passed the resolution to not recognize Maduro with 19 votes in favor, six against, eight abstentions and one absent.
Jamaica, Haiti, The Bahamas, Guyana, and Saint Lucia supported the resolution, while Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname voted against it.
Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, and Belize abstained during the vote, while Grenada was not present.