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Venezuela is region’s ‘most pressing issue’

The grave humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is currently the region’s most pressing issue as it threatens to erode the region’s safety and security, charged U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers.

Bowers made the comment during the embassy’s early celebration of U.S. independence at Albany resort on Monday.

“Each year we take an evening to celebrate our shared values and history and how each of our countries [has] dedicated ourselves to democracy and human rights,” Bowers said.

“Our independence day is not only a celebration of our culture and history; it is also a commemoration of our struggle for democracy.

“However, it is also a time to remember those in the region who continue their own democratic struggle to this day.

“The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is our region’s most pressing issue and threatens to erode our regional safety and security, as well as the institutions we hold dear.

“Today, we must remember the Venezuelan people and all those around the world fighting for their rights as our ancestors did so long ago.”

Venezuela continues to battle a political, economic and humanitarian crisis, which has resulted in an increase in the number of destitute Venezuelans and prompted a mass exodus from the country.

The issue has also sparked worldwide debate over the need for foreign intervention.

In January, The Bahamas was among several Organization of American States (OAS) members to recognize Venezuelan Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s interim president amid massive protests.

Following a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in March, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said The Bahamas stood firm on its decision to recognize Guaidó as president.

The U.S. has threatened military intervention.

However, while there was a brief “attempted coup”, President Nicolas Maduro’s regime remains in power.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield said The Bahamas will not back the U.S. if it decides to take military action in the country.

In May, United States Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Kimberly Breier urged Caribbean countries to support the U.S. in its position on Venezuela.

“We must also work together to manage the destabilizing crisis of Venezuela and the thousands of Venezuelan migrants who have sought refuge in your countries,” she said at the eighth Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue at the Department of State.

“…We cannot remain silent on the political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

“It will only continue to worsen as people lack food, water, medicine and electricity.

“As the narco-criminal groups continue funneling drugs and crime north into the Caribbean, this instability will spread further into the region.

“We hope additional countries will join the critical mass in the Western Hemisphere who have chosen to support the Venezuelan people and the leader they have chosen via their constitution, Interim President Juan Guaidó.

“If we oppose foreign intervention, we must cry foul when foreign powers like Russia and Cuba stake a claim by overtly landing military forces on South American territory.

“The United States and all freedom-loving countries should be deeply concerned to the point of action, closer cooperation and support to our neighbors in need.”

Sloan Smith

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications

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