Bahamas govt responds to unrest in Venezuela

Opposition says govt is being “hypocritical”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – As violence and unrest continued to unfold in Venezuela on Wednesday, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Bahamas said it was monitoring the ‘deteriorating situation’ with concern, and called upon Venezuelan authorities to safeguard the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Venezuelan people.

“The government of The Bahamas expresses the hope that a peaceful resolution is realized in accordance with Resolutions adopted by the Organization of American States and the Inter American Democratic Charter, which all member states have accepted,” the government outlined in an issued statement.

Mr. Juan Guaidó declared himself Venezuela’s interim leader in January and he has been recognised by more than 50 countries, including the US, the UK and most countries in Latin America.

But Mr Nicolás Maduro, who is being backed by Russia, China and the top of the country’s military, has refused to give up leadership to his rival.

As of yesterday, Venezuelan opposition supporters have held mass protests, on the heels of violent clashes with government forces.

Pro-government rallies were also taking place.

The demonstrations came after Maduro said he had stopped an “attempted coup” on Tuesday.

CNN news reported that Maduro accused protestors of “serious crimes” which he said would “not go unpunished”

Maduro also said that the US was plotting against him, according to CNN.

“United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said military action was “possible” if necessary but that the US would prefer a peaceful transition of power.

“Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the US against further “aggressive” steps.

“The UN meanwhile called on both sides to exercise “maximum restraint”, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, the government of The Bahamas has recognized Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido. And while visiting United States president Donald Trump last month, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said Trump was “very appreciative” of The Bahamas holding this position.

In addition to The Bahamas, the leaders of the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti and St. Lucia have also supported a resolution at the Organization of American States in January, to not recognize embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

However, CARICOM member states adopted a position of non-interference.

Yesterday, the Opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) released a statement, charging that The Bahamas Government’s statement on Venezuela is ‘hypocritical’.

“This  FNM government abandoned the country’s principle of non-interference in the affairs of other countries. Instead, it helped to foment the disorder we now see, condemning the present Venezuelan government as illegitimate, yet it now calls on that same illegitimate government to keep order,” outlined a statement issued from  PLP chairman Fred Mitchell.

Mitchell said the government should always be an honest broker and not promote policies which foment disorder.

“The Bahamas has no dog in the hunt and should have stuck to the non-interference principle,” the PLP said.