PM speaks on uprising in Venezuela
There is currently civil unrest which has resulted in numerous casualties in Venezuela, as troops mass to quell anti-government protests. Normally, while that would be cause for interest and commiseration it wouldn’t enter the realm of serious concern locally. But there is, not least because the entire infrastructure works being carried out today are being funded by the Petrocaribe initiative, made possible by the largesse of Venezuela. The initiative, however, is dependent on the stability of the Venezuelan government. Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke on the situation in Venezuela, stating that, as a nation, Belize cannot support any move to oust a constitutionally elected government.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“Naturally, we’ve been observing the situation with a great deal of disquiet because whenever you are seeing images of violence and whenever you are hearing death tolls that reach in excess of a dozen, by last count, you have to be concerned. Venezuela is a sister country, a member of the O.A.S. and we do have the excellent bilateral relations with them. I’m not quite sure what happens in terms of the possibility of some kind of external effort at conciliation mediation. There is a suggestion coming from Panama that the O.A.S. at the Foreign Minister level should try to mount some sort of a mission. I believe there is a resistance to that on the basis that the O.A.S. is dominated by the United States of America—something that I don’t particularly accept. All I will say is that we are ready, perhaps anxious, to be part of any initiative that could help to broker some kind of understanding going forward. We, I am not going to….there are Belizeans with Venezuelan roots that view what is happening very passionately and would like to see this government take a particular stand. I will say this; by however narrow a margin, Maduro was legitimately elected. We cannot support any notion of the illegal removal of a constitutional government.”
Venezuelan Ambassador says uprising does not affect PetroCaribe
Violent protests continue to rock Venezuela, where the government is coming under heavy pressure from opposition parties. But according to news reports, even as the unrest continues, a rift between the two main opposition leaders has been exposed. On Wednesday, the Venezuelan Ambassador spoke about the uprising, tonight he tells us about the Petrocaribe Agreement and if it will continue to flow to some eighteen countries given Venezuela’s economic woes.
Yoel del Valle Pérez Marcano, Venezuelan Ambassador (Translated)
“We believe that the events that are taking place in Venezuela will not affect the development of Petro Caribe as an oil provider to countries which are capable of paying to the program. In the first place, this is our government’s firm decision to maintain a program that is essential, not only to economies of our neighboring countries, but also to our political stability. If Petro Caribe would cease to exist, then that would affect job creation, economic development and political stability. Last November, we approved in Nicaraguathe creation of a Petro Caribe Economic Zone, which not only includes the 18 countries of Petro Caribe, but also the member countries of ALBA that were not a part of Petro Caribe. The purpose of this is to develop five fundamental initiatives for the region:in transportation, infrastructure, education, tourism and agriculture. Those who wish to eliminate Petro Caribe are those who are in Opposition. They believe that Petro Caribe’s functionis to give away our petroleum. But the fact is that all the governments that form part of Petro Caribe need to fulfill their agreements on a long-term basis. The relationship we have with Belize is an excellent one. Last September we negotiated the provision of four thousand five hundred barrels of oil daily. At the moment it is only diesel, but soon we will be providing other oil bi-products to Belize. Belize has been very responsible in its obligations to Petro Caribe. In March, the president of PDV Caribe will be coming to Belize in order to negotiate some new business opportunities with the country of Belize.”