Source: The Virgin Islands Consortium
White Hall, Trinidad By GOVERNMENT OF TRINIDAD
TRINIDAD — The Government of Trinidad and Tobago on Monday said it supports Barbados’ position not to send a representative to a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jamaica. The decision represents a strong boost to Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who said over the weekend that Mr. Pompeo’s meeting in Jamaica, which excludes many of the 15-member CARICOM nation, could serve to divide the long-running treaty amongst Caribbean islands founded in 1973.
Trinidad Prime Minister Keith Rowley said Ms. Mottley has his country’s support.
“PM Mottley has the full support of the Government and the people of Trinidad and Tobago in outlining our principles and vision of Caribbean unity. In the expectation of Caribbean unity, the Prime Minister of Barbados speaks for Trinidad and Tobago,” said Mr. Rowley.
Ms. Mottley said that as chairman of CARICOM she will not agree to send her foreign minister to attend a meeting to which some members of CARICOM were not invited. She described the move as an attempt to divide the CARICOM region.
According to the Government of Trinidad, Mr. Rowley has repeatedly stated that Trinidad and Tobago stands on its proud history of fairness on the world stage, ranging from opposition to apartheid in South Africa to opposing the U.S. invasion of Grenada.
While addressing a gala to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the late Barbados prime minister and regional integrationist, Errol W. Barrow, Saturday night, Ms. Mottley warned of possible attempts to divide CARICOM during Mr. Pompeo’s two-day visit to Jamaica beginning Jan. 21.
“We don’t look to pick fights. I don’t look to pick fights, but I am conscious that if this country does not stand for something, then it will fall for anything,” she said. “As chairman of CARICOM, it is impossible for me to agree that my foreign minister should attend a meeting with anyone to which members of CARICOM are not invited. If some are invited and not all, then it is an attempt to divide this region.”
According to the Jamaican Gleaner, Mr. Pompeo’s trip to the land of Reggae follows the 67th holder of the office, Hillary Clinton, who also made an official stop on Jamaican shores in an election year, and his immediate predecessor, Rex Tillerson, who made a three-hour stop in the island for bilateral talks in 2018. Jamaica is expected to hold its general election in the coming months.
At the gala, Ms. Mottley added, “Conscious that this region must always check itself to ensure that we not become the pawns of others, the satellites of others, but that we keep ever most and uppermost in our minds what we must do for our people without simply becoming pawns on a chessboard for others to be able to benefit from.”
January 21 2020
Prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne | Photo: Reuters
The Caribbean nations are standing in defiance of Pompeo’s attempts to split up the region and isolate friendly countries.
The Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley recently announced that her country was not sending their Foreign Minister to Jamaica in order to attend a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Mottley, citing Barbados’ commitment to remaining neutral and non-aggression towards other nations, said her government would not take part in the U.S.’ attempts to divide the Caribbean region.
“I am conscious that when Errol Barrow stood and remarked that ‘we shall be friends of all and satellites of none,’ little did he know that that statement would be embraced by every single Prime Minister of government that succeeded him. It is as valid today, perhaps even more so than it was at the time of its initial delivery, Mottley said.
“As chairman of CARICOM, it is impossible for me to agree that my Foreign Minister should attend a meeting with anyone to which members of CARICOM are not invited. If some are invited and not all, then it is an attempt to divide this region,” Mottley added.
Barbados will not be alone, however, as two more Caribbean nations have joined them in boycotting the upcoming Pompeo meeting.
Trinidad and Tobago
According to a new statement from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, their government support Barbados’ position and will not send a representative to meet with Pompeo in Kingston, Jamaica.
The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley, said Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley has his country’s support.
“PM Mottley has the full support of the Government and the people of Trinidad and Tobago in outlining our principles and vision of Caribbean unity. In the expectation of Caribbean unity, the Prime Minister of Barbados speaks for Trinidad and Tobago,” said Prime Minister Rowley.
Also joining Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago is Grenada, who vowed to not attend this meeting that seeks to divide the Caribbean.
The U.S. has used the Caribbean as a way to isolate countries like Venezuela and Cuba, as the shipping lanes to these two nations have been blockaded by them.
Source: Cuba Debate / Internationalist 360
January 20 2020
The Caribbean Community (Caricom) today rejected US attempts to divide the region, in the wake of a meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and several leaders in Jamaica.
Barbadian Prime Minister and Caricom President Mia Mottley criticized the meeting between Pompeo and an undisclosed select group of Caribbean representatives, which is intended to fragment the region.
In a speech at the gala marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late Barbados prime minister and regional integrationist Errol W. Barrow, Mottley said her decision to reject the invitation to send her foreign minister to the meeting in Kingston on Tuesday was based on the right to peace.
“I do not seek to fight, but I am aware that if this country does not stand for something, it will fall for anything. As president of Caricom, it is impossible for me to agree that my foreign minister should attend a meeting with someone to which Caricom members are not invited. It is an attempt to divide this region, ”she said.
Likewise, Mottley said principles only mean something when it is inconvenient to uphold them, aware that Caricom “must always monitor itself to ensure that we do not become the pawns of others”.
Pompeo will arrive in Jamaica from Costa Rica and hold official talks with Prime Minister Andrew Holnnes, who is expected to give a speech on the importance of the Caribbean region to the United States.
Last year Holness, along with the leaders of St. Lucia, the Bahamas and Haiti, flew to Miami to meet with US President Donald Trump, where they discussed the ongoing political situation in Venezuela and Washington’s attempts to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro.
The Caribbean Community has reiterated its opposition to interference in the internal affairs of nations and called on governments to work together in pursuit of sustainable development objectives.
Today on his Twitter account, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez highlighted the importance of the Caricom Summit to be held in Havana next December.
January 13 2020
By Francisco Herranz
As a result of the strong support of Russia and Cuba for Nicolás Maduro, and the division of the opposition groups, the US has modified its strategy towards Venezuela. It no longer shuffles the use of force among his plans. Now it only demands a negotiating process between the two opposing parties with the aim of renewing the Presidency and Parliament.
Although it occupies only three paragraphs, the statement of the US Department of State, released on January 9, clearly indicates an important change of course, not because of what it says but because of what it omits. It doesn’t say it has all the options on the table. Nor does it require the immediate or prior departure of Maduro as an essential condition to address the necessary changes. That represents a very remarkable circumstance in diplomatic and political terms.
The document, signed by the US Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, argues that “a rapid negotiated transition to democracy is the most effective and sustainable route to peace and prosperity in Venezuela.” Pompeo adds that “the negotiations could open the path of the crisis through a transitional government that will organize free and fair elections.”
The Pompeo project sets a road map for the two elections to be held later this year. For this, it demands a new and independent National Electoral Commission, elected by the National Assembly (Parliament), as stipulated in the Constitution, to control the electoral process.
Two other requirements cited by Washington would be the renewal of the Supreme Court of Justice, the highest body of the Venezuelan judicial system, as well as unlimited access to media, telecommunications, internet and radio and television spaces of all candidates, parties and electorate. .
Pompeo wants elections open to all parties and candidates, which would apparently include the chavistas of the Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), but that is especially complicated because the four most important opposition formations are banned and their main leaders, disabled.
This is about:
First Unit, party of the former presidential candidate and former governor of Miranda, Henrique Capriles, sentenced to 15 years of disqualification for corruption by the Comptroller General of the Republic;
Voluntad Popular, the party led by Leopoldo López, currently host-refugee at the Spanish Embassy in Caracas;
The first three are part of the main opposition coalition, Bureau of Democratic Unity (MUD).
The tactical change is very significant because for months the Trump administration insisted that “all options were on the table” in relation to the crisis in Venezuela. That meant that it included the military option, that is, a scenario with invasion of ground troops and special operations.
Does Venezuela have two National Assemblies?
At the beginning of last December, Pompeo himself showed that the US Executive no longer considered the possibility of sending the Marines, although he did not say so clearly. Instead of the military option, the Secretary of State then mentioned the economic sanctions decreed by the US against the Venezuelan oil industry.
The idea of applying new sanctions is the one that takes more force and particularly against other politicians, for example, against Luis Parra, a First Justice deputy who went to the ruling party and proclaimed himself president of the National Assembly, unsuccessfully disallowing the leader of the Legislative, Juan Guaidó.
The United States had asked Maduro since January 2019 to leave the country, and in April of that year Pompeo had said, after a stifled military uprising, that the Venezuelan leader had a plane ready to flee to Cuba.
The sharp turn taken by the White House is the result of a serious failure of political calculation. The US special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, acknowledged to the press that his country underestimated the support of Russia and Cuba for Maduro, which was ultimately a blunder. Moscow and Havana “are the two pillars of support for the regime and, without them, [Maduro] would not be in power,” said the veteran US diplomatic representative, who obviously feels “frustrated” by the current situation of the crisis that It crosses the Caribbean nation.
The United States sees what happened in 2019 and Maduro is still at the Miraflores Palace, and maybe it is looking to change his toolbox (sanctions, threats, blockades, diplomatic and political siege) for a new one that sets course towards a negotiated solution. Trump would like it to be this year to show it as an achievement for his re-election in November.
“Nor is it ruled out that he seeks to push Maduro toward the dilemma of making concessions or facing greater danger. Anyway, it seems that someone in Washington reread Kissinger, ”says an experienced Venezuelan journalist.
However, the negotiations that the State Department is talking about now sound like mere illusions, because the process of open dialogue through Norwegian mediators has been suspended for weeks. A couple of days ago, Guaido himself informed national and international public opinion that a commission from the Kingdom of Norway was arriving in Caracas, but added that they were not “going to participate in any meeting”, especially after the incidents occurred on January 5, when a group of soldiers and police prevented him from entering the National Assembly building to be re-elected one more year in office.
Who are the opponents of Guaidó and Maduro who are now key in Venezuela
After his vain attempt, Guaidó organized an unpublished session in the newspaper El Nacional, where he was ratified by 100 opposition deputies of the 167 that the Chamber has.
Another reason for the change of opinion of Pompeo would be the great political and personal differences between the Venezuelan opposition. They did not learn from the mistakes of yesteryear and their unity cracks. Guaidó, who has not achieved much in this last year as “president in charge” of Venezuela, is increasingly facing the radical sectors of the opposition that favor the use of military force to drive Maduro out of power.
The most famous clash against Guaidó has been starred by María Corina Machado. The media coordinator of the Vente Venezuela movement has already denounced that the leadership of the National Assembly is “infiltrated” and that it leads the country to “false dialogues” and “criminal cohabitations”. The uncompromising but popular María Corina Machado has declared, by active and passive, that Maduro “only yields to the force” and proposes an international joint action, while Guaidó considers, until now, that this path is meaningless, very dangerous and risky.
Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a coup d’état in 2009, talks to Laura Carlsen about the origins and consequences of the crisis in His country
LAURA CARLSEN: To talk about the current crisis in Honduras we’re here in the offices of the LIBRE party with the former president and leader of the LIBRE Party Manuel Zelaya.
Thank you very much for talking to us, Mr. President.
There is very little coverage on the international level of what is happening now with these demonstrations –and they’ve been going on for months.
What is your evaluation of this stage of opposition here in Honduras and what possibilities do you see for making a real change?
MANUEL ZELAYA: Well, we have to look at where we’re coming from, what we’ve gone through and what the demands and the expectations are in the short, medium and long term. I think that there’s a rupture in the democratic order from ten years ago– the constitution of the republic was broken. Instead of restoring the social pact, instead of seeking common ground between the opposing sectors, they imposed on us a single idea, a single tyrannical, dictatorial way of violently running the country.
Read more here
January 1 2020
Haiti has been struggling for more than two centuries to establish
itself as a modern and stable state. | Photo: Reuters
Over 4.5 million Haitians, almost half of the population, will be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2020, the United Nations warned.
Haiti celebrated Wednesday its 216th independence day in the midst of political turmoil and a profound social and economic crisis.
The government of President Jovenel Moise has been facing nationwide protests calling for its removal after scandals emerged involving the head of state along with other officials in cases of severe corruption, and after fuel shortages, dwindling food supplies, and mismanagement of public funds further plunged the impoverished country in one of its worst economic and social crisis in years.
To mark the day of independence, Moise gave a speech and denounced graft, urging Haiti’s elite to work with the government.
“We’re still extremely poor,” he said at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, adding that “those who continue to get rich find it normal that they do not pay taxes, find it normal that there can be no competition, find it normal that they set prices for consumers, especially when this consumer is the state itself.”
The world’s first black-led republic
Moise’s speech marked 216 years since the Caribbean nation gained its independence and became the world’s first black-led republic, forcing France to surrender its colonial rule over the slave-driven plantation formerly known as Saint-Domingue.
Led by Toussaint-Louverture, who declared the abolition of slavery, former slaves fought against France between 1791 and 1804 when General Jean-Jaques Dessalines finally defeated French forces and declared independence, reviving the island’s native name: Ayiti.
Haiti’s problems, however, which can be traced back a long way, have only been getting worse since its birth as a Republic.
The country has been fighting and struggling for more than two centuries to establish itself as a modern and stable state, but it has been mercilessly punished, used, and exploited by the West, making a sustained political, social and economic development almost impossible.
Illegitimate debt imposed by France
The island was, for instance, burdened with an illegitimate debt imposed by France in exchange for lifting a naval and diplomatic blockade. The former colonial power demanded that Haiti pay 150 million gold francs in “reparations” to former French slaveholders. According to several estimates, that was 10 times the country’s yearly revenue.
For over a century, Haiti was required to finance the debt, hampering the possibility to invest in infrastructure, social services, and industrial development.
19-year-long occupation by the United States
It wasn’t until 1947 that Haiti was finally capable of paying compensation to slaveholders and human traffickers. By then, it had already suffered a 19-year-long occupation by the United States (1915 – 1934), during which racial inequalities were exacerbated.
In 2004, Haiti officially demanded France to pay back the money, stressing that it was a “grave injustice” that prevented Haiti from developing as fast as other countries. France has so far rejected any possibility of paying back the illegitimate debt it claimed from Haiti.
And as Haitians commemorate one more year of independence, it seems there is little to celebrate as the United Nations (U.N.) estimates that more than 4.5 million Haitians representing almost half of the population will be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2020. Among the most vulnerable, about 60 percent are women and more than 45 percent are children.
“One in three Haitians needs urgent food aid, that is 3.7 million people, a significant increase compared to 2.6 million people at the end of 2018. If no immediate action is taken, between March and June 2020, 1.2 million people will be able to eat a meal every two days and around 2.8 million people will be able to eat a single meal a day, “ U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said, expressing that a worsening economic crisis is the last thing Haitians need, given the poor quality of life in the island.
December 25 2019
The Prefect of Pichincha Paola Pabon at a local radio station in
Quito, Ecuador, 2019. | Photo: Twitter / @pichinchauniver
Prefect Paola Pabon was accused of being part of a plan to overthrow President Lenin Moreno.
In Ecuador, the Provincial Justice Court of Pichincha acting president Patlova Guerra Tuesday revoked preventive prison against the Prefect of Pichincha Paola Pabon, former lawmaker Virgilio Hernandez, and activist Christian Gonzalez, all of whom are accused of rebellion.
In exchange for the release of the three defendants, Judge Guerra requested them to appear each Monday before the authority.
Pabon served 71 days in jail after President Lenin Moreno accused her of instigating protests against the economic policies proposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In October, Moreno said that Pabon was part of a plan to overthrow him, which was allegedly devised by former President Rafael Correa and supported by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.
Given that the Ecuadorian prosecution failed to present strong evidence on such accusations, the arrest of Pabon, Hernandez, and Gonzalez, which occurred without following the rules of due process, brought the attention of international human rights organizations.
One of them was the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which issued precautionary measures in favor of the Pichincha prefect.
“Paola Pabon, Virgilio Hernandez, and Christian Gonzalez are free. Joy for their families and the State of Rights. The preventive detention hearing ruled in favor. I find myself excited and cheerful. I hope nobody goes through something like that. All three are innocent.”
Once Judge Guerra’s decision was known on Tuesday late night, dozens of supporters of the leftist politicians celebrated outside the Provincial Court shouting slogans against political persecution.
While Correa celebrated the liberation of Pabon, Hernandez, and Gonzalez, he recalled that other members of his party are still imprisoned, one of whom is the former Vice President Jorge Glass.
“The joy is enormous but remember that there are Jorge, Yofre, and many other people persecuted, isolated, exiled or with preventive measures,” Correa said.
Based on what has been going on during Moreno’s administration, the former President also expressed concern about reprisals that could be taken against an honest judge.
“Judge Patlova Guerra is a sign that there are still honest judges. You have to be very attentive so that she does not be dismissed.”