TRINIDAD Y TOBAGO: Caricom must keep eye on Venezuela - EntornoInteligente / News day / Dr Mark Kirton, senior lecturer in Latin American Studies at the Institute of International Relations, said the fallout from the referendum in the beleaguered South-American country can place additional pressure on social services in Caricom states, especially Trinidad and Tobago.

“Therefore, there should be a coordinated Caricom policy established as a matter of urgency to deal with the potential humanitarian crisis,” he told Newsday.

Kirton said many countries see the efforts by the Nicolas Maduro-led government to rewrite the constitution as an attack on democracy in Venezuela.

The lecturer, whose research interests include Latin American foreign policy, new regionalism and conflict transformation, predicted there will be sustained protests and higher levels of instability in Venezuela, in the wake of the move.

“This can also lead to greater numbers of Venezuelans leaving the country and coming to Trinidad and other Caricom states as a result of the street protests and increasing inability to access basic supplies of food, medicine and other items,” he said. Kirton’s position came days after Venezuelan Ambassador to TT Coromoto Godoy Calderon assured Newsday there was no humanitarian crisis that would trigger mass migration to local shores.

Calderon also had sought to dismiss the view that her oil-rich country was on the brink of collapse.

“I assure you that as we have our Constituent National Assembly, there is no need for this fear of Venezuelans coming across here in droves. We will be able to have increased democratic participation, empowerment of people and increased economic development,” she had said.

Two Sundays ago Maduro convened a national vote to elect a constituent assembly to redraft the country’s Constitution in what Opposition forces saw as a grab for power.

The following day, two of Venezuela’s leading Opposition figures – Leoplodo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma – were taken from their homes by State security agents in Maduro’s government.

The United States also slapped sanctions on Venezuela to freeze Maduro’s assets in its jurisdictions.

TRINIDAD Y TOBAGO: Caricom must keep eye on Venezuela

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