Eight Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have written to the Chair of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) protesting the decision of the Council to accept by simple majority, the appointment of Gustavo Tarre, as the new Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the hemispheric body.
In the April 22nd joint letter, a copy of which has been obtained by the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, St Kitts-Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, said they had also taken note that on April 10, the Secretary General, Luis Almagro accepted the credentials of Tarre as the “Permanent Representative” of the National Assembly of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
The Caribbean countries said that they also “endorse” the position of Mexico on the situation.
Earlier this month Tarre presented his credentials to Almagro, who had promised to work with him “to deepen the path to democratisation, peace and justice for Venezuela”.
lmargo had also said that the “voices in favour of democracy in the hemisphere” voted for the resolution that accepted Tarre’s appointment.
CARICOM, with 14 votes in the OAS, were divided on the issue with St Lucia, Jamaica, Haiti and the Bahamas voting in favour of accepting Tarre “as the National Assembly’s designated permanent representative, pending new elections and the appointment of a democratically elected government,” in the South American country.
But Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, joined Venezuela in voting against the measure, while Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts- Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago abstained. Belize was the only CARICOM country absent when the vote was taken.
The OAS Permanent Council is chaired by the United States, which is at the forefront of efforts to remove President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn into office for a second consecutive term earlier this year, from power.
Washington wants him replaced by Juan Guaido, the Opposition Leader, who has already declared himself as interim president.
CARICOM has adopted a united position on the Venezuelan matter and in February, the regional leaders at their inter-sessional summit in St Kitts-Nevis reiterated their position of non-interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela and said they were prepared to mediate in the process to bring about a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
However, St Lucia, the Bahamas, Haiti and Jamaica, have supported the so-called Lima Group that is seeking Maduro’s removal. This is the third occasion so far this year they have broken ranks within CARICOM on the Venezuelan issue.
In their letter, the eight CARICOM countries note that the National Assembly of Venezuela “is not a government” and quotes Article 80 of the OAS Charter, which states in part that “the Permanent Council…is composed of one representative of each member state especially appointed by the respective government with the rank of ambassador”.
The Charter also notes that “each government may accredit an acting representative as well as such alternates and advisors as it considers necessary”.
Further, the eight Caribbean countries say that the letter of Tarre’s appointment submitted to the chair of the OAS Permanent Council, Ambassador Carlos Trujillo, who is also the US ambassador on April 8, 2019 and signed by Guaido “in his capacity as the President of the National Assembly and also purporting to be in his capacity as Interim president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was dated January 22, 2019, one day before his proclamation as Interim President”.
The Caribbean countries also said that Guaido’s designation of Tarre as the permanent representative “is also not consistent with the Agreement of the National Assembly of …Venezuela dated January 22, 2019 which designates …Tarre as “Special representative to the OAS.
“These inconsistencies call into question the legitimacy of ….Tarre’s appointment as the designated Permanent Representative of…Venezuela to the OAS,” the letter added.
The eight regional countries say the resolution to accept Tarre and the subsequent actions “are not in conformity with international law and the normative framework of the OAS.
“The Permanent Missions thereby express their deep concern with this undermining of the institutional integrity and legitimacy of the OAS, and, in this context, calls for this entire matter…to be submitted by the Permanent Council to a Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs for its review and decision,” the letter added.
The Caribbean countries have also called for their letter to be “translated into all official languages and distributed to the members of the Permanent Council”.