Guyana abstains from OAS resolution on free and fair elections in Venezuela

Guyana was among several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states that on Wednesday abstained from voting on a resolution at the Organisation of American States (OAS) calling for free and fair elections in Venezuela.

In all, 21 countries voted Yes, 4 No and 9 abstained.

While Guyana earlier this month attended a Lima Group meeting, it did not sign a statement calling for free and fair elections and reiterated that Juan Guaido is the legitimate President of Venezuela. Guyana does not recognise Mr. Guaido as that country’s President.

Guyana abstained from voting, through its representative Ambassador Riyad Insanally.

Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines voted against the resolution, while Barbados, Belize, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago also abstained.

From among the CARICOM grouping, The Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica, and St. Lucia voted ‘YES’.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador Sir Ronald Sanders said his country refused to support the resolution because it recognises Mr. Guaido as the President and Venezuela is not represented in the Western Hemispheric organisation because the Nicolas Maduro administration had withdrawn that country. “Among the reasons that  my delegation opposed the resolution is that it would require moy government to accept the persons purporting to represent the government of Venezuela; government which ceased to be a member State of this organisation in 2019 having given due notice of its withdrawal in accordance  with the Charter of the Organisation,” he said.

United States’ Permanent Representative to the OAS said his country was pleased that the organisation supported a strong resolution calling for democracy and human rights. “The United States is very proud that the OAS is holding firm to its core principles. This is  a time to demand democracy and human rights in Venezuela and to accept nothing less. We are pleased that the Venezuelan resolution condemns the illegitimate regime for undermining the democratic system,” he said.

Neighbouring Brazil also supported the resolution.

Since coming to power in early August, 2020, the Guyana government has openly backed the US – first supported the US’ candidate for the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank, and endorsed a Lima Group call for Venezuelans, including the military, back the establishment of a transition government to prepare for free and fair general elections.

During Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to Guyana, he and Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd inked an accord to activate the 21-year old Shiprider Agreement for joint and air and maritime operations to interdict drug traffickers.

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