The United States Embassy has said that Government violated the 73-year-old Rio Treaty when Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez landed in the country.
“Delcy Rodriguez is subject to travel sanctions that are binding on all Rio Treaty parties, and Trinidad and Tobago is a party to the treaty,” the Embassy said.
The Rio Treaty, otherwise known as the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, is an agreement between countries in the Western Hemisphere as part of a mutual defence system.
The treaty provides for mutual assistance if an act of aggression threatens the peace of the Western Hemisphere.
Back in September, the signatories met to discuss and vote on whether to employ the regional treaty to impose sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
In that meeting, convened by the Organisation of the American States, 16 of the 19 signatories agreed to abide by the Rio Treaty and supported using the agreement to collaborate on law enforcement operations and economic sanctions against Maduro and his associates.
T&T abstained from voting at that meeting but the country is still bound by the agreement. Uruguay voted against it and Cuba was absent.
Speaking to the media after that abstention, Rowley said that the vote was an attempt to put pressure on Venezuela by use of military intervention.
The Embassy’s Public Affairs Section also yesterday said that the issue of the gas shipment from T&T to Aruba is still engaging US attention.
“The US government is aware of reports indicating a shipment of gasoline from Trinidad and Tobago may have gone to Venezuela,” the Embassy said.
“In general, entities and individuals risk exposure to US sanctions by operating in the Venezuelan oil sector or materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, PDVSA or other persons designated or identified under relevant sanctions authorities,” the Embassy said.
“This remains true regardless of how the transactions with Venezuela are conducted, whether using currency or in-kind exchanges, and without respect to whether such conduct is otherwise legal under another country’s laws,” the Embassy said.
It said that they are also aware that some companies engaged in the Venezuelan oil trade attempt to disguise the true nature of their business.