CARICOM 5, Trump talk trade, investments & Venezuela

CARICOM 5, Trump talk trade, investments & Venezuela
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump meets with Caribbean leaders at Mar-A Lago, Friday, March 22, 2019, in Palm Beach, Fla. From left are St. Lucia’s Prime Minister, Allen Michael Chastanet, Dominican Republic President, Danilo Medina, President Trump, Melania Trump, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, Haiti President, Jovenel Moise and Bahamas Prime Minister, Hubert Minnis.
Associated Press / Carolyn Kaster

West Palm Beach, Florida — One week after African-American Keith James won 50 percent of the total votes to win election as mayor here, five Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders arrived in the Sunshine State to join President Donald Trump showing solidarity for his cause to intervene in Venezuela’s political strife.

Among the guests, a representative of the nation the leader specifically referred to with Africa in derogatory terms as a “s-hole” country joined a Spanish-language and three English-speaking leaders who departed from a unified CARICOM stance by speaking out against a regional neighbor.

The hasty meeting held at the president’s ‘southern White House’ invited Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Haitian President Jovenel Moise, Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet of St. Lucia and President Danilo Medino of the Dominican Republic to Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach after they voted with 15 other nations representing the Organization of American States (OAS) to support his resolution of intervention into the national conflict.

The US leader said his reasoning for hosting a mini summit was to show support for Caribbean countries that share his idea of a democratic transition in Venezuela. His administration contends that President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election was illegitimate compounding a dictatorship forced on the nationals.

His proposal is to replace Maduro with Juan Guaido.

Maduro maintains support by the military, China, Cuba and Russia.

After the reportedly flawed election Trump dispatched his son-in-law Jared Kushner to the country and has since blocked all American banking transactions between the Latin American nation and the USA.

Vice President Mike Pence has also repeatedly chided the nation citing human rights violations and recently penned an editorial in a South Florida newspaper detailing a number of other infractions.

PM Chastanet was not deluded by the invitation saying the US has not shown much interest in the region for more than a few administrations. He stated that not since the Ronald Reagan administration has any American leader sought to reach out to Caribbean heads of states.

He added that it was clear that the only reason they were asked into any talks was that the five were opposed to the Maduro presidency.

According to the Florida-based Sun Sentinel Newspaper, Chastanet also acknowledged the fact that not all countries in the region agree with the U.S. call for Maduro’s ouster.

As a matter of fact, CARICOM members have long maintained a non-intervention policy with regard to issues related to neighbors in the region.

However, the St. Lucian maintained — “I think we all recognize there’s a problem in Venezuela. Most people recognize the need for new elections.”

All five leaders have either denounced Maduro or joined more than 50 countries in recognizing Guaido as the rightful interim leader of the nation.

In a decided action against the Maduro governance, Jamaica recently shuttered the Venezuelan embassy in Kingston.

Trump reportedly told the leaders prior to the meeting that he would be “discussing ways that we can be beneficial to you and you can be beneficial to us.”

The island’s leader said that at their meeting with Trump he was told that a representative from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a U.S. government agency that helps American businesses invest in emerging represented in Florida.

“The message from this meeting is that the United States wants to encourage and promote stronger relationship with the region,” Holness said. “It’s absolutely important it’s not just talk, that there will be real investments.”

A White House statement said that the United States has always been “a good friend to the Caribbean and seeks to build on a proud legacy as the region’s partner of choice.”

Guyana, a CARICOM nation that has criticized the Venezuelan regime and the sixth Caribbean country that voted in favor of a US-backed alternative did not attend.

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