Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, has given the assurance that Guyana will continue to assist the people of Venezuela. He was responding to a statement made by that country’s Ambassador to Guyana, H. E. Reina Diaz, during a recent press conference in Georgetown.
Minister Greenidge pointed out that, “Guyana, as a matter of routine, stands ready to assist or support all CARICOM [Caribbean Community] States and immediate neighbours, where appropriate, when asked.”
The Foreign Minister noted that, so far, the Venezuelan Government had not approached Guyana for help with its current internal crisis. Further, in spite of the difficulties that the two countries had experienced with regards to the border controversy due to Venezuela’s continuous claim to two-thirds of Guyana’s territory, the two Governments routinely utilise direct diplomatic channels to communicate through Ambassadorial exchanges or the use of Notes Verbale to send messages and requests.
In 2016, Guyana convened a meeting of non-governmental organisations and the private sector in the country to consider the deteriorating conditions in Venezuela. However, at the time, the Venezuelan Government was not open to receiving any material assistance that was being offered at the time.
In this regard, in a bid to determine the seriousness of the Venezuelan request for assistance, on Thursday 25 May, Ambassador Diaz was invited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she stated that her country could benefit from Guyana’s support at international fora.
Foreign Minister Greenidge said he would communicate Venezuela’s request and that he was certain it would be given the level of attention it deserved by the Guyana Government. He observed that Guyana’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Dr Riyad Insanally, is the current Chair of the CARICOM group. Guyana was of the view that it was both desirable and appropriate to discuss the crisis at the OAS. Moreover, Minister Greenidge urged dialogue among all stakeholders in Venezuela, including the Government and Opposition.
Also, the Foreign Minister revealed that, already, Guyana was one of the Members of the Community of Caribbean and Latin American States (CELAC) that met to try to resolve Venezuela’s deteriorating situation as well as the one between its Government and Opposition. Guyana had done the same with another regional body, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
The Guyanese Foreign Minister further stressed that any support from his Government for the people of Venezuela did not indicate automatic agreement with the Venezuelan Government’s policies and its mode of implementing those. Rather, Guyana could provide more effective assistance if it dealt fairly with all sides.
“The Government of Guyana has no desire to compound the problems of Venezuela by joining one or other of the protagonists,” he stated.