Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has cancelled his attendance to the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in Bridgetown Barbados. Instead, the Venezuelan government is being represented by its Executive Vice President Jorge Arreaza.
The Vice President arrived in Barbados on Thursday evening.
The Venezuelan President was blasted by Guyana’s President, retired Brigadier David Granger during his speech at the opening of the CARICOM Meeting.
President Granger strongly condemned Venezuela’s latest decree claiming Guyana’s oil rich territorial waters and called on CARICOM to show solidarity with Guyana on the issue.
During his speech, Mr. Granger said Venezuela had become a like a “monkey” on Guyana’s back which has been blocking development in Guyana over the years with its territorial claims.
“Venezuela over the past 50 years, alas, has become regressive and even more aggressive. That country continues to threaten the development of Guyana, a CARICOM member state, both on land and at sea. That country, mindful, of its superior wealth and military and naval strength – and unmindful of the plight of the poor people of one of the world’s smallest and least populated states – has again resorted to intimidation and the threat of the use of force”, President Granger said.
He made it clear that the region must realize that Venezuela’s threat is also a threat to regional integration, adding that “The Decree lays claim to much of the coastline and most of the exclusive economic zone of Guyana. This Decree has dire implications for the entire Region but most particularly, the eastern tier of states – Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.”
The President said the issuance of the Decree by Venezuela is an act of aggression against Guyana’s sovereignty and an assault “on our right to access and to develop our maritime resources. We ask this Conference to affirm its solidarity with Guyana to repudiate this Decree.”
He said he is ready and prepared to meet with the Venezuelan President whenever he is ready for such a meeting.