Blaming the United States for orchestrating regime change in Venezuela, the political leader of the Movement for Social Justice David Abdulah says he is hoping that world powers and Caricom can bring about a peaceful resolution to the Venezuelan crisis.
Speaking at a press conference held at the MSJ's headquarters in St Joseph Village, San Fernando on Tuesday, Abdulah said T&T will feel the dire consequences if civil war breaks out in neighbouring Venezuela.
He said mass evacuation of Venezuelans into T&T will make refugee status possible as international conventions dictate that refugees can get protection in the event of war.
He noted that the United States was backing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó who took to the streets with a small contingent of heavily armed troops early Tuesday in a risky attempt to lead a military uprising and oust socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.
"We have said that the developing situation in Venezuela will precipitate a greater influx as people fleeing violence will come here. Civil war will have a negative impact on us and we will have boatloads of people seeking asylum here," he added.
Abdulah also said the United States has interfered in other parts of Latin America, Brazil, Honduras, Paraguay, Syria and Iraq by helping to put leaders in place which they could control. h He noted that
Maduro continues to have great support from the people in Venezuela.
"We are opposed to the US influenced regime changes and we are calling for a peaceful dialogue to quell this crisis," Abdulah added.
He reiterated that the T&T government's policy on registering Venezuelans which will begin on May 30, was badly rolled out as it leaves a long window for people to flock to the islands.
Saying the Venezuelan crisis is a worrying situation, Abdulah said T&T must put systems in place to ensure that there is no upheaval locally.
On the issue of May Day celebrations today, Abdulah said the Joint Trade Union Movement will have its annual march in San Fernando. He said the MSJ will be joining the march and seeking to show solidarity with the tens of thousands of workers who faces the inequalities caused by neo-liberalism. He said unregulated capitalism has contributed to growing inequalities in T&T with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
He noted that austerity programmes have also negatively impacted on the lives of the average citizen.
"Thousands of workers are unable to make ends meet and are struggling to put food on the table," he said.
MSJ youth chairman Angelo Hart also lamented that the education system was not serving the needs of the society. He lamented that over 2,000 graduate doctors were currently unemployed while the country continues to suffer from a shortage of specialist doctors.
On Tuesday, Guaidó who declared himself interim president in January, called for more members of the military to help him end Mr Maduro's "usurpation" of power.
Backed by some army troops, Guaido called for the people of Venezuela to take to the streets to overthrow Maduro.
The military continues to back Maduro despite dozens of countries, including the US and most of Latin America, recognising Guaidó as Venezuela's rightful leader.
- by Radhica De Silva