‘Our ties will be stronger’
By Clint Chan Tack Thursday, March 7 2013
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Our condolences: Under a portrait of Hugo Chavez, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar signs a condolence book at the Venezuelan Embassy, Port-of-Spa...
In a signed letter to Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolas Maduro, Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar yesterday assured him this country’s relationship with the Latin American state would remain strong although its leader, President Hugo Chavez has died.
Her Government would “strengthen even more the ties which bind Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.”
Telling Maduro that the late President left a legacy of strong leadership and unshakeable commitment to his principles, Persad-Bissessar said that like Venezuela’s liberator Simon Bolivar, Chavez lived by the maxim “that when the state is weak and when the results are distantly seen, all men hesitate; opinion is divided, passions rage and the enemy fans these passions in order to win an easy victory because of them.”
Chavez, 58, died on Tuesday after a two-year battle with cancer.
“Death has cut short the life of this committed integrationist who was completely dedicated to the equitable development of his own people and of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean,” the Prime Minister wrote.
Yesterday, she signed a condolence book at the Venezuelan Embassy in Port-of-Spain. In statement issued later by the Office of the Prime Minister, Persad-Bissessar recalled attending the historic inaugural summit of the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Caracas in December 2011. “I recall his receptivity to TT’s proposal that the CELAC troika be expanded to a quartet to include a Caribbean voice,” she stated.
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran, who is attending an ECLAC conference in Colombia, also issued a statement on Chavez, saying, “TT has lost a great friend.” Cabinet is expected to decide today who will attend the state funeral for Chavez in Caracas tomorrow.
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday said while it was common knowledge that Chavez had been ailing for some time, “we were nonetheless taken aback by the news of his death.”
“Hugo Chavez has, without a doubt, made an impression on our world,” he said.
Underscoring US President Barack Obama’s statement on Tuesday that America supports the people of Venezuela, the US Embassy in Port-of-Spain noted that the Latin American country would have to elect a new president. “Part of moving forward will be the election of a new president, which should be carried out in accordance with Venezuela’s commitments to the hemisphere’s high democratic standards,” the US Embassy said.