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Venezuela protests trouble Kamla, Dookeran

Tuesday, February 25 2014

Deadly anti-government protests in Venezuela, and the potential for harm to befall citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, are of “great concern” to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who yesterday asked Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran to consider “stand-by arrangements for any Trinis who may be endangered.”

Persad-Bissessar made the request of Dookeran during a press conference in Beijing yesterday afternoon shortly after her arrival at the Villa 18, Diaoyutai State Guest House, where she is staying as a guest of the Government of the People’s Republic of China during an Official Visit to commemorate the 40th anniversary of bi-lateral relations between both countries.

Persad-Bissessar also told the TT media contingent that being located so close to Venezuela, “whatever is happening (there), we will continue to monitor and treat with as we see fit. With respect to our nationals in Venezuela, I think we can work together Minister (Dookeran) to ensure that we guarantee the safety of our nationals in Venezuela.”

Also expressing concern about the on-going situation in the South American nation, Dookeran said arrangements had already been made with State-owned Caribbean Airlines to “be on stand-by for any possibilities”.

However, as of midday yesterday in Beijing, (shortly after midnight in TT), the Foreign Affairs Ministry had not made any decisions regarding evacuation of TT nationals from Venezuela.

Dookeran also told reporters Government is monitoring developments there “very closely” and has called for “dialogue and mediation consistent with the Caricom position and the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) position.” “We know the situation is getting tense and right now we’re also in touch with the OAS (Organisation of American States) to see what initiative they can take to have a collective dialogue process put in place to de-escalate the violence,” the Foreign Affairs Minister stated.

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