Former director of UWI Insitute of International Relations Prof Andy Knight has admitted that T&T has found itself in a "serious and dangerous position" by pledging its support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Knight made the comment on CNC3 on Thursday during a panel discussion with Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dennis Moses, former foreign affairs minister Suruj Rambachan and Venezuelan activist Sofia Figueroa-Leon as thousands of Venezuelans have revolted against Maduro, while Juan Guaido declared himself as president.
Knight, commenting on T&T's stance on Maduro as President, said, "I think Trinidad's position looks a little weak to the rest of the world. But then again, they are put in a very serious and a very dangerous position being so close to Venezuela...having a lot of support from Maduro's administration in the past. It's very difficult for the Trinidadian Government to now say that they do not support Maduro. This is a bad situation for the T&T Government."
Knight said there was a need for Maduro and Guaido to de-escalate the problem and come to some kind of mediation.
"The positions are so harder now that it is almost impossible to see that happening," Knight said.
Moses agreed there was a need to de-escalate Venezuela's crisis, stating that "we were at the brink of an abyss as it were" and we should be united as a common front.
He said the Organization of the American States (OAS) as a partial arbiter "had its position confiscated by the actions of the current head of the secretary general (Luis) Almagro because of his temperate stance and insulting and derogatory statements directed at sitting constitutionally elected Heads of States".
Rambachan questioned what actions T&T took to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
"The last thing you want to see is Maduro backed by the army against the people."
Rambachan said instead of T&T taking a leadership position on Caricom, the PNM Government sat by and allowed things to deteriorate, resulting in citizens fleeing their country due to hardships.
Figueroa asked Moses if there was a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, to which he said it was not a "dominant issue". He said what was dominant was a resolution going forward.
Asked if he was worried that T&T's image may come across in a negative light, Moses said the Government was privy to facts.
"It is not a question of T&T being put in a negative light. We solely believe in the rule of law in the need to have good neighbourly relations with countries in our area and beyond... non-interference non-intervention. It must be based on democratic principles."
Moses was asked if he had reached out to Maduro or Guido, he said they have been in contact with Governments of many countries "inclusive of Venezuela."
He said his Government fully supports Maduro and its citizens.
"In no uncertain terms. We have said it over and over and over again. I think we recognise the presidency of President Maduro. We have not come to any other position," Moses insisted.