The Jamaica Peace Council is deeply concerned about the inclusion of our country as part of the five-nation, six-day tour of Latin America and the Caribbean by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, which has been openly declared as a mission to consolidate support for regime change in Venezuela.
Our concern is heightened by the fact that the other countries he is visiting — Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and Colombia — have been unconditionally carrying out the 'bidding' of the Trump Administration in the Organisation of American States against Venezuela, at the United Nations in support of the relocation of Israel's capital to Jerusalem, and in other regional bodies where they are members. The unconditional pro-Trump US policy stance is the trademark of the current governments of these nations. We are concerned that Jamaica's Government is being considered in the same light as the governments of these other nations.
Jamaica has had a long and rich tradition of upholding inviolable principles which pre-date our Independence and transcend political administrations. It is on this foundation that both former prime ministers P J Patterson (People's National Party) and Bruce Golding (Jamaica Labour Party) find equally disturbing the vacillation of the current Administration on these time-honoured principles.
We are also disturbed because of the US president's recent racist slur against all African nations, El Salvador, and Haiti, from which Tillerson has not distanced himself. People of colour worldwide have not recovered from this vicious attack on our dignity. So, to have President Trump's emissary visit Jamaica at this time — to enlist our support in ousting the leadership of a nation which consists mainly of people of colour — is like rubbing pepper and salt in an open wound. Indeed, former Commander Hugo Chávez, when he visited Jamaica, the first of five times, in talking with a Jamaican child about how proud he was of his African roots, said: “When we were children we were told that we had a motherland, Spain; however, we discovered later that one of our greatest motherlands of all is Africa. We love Africa, and every day we are much more aware of the roots we had in Africa. Racism is very characteristic of imperialism and capitalism. Hate against me has a lot to do with racism, because of my big mouth and curly hair, and I am so proud to have this mouth and this hair because it's African.”
Our current and precarious economic situation, which has left us deep in the clutches of the international finance capital led by the International Monetary Fund, should not be traded in for the 'carrot and stick' policy which has always been a part of the US's arsenal and is now being used to garner support in our region for regime change in Venezuela.
Therefore, we call on the current Administration to defend the UN principle enshrined under Article 36/103, titled Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States, when the US secretary of state visits Jamaica on Wednesday. Our Government must let him know that we are proud of our African heritage and we are not for sale. Our Government must let him know that we stand with the Government and people of Venezuela as they exercise their sovereign right to self-determination.
Like Bolivar, Jose Marti, Marcus Garvey, Chávez, Nelson Mandela, and Fidel Castro, we stand in support of the people who struggle for a better life and for peace and solidarity without domination by any foreign power.
Jamaica Peace Council