Venezuela’s Maduro Rejects Haiti Military Intervention at CELAC Summit

Talks at the VIII CELAC Summit included discussions on regional integration and a renewed call to end unilateral coercive measures.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro participates in a discussion at the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. (Prensa Presidential)

Mexico City, Mexico, March 5, 2024 ( – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro spoke out against efforts to subject Haiti to further military interventions during the VIII Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We do not agree with a disguised invasion of any sort,” declared Maduro on Friday during a discussion about the ongoing security challenges facing Haiti.

“The solution is not another invasion […]. The solution is for Latin America and the Caribbean, to go and embrace [the country], accompany it, truly help it so that Haiti can take its own path and implement its own model,” he stated emphatically before assembled regional leaders.

The discussion was prompted by the participation of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres at the summit where he called for support for the UN Security Council-authorized multinational security support mission.

Guterres issued a plea to CELAC member-states to follow through on the commitments on the sidelines of the recent G20 meeting in Brazil.

“I welcome these efforts, but much more must be done to secure the deployment of this mission without further delay and a political solution that could resolve the country’s fundamental problems,” said Guterres.

The UN Security Council passed Resolution 2699 on October 2, 2023 authorizing under the UN Charter’s Chapter VII a “Multinational Security Support” mission that would see armed forces intervene in Haiti under the pretense of tackling the Caribbean country’s security crisis.

Last week, news reports emerged that Kenya and the caretaker government in Haiti had signed a formal security agreement that would see 1,000 Kenyan police officers deployed. 

Solidarity activists have criticized the plan as yet another effort at the foreign occupation of Haiti. 

Writing for Haiti Liberte in October, Travis Ross, who also serves as the co-editor of the Canada-Haiti Information Project, argued that the Kenyan security mission could be the precursor to a years-long occupation of the country.

“While the MSS’s purported purpose is to combat gangs, the primary goal is to facilitate a controlled changeover from [unelected interim Haitian Prime Minister Ariel] Henry’s embattled regime to another transitional government also beholden to Washington,” wrote Ross. 

Despite Maduro’s protest, CELAC’s 100-point Declaration of Kingstown included text that called for the “prompt and effective implementation” of UN Security Council Resolution 2699. The text of the declaration nonetheless also urged a “Haitian-led solution” to the ongoing security crisis that has seen a breakdown in the rule of law throughout the country following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021.

Haitian politics have been marked by instability since the US-backed coup against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004 which was heavily denounced by then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. For his part, Henry has acted as de facto ruler since Moïse’s assassination and refused to call new elections.

Haiti’s security challenges and political instability were one of the major topics of conversation at the summit, which also included discussions on regional integration and a renewed call to end unilateral coercive measures. 

Another point of contention was CELAC’s statement on the genocide in Gaza being carried out by Israel, an issue championed by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Ultimately only 24 of the 33 countries signed the final statement on Gaza that called for an immediate ceasefire.

During the debate, Maduro once again highlighted the sacrifice of Aaron Bushnell, the US airman who self-immolated outside the Israeli embassy in Washington in order to bring attention to the plight of the Palestinian people. 

In addition to the participation of the presidents of Venezuela and Brazil, this year’s gathering of leaders at the summit counted on the attendance of the presidents of Colombia, Gustavo Petro; Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel; Honduras, Xiomara Castro; and Bolivia, Luis Arce; alongside Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, who served as host. 

Venezuela’s Maduro and Foreign Minister Yván Gil held several bilateral encounters on the margins of the summit. 

Gil and Mexican counterpart Alicia Bárcena signed a deal concerning migration. Though the details were not made public, Caracas reported that the agreement was in the framework of the “Return to the Homeland” plan which aims to facilitate the return of Venezuelan migrants from other Latin American countries.

The CELAC summit went on to include the rotation of leadership. Honduras will now hold the Pro Tempore Presidency of the regional body.

“The problems and differences among this bloc’s countries must be resolved among ourselves without external interference or pressure, using dialogue as a tool, and always thinking about regional well-being and the self-determination of peoples,” said Honduran President Xiomara Castro.

CELAC was formally founded in 2011 under the leadership of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez but was marginalized after the election of right-wing figures throughout the continent who worked to sabotage regional integration initiatives. The body underwent a resurgence under the leadership of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador who successfully held a high-level summit following years of inactivity.

CELAC, which brings together all the countries in the Americas save for the United States and Canada, stands as a rival body to the Organization of American States (OAS), which has been frequently accused of advancing the interests of Washington in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Edited by Ricardo Vaz in Caracas.