Jamaica to Temporarily Close Its Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela (And Prime Minister Holness to Meet with President Trump in Florida This Week)

Jamaica’s relationship with Venezuela (generally a warm one during the Chavez era and for decades prior to that) has become increasingly difficult and complex since the political crisis there, which is as yet unresolved. There has been much controversy (and internal disagreement) among Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states, and Jamaica’s Opposition has spoken loudly about Jamaica’s vote at the Organization of American States (OAS) and the planned sale of Venezuela’s 49 per cent stake in the state-owned oil company, Petrojam. A bill introduced in Parliament to compulsorily purchase the shares was approved last month.

Once a warm relationship: former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (left) greets Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay during a visit to Jamaica in September 2015. (Photo: Paul Clarke/Gleaner)

And this morning, news broke that President Trump will be meeting with political leaders from Jamaica, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Saint Lucia this Friday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. This and the following press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will surely spark more controversy here!

March 20, 2019

Temporary Closure of Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela

The Government of Jamaica has announced that its Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela will be temporarily closed with effect April 1.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith, said: “As we have previously stated publicly, we have been monitoring circumstances related to the operations of the Embassy, both in the wider context of our diplomatic representation review, as well as in the particular circumstances of the mission in Caracas. The Ministry along with its Embassy have been experiencing significant challenges in the operations at the post for some time, and temporary closure is now the practical solution.”

The Minister reminded that over the past two years, the Ministry has been reviewing its resident diplomatic presence overseas due to the ever-changing global environment and the emergence of new patterns of trade and investment as well as technical and economic cooperation.

The Foreign Minister noted, “Later this year, there will be further announcements regarding Jamaica’s diplomatic representation overseas, including openings where we believe our presence could be mutually beneficial to us and our host country.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade further advised that during the period of closure of the Embassy in Caracas, the management of Jamaica’s relations with Venezuela will be undertaken from the Ministry’s Headquarters in Kingston, as they have largely been done for some time.

Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith (right), addresses the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, at the OAS headquarters in Washington DC in 2017. (Photo: JIS)



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