St Lucia to impose visa restrictions on Venezuelans

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CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) — The St Lucia government says it is considering imposing visa restrictions on Venezuelans visiting the island as a result of the political situation in the South American country where opposition forces are seeking to remove President Nicolas Maduro from power.

President Nicolas Maduro

“I don’t think that we should make it any easier than the logistics already have for Venezuelans to come here,” Prime Minister Allen Chastanet told a news conference, making reference to the increasing number of Venezuela nationals in prison here.

Chastanet said he has asked the Ministry of Immigration to prepare a document in relation to the visa restrictions for consideration by Cabinet.

“Barring any impediment, we will impose it,” Chastanet said, adding that he remained “deeply concerned” about the security threat to St Lucia and the region from the Venezuela situation.

“If in fact the government is continuing to struggle to maintain law and order in Venezuela, we have seen an increase in the production of drugs coming out of Colombia, people are short of cash and therefore people are bringing drugs and bringing arms to sell in St Lucia and other Caribbean Islands,” Chastanet said.

However, he reiterated St Lucia’s position against foreign intervention in Venezuela.

United States President, Donald Trump, said last Friday that he would not rule out a “military option” to quell the chaos in the South American country.

“St Lucia has always been in the position that we would not support any foreign intervention in Venezuela whether by the United States or anybody else – inside this hemisphere or outside this hemisphere,” Chastanet told reporters.

“I had a long talk with my Ambassador and my Minister of Foreign Affairs. I think that as a hemisphere we have failed,” Chastanet said, noting that the failure was in respect of not establishing very clear parameters on solving problems in the region, with the result that continuously situations like the one in Venezuela arise and finding a solution poses a problem.

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