Venezuela’s ally Saint Lucia plans to end visa-free entry for Venezuelans


CASTRIES, Saint Lucia (Reuters) – The prime minister of the small Caribbean country of Saint Lucia has asked the immigration ministry to weigh imposing visa requirements on visitors from Venezuela, in a protest against a ally that has been his key energy. benefactor.

Allen Chastanet said earlier this week he was “deeply concerned” about the situation in Venezuela, where months of protests against unpopular President Nicolas Maduro have led some regional allies to turn their backs on one of the world’s leading producers. of petroleum.

“I have asked the Department of Immigration to consider imposing a visa restriction on Venezuelans coming to Saint Lucia,” he said at a press conference on Monday. Currently, Venezuelan nationals are free to travel to the island without a visa.

Saint Lucia joined the Venezuelan-backed regional integration organizations ALBA and Petrocaribe in 2013 and maintains close relations with Caracas.

Saint Lucia’s ties to Petrocaribe have provided it with a steady, discounted supply of petroleum products from Venezuela, but it has not received any crude this year, according to domestic trade reports from the Venezuelan state-owned oil company. PDVSA.

Chastanet also criticized the Maduro government for not respecting the rule of law, adding that the chaotic situation in Venezuela poses a security threat to the region.

Anti-government protests have rocked Venezuela for four months, killing more than 120 people.

However, the protests fizzled as a controversial Constituent Assembly, which has been criticized around the world as a sign that Venezuela is turning into a dictatorship, began operating earlier this month.

Reporting by Sarah Peter; Editing by Phil Berlowitz


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