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09 February 2018, 01:55 | Darnell Patrick
Tillerson Believes 'Russian Meddling' in Foreign Elections Difficult to Preempt
Jamaica was the final destination in the US Secretary of State's visit to Latin America and the Caribbean. "We wish the best for the people of Venezuela", he said, adding that Jamaica supports upholding human rights and peace in the region.
Instead, it was Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos who came out swingingagainst Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
The US intelligence community concluded in a report released in 2017 that Russian Federation conducted a campaign aimed at helping President Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election.
Amid fevered negotiations being held in the Dominican Republic between the Venezuelan government and a faction of the opposition, the administration in Caracas is expected to announce the date of presidential elections in the coming hours or days.
Both leaders also emphasized their focus on returning democracy as well as free and fair elections to Venezuela.
On Monday, Maduro accused Tillerson of overplaying his hand by trying to build support for a damaging economic embargo against the country.
Tillerson would not be drawn on Trump's threat to cut aid if countries fail to halt the northward flow of drugs, but he warned "our expectation is that Colombia will make significant progress".
"Today China is getting a foothold in Latin America".
Holness, at the same time, noted that Jamaica was about to severely reduce, or even end, its flirtation with Venezuela's huge oil reserves which the Nicholas Maduro Administration has been accused as dangling as a carrot for the Caribbean Community's (Caricom) support of his Administration, and establish new links with the United States to fill the void.
Tillerson made it clear that the USA government is on to the Kremlin's antics.
But those sanctions seem to have had little effect on changing policies in Caracas. "China's state-led model of development is reminiscent of the past".
Both men told reporters the issue of Venezuelan oil had come up, and Holness said that Jamaica was a supporter of democracy no matter what, and could weather an embargo with U.S. help.
"That is an extraordinary level of defeatism coming from the secretary of state when it comes to an attempt by a foreign power to manipulate USA elections", Murphy said.
"I don't know if I would say we are better prepared because the Russians will adapt as well", Tillerson told Fox News Tuesday. "So I'm not a believer in that".
USA officials have said they won't object to Maduro's presence at the summit because it would give him a chance to hear from regional leaders critical of his authoritarian path.
"There would be no supply if there's no demand and no demand if not for supply, and Colombia does not laugh at this very important issue because it's a matter of national security", Santos said.
Trump, however, asserted in November that he doesn't believe Russian Federation interfered in the election ― because Putin said so. "Colombia isn't making fun, it's not laughing at the United States..."
"We, now, hardly import oil from Venezuela", he said.
Santos said no country had suffered more than Colombia during a four-decade war on drugs, which in his country also fed and was fed by civil conflict with leftist rebels.
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