By Elesha George

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne has added his voice to those of CARICOM leaders who have accused the US of trying to divide member countries, as the election for the Organization of American States (OAS) General Secretary draws near.

In March, former United Nations General Secretary, Maria Fernanda Espinosa of Ecuador, and Hugo de Zela, Peru’s ambassador to the US, will contest the position. They will challenge incumbent Uruguayan politician, Luis Almagro Lemes, who was voted in 33 to 34 in 2015.

However, since the heads of government of Antigua and Barbuda and St Vincent and the Grenadines confirmed their support for Espinosa and nominated her as a candidate, Browne has accused both the US and Canada of “planting various articles” and of “spreading propaganda” which suggests that the two leaders are surrogates for embattled Venezuelan Prime Minister Nicolas Maduro and that Espinosa is Maduro’s candidate.

“That has created some level of friction, hopefully temporary, but when they have to go that low and to say that we’re surrogates of Maduro, I think that is very terrible,” Browne said.

He agrees with his counterparts that a meeting chaired by US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, last Wednesday in Jamaica was about dividing the Caribbean by retaining support for Almagro, who has devoted efforts towards promoting OAS backing for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

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