Venezuela has Laid Territorial Claims on Guyana

The claims are based on the fact that, during the colonial period, Essequibo was under Spanish rule along with Venezuela.

07/12/2023 - 16:34

Venezuela has recently strengthened its claims over the Essequibo region, encompassing a significant part of neighboring Guyana, as reported by Sarbaz.kz, citing Voice of America.

The Essequibo region, a sparsely populated area slightly smaller than the Mangistau region, covers two-thirds of Guyana's western part, situated along the northern Atlantic coast of South America between Venezuela to the west and Suriname to the east. Both Venezuela and Guyana share borders with Brazil to the south. Venezuela has long claimed this region, despite its recognition by the international community as part of British Guiana and later an independent republic of Guyana.

Photo: X

The dispute escalated significantly after ExxonMobil, in 2015, confirmed commercially viable crude oil reserves in the territorial waters off Essequibo's coast within Guyana's territory.

However, President Nicolas Maduro's government has had little support from its regional neighbors or intergovernmental organizations.

Venezuela's claim, backed by a national referendum in its favor on Sunday, drew criticism from South American governments, the Caribbean Basin, and a warning from the International Court. On Friday, the court ruled that Venezuela must refrain from taking any actions that could alter Guyana's current control over its territory.

In recent months, Venezuela has heightened tensions by deploying military equipment along its border with Guyana and announcing plans to build an airstrip in the region.

Photo: Demerara

Over the weekend, Guyana's President Mohamed Irfaan Ali stated that his country has no intention of ceding any territory to Venezuela and urged Maduro's government to moderate its behavior.

"I want to tell Venezuela that this is an opportunity for them to demonstrate maturity, an opportunity for them to show responsibility, and we call on them once again to join us... allowing the rule of law to operate and determine the outcome of this dispute," Ali said in an address to his fellow citizens.

On Sunday, Caracas conducted a referendum in which the Venezuelan people were asked if they believed the country should declare Essequibo a Venezuelan state. Maduro's government claimed that 10.5 million votes were cast, with 95% in favor of declaring Essequibo part of Venezuela.

Maduro's government's claims over Essequibo have garnered minimal support from other regional leaders, and major regional intergovernmental organizations have released statements criticizing the decision to hold the referendum.

The Organization of American States rejected Venezuela's referendum upon its announcement, emphasizing in a statement: "We condemn this improper use of a referendum as it is illegal under the 1966 Geneva Agreement."

Similarly, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) cautioned that while the positive vote in the referendum holds no legal standing in international law, it could be interpreted as an endorsement of Essequibo's annexation by military force.

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