Guyana slams new Venezuelan law and latest plan to annex Essequibo

Guyana slams new Venezuelan law and latest plan to annex Essequibo

The Government of Guyana has put Venezuela, the Caribbean and Latin American region, the international community on notice that it will not countenance the annexation, seizure or occupation of any part of its sovereign territory.

The warning from Guyana comes in wake of the Venezuelan President, Nicholas Maduro, signing into law legislation for the defence of Guyana’s Essequibo region, which makes up two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. The new law claims Guyana’s Essequibo as a Venezuelan state and has declared that residents of Essequibo will be able to participate in the next Venezuelan elections. The Venezuelan law also prohibits the issuance of maps of Venezuela that do not include Guyana’s Essequibo region.

In a statement, the Guyana Government said the attempt by Venezuela to annex Guyana’s sovereign territory and make it part of Venezuela is an egregious violation of the most fundamental principles of international law enshrined in the United Nations Charter, the Charter of the Organisation of American States and customary international law.

The Government said the move by Venezuela also contradicts the letter and spirit of the Joint Declaration of Argyle for Dialogue and Peace between Guyana and Venezuela agreed to during the December 14, 2023 meeting between the Presidents of the two countries in St Vincent and
the Grenadines.

The Government has described the latest move by Venezuela as “unlawful”, adding that it calls into question Venezuela’s obligation to abide by the principles of the Argyle Declaration.

The Guyana Government reminded that it is as a result of the 1966 Geneva Agreement, to which Venezuela and Guyana are parties, that the International Court of Justice has ruled that it has jurisdiction to make a decision on the case brought before it by Guyana regarding the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award which definitively settled the land boundary between the two countries.

The Government noted that the International Court’s decision will be final and binding on both parties, and if Venezuela wants to contest title to the territory in question, the proper forum is the International Court of Justice.

The Government has also noted that it has taken note of the “offensive and undignified statements” made by President Maduro about the President of Guyana, Irfaan Ali.

The Government of Guyana said It is unfortunate that the commitment made at Argyle to “the pursuance of good neighborliness, peaceful coexistence, and the unity of Latin America and the Caribbean” is now again seriously threatened by President Maduro’s words and latest actions.

President Irfaan Ali and President Nicholas Maduro exchanged gifts in St. Vincent one month ago as the two attended a meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. President Ali at the time declared the exchange of gifts as “a peace offering”.

The two leaders met in St. Vincent back in December as tensions soared between them as Venezuela stepped up its claims and rhetoric about the Essequibo region and advanced its plans to annex Guyana’s territory.

The international community has warned Venezuela against taking any action that could threaten the peace of the region.

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