Hours after Venezuela raised an objection to Guyana’s auctioning of new oil blocks on Tuesday, the Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) Luis Almargo, decried what he described as the “intimidatory tactics” by Venezuela, and said Guyana must preserve its territorial integrity.
“We vehemently decry imtimidatory tactics that seek to undermine the principle of good neighborliness. We recognize the right of Guyana to welcome investors. Guyana must preserve its territorial integrity and security by addressing its case with Venezuela at the ICJ,” Mr. Almargo said in a statement.
The decades old border controversy has seen various acts of aggression over the years by Venezeula.
In 2013, a Venezuelan gunboat intercepted a US-operated ship which was carrying out surveying works in the Essequibo river for Anadarko Petroleum, in 2018, Venezuela again intercepted a ship operated by ExxonMobil offshore Guyana.
The 2021 seizure of two Guyanese fishing boats near the Waini river and the sighting of two fighter Venezuela fighter jets in Guyana airspace also in 2021 heightened tensions.
But despite the threat and aggression, Guyana has sought a peaceful resolution to the claims laid by Venezuela by accepting the decision of the United Nations to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice which is currently hearing the matter.
In 2018, Guyana asked the International Court of Justice to confirm that the border which was laid down in an 1899 arbitration between Venezuela and the then-colony of British Guiana is valid.
Venezuela, while boycotting much of the proceedings, tried to stop the case from moving forward by arguing the United Kingdom should be involved in the case as Guyana was a British colony in 1899.
The International Court has dismissed that position by Venezuela.