As of today, 26th of November, 2023, exactly one week is left before the Maduro Regime executes its referendum whereby Venezuelan citizens go to the polls to vote on whether or not they want their government to annex the Essequibo county of Guyana into Venezuelan territory. The Venezuelan military has been activated and put on full alert. Its mandate is to “defend the Essequibo” after the presumably successful December 3 referendum.
Around the 20th of November, 2023, Venezuelan officials announced that a mock referendum was “successful” although they did not divulge figures to back up their claim. They said that, based on the results of the mock referendum, they are sure that the December 3 referendum will be successful, empowering the Maduro Regime to ratify its claim of the Essequibo and take measures to secure it.
Faced with the threat of a Venezuelan military incursion into Guyana, the Irfaan Ali led administration is scrambling to put a stop to the December 3 referendum through various diplomatic channels. Guyana has petitioned the ICJ to make provisional measures that prevent Venezuela from holding the referendum, but Venezuela maintains that the referendum is an internal affair over which the ICJ has no jurisdiction.
The Guyanese Government appealed to Brazil’s President Lula da Silva to help stop Nicolas Maduro from annexing the Essequibo. Lula sent a confidential envoy, Celso Amorim, to meet with Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, on November 21st, 2023. On the 22nd of November 2023, Brazil’s Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira stated that Brazil had requested Venezuela and Guyana’s governments to pursue a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
“Brazil encouraged all other countries to seek mutual understanding and resolve disputes diplomatically and peacefully. I emphasized that Brazil advocates negotiations, agreements, and arbitration, with a preference for international courts whenever feasible,” noted the foreign minister, highlighting Brazil’s own history of territorial disputes with neighboring nations.
According to GLOBO, the president of Guyana, Irfaan Ali, asked President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for the Brazilian government to dissuade Maduro from his intention to advance on the country’s territory. Amorim said that the defense of the annexation of the Essequibo is being done in such a way that “it leaves the feeling that the campaign is getting out of control and, therefore, anything could happen.” Amorim went to warn Nicolás Maduro’s government about the dangers of the referendum, but stopped short of requesting that the referendum not be held. The Maduro Regime is marching full steam ahead with the referendum.
Brazil’s weak stance on the Venezuela/Guyana border controversy raises suspicions that Lula might be giving Venezuela the green light to invade Guyana. In an upcoming article, we’ll talk about about how Maduro’s proposal to return the Pirara area in Region 9 to Brazil after seizing the Essequibo could incentivize Lula to either support Maduro or turn a blind eye to the conflict. Be sure to sign up to our mailing list (above) and like and follow our Facebook Page to stay informed.