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Does Venezuela Really Have a Legitimate Claim to the Essequibo?

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24th of October, 2023. Guyana, South America. GSA News. Guyana News.

Last updated: October 24, 2023 at 14:35 pm

On the 3rd of December, 2023, Venezuelans will vote on a referendum put forward by the Maduro regime to annex the Essequibo Region of Guyana into part of Venezuela. This will make it legal according Venezuelan laws for Venezuela to establish a military presence in the Essequibo Region. Opinion polls suggest that most Venezuelans are in favor of annexing the Essequibo and the referendum will very likely be won.

While the tyrannical Maduro dictatorship regime and its media cheerleaders are beating the drums of war, the question arises: is this a complete act of tyranny or does Venezuela really have a legitimate claim to the Essequibo? From a patriotic standpoint, I’d say, “No. Venezuela has no claim to the Essequibo.” However, from a neutral standpoint, I’d have to admit that it does.

Dating back about 200 years ago, the British and the Spanish colonial powers had a territorial dispute west of Guyana. This was settled through the 1899 Paris Award which handed the current Essequibo county to British Guiana, and official borders were drawn up – which exist to present day.

However, as British Guiana was in labor pains to give birth to an independent Guyana, the Venezuelan government renewed its claim of the Essequibo positing that the 1899 Paris Award had been done in a fraudulent manner.

In the early 1960s, Venezuela engaged the United Kingdom with the argument that the 1899 Paris Award was fraudulent and therefore invalid. The British maintained that the 1899 Award was valid. Nevertheless, yielding to pressure from Venezuela, they signed the Geneva Agreement of 1966 which provides for a series of procedures for settling the dispute. L.S Forbes Burnham and a representative from the Venezuelan government also signed the Geneva Agreement.

This Geneva Agreement of 1966, in a nutshell, reopened the border dispute. Presently, Guyana has submitted its case to the International Court of Justice but Venezuela has refused to participate. The case is currently being tried by the ICJ which asserted that it does have jurisdiction over the matter. Venezuela says it will not respect the ruling of the ICJ.

In conclusion, Venezuela’s claim to the Essequibo is grounded in military might, tyranny, and aggression, and not respecting international laws and treaties. The current Maduro regime is capitalizing on Guyana’s poor military capabilities by flexing its military muscles and using threats of a military incursion into Guyana. The Spanish knew that they couldn’t win a war against the British, so they stayed quiet for over 160 years during British rule. However, after the British Empire cut its ties with Guyana, Caracas now views the Essequibo as an easy take over.

It’s time for Guyana to act wisely.

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