Since the discovery of humungous reserves of sweet light crude off the shores of Guyana in 2015, a sleeping monster has once again reared its ugly head. The Guyana/Venezuela border dispute dates back centuries but was settled by the British through the Arbitral Award of 1899 which handed the disputed territory to Great Britain in what was then British Guiana.
However, in the early 1960s, while Guyana was in enroute to gaining independence from Britain, Venezuelan authorities contended that the Arbitral Award of 1899 is null and void because it was done in a sneaky and deceptive manner. Although Britain rejected the claim and contented that the 1899 award is binding, it still signed the Geneva Agreement, along with LS Forbes Burnham and Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ignacio IRIBARREN BORGES – asserting that, moving forward, the matter should be resolved through peaceful means and dialogue between leaders of Guyana and Venezuela.
Since the Geneva Agreement was signed in 1966 to 2015, Guyana and Venezuela shared a friendly bond and good bilateral relations causing the territorial dispute to be almost forgotten.
After the announcement of life-changing reserves of sweet light crude off the shores of Guyana – some of which lie in the disputed territory, the Venezuelan government has renewed its call for negotiating the disputed territory.
Up to yesterday, 30th of September, 2023, the Venezuela Government, currently led by Nicolas Maduro, maintained that it will pursue peaceful means and dialogue to resolving the conflict. But a statement released from the Venezuelan government website today, 1st of October, 2023, contains some flagrant and alarming use of language which are definitely a cause for concern to the Guyanese people and the Guyana Government.
In the statement, Venezuela accuses Guyana of bowing to transnational US based company ExxonMobil and ridiculously claimed that the United States government is in the process of setting up a military base in the disputed territory.
While the Venezuelan government and its outbursts has so far been ridiculed as a “barking dog which seldom bites,” and Guyanese has strong confidence that Venezuela is too handicapped and boxed-in to resort to military action, this new statement is bound to at least raise a few eyebrows.
Statements within the text such as “Guyana’s arrogant and hostile position,” “dangerous stimulus to the disruption of regional peace,” “militarization of the disputed area,” and “escalation of a conflict” are likely signs that things are heating up.
The following news article was translated from Venezuelan News Outlet, ACN. Spinoffs the same Press Release was also published by several other Spanish media outlets.
The Venezuelan Government assured this Sunday, October 1, 2023, in a statement, that Guyana’s “hostile position” in refusing dialogue represents “the greatest obstacle” to resolving the territorial dispute that both countries maintain over a territory of 160,000 square kilometers. located west of the Essequibo River.
“Guyana’s arrogant and hostile position, denying dialogue and diplomacy, is the greatest obstacle to reaching a solution within the framework of public international law. The tutelage of transnational companies has become a dangerous stimulus to the disruption of regional peace,” said Venezuela in the writing published on X (formerly Twitter) by Foreign Minister Yván Gil.
The text responds to a statement from the Government of Guyana, published yesterday on the Facebook account of the presidential office, in which it refers to Venezuela’s proposal to hold “a high-level meeting” to continue negotiations, and responds that it does not have any intention to participate in meetings that may represent some evasion of the “just solution” that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will provide.
Guyana’s hostile position is an obstacle to resolving territorial dispute. In this regard, Caracas accuses Guyana of showing itself “as a subordinate government, hostage to the transnational ExxonMobil, which prohibits it from resuming sovereign dialogue with Venezuela and finding the diplomatic path to resolve the territorial controversy of Guayana Esequiba.”
The Government of Nicolás Maduro once again asked to stop “the militarization” of the disputed area which, they have denounced, is taking place after the bidding for oil blocks carried out by Guyana in “maritime areas that are pending delimitation.”
It also asks that Guyana adheres to international legality. Furthermore, he urged Guyana to “adhere to international legality and sit at the negotiating table as obligated by the 1966 Geneva Agreement.”
The Venezuelan Foreign Minister denounced on September 21 before the UN General Assembly that the US Government “intends to militarize” the controversy with Guyana, and assured that the United States “is trying to create a military base” in the disputed territory.
That same day, Maduro urged his Guyanese counterpart, Irfaan Ali, to avoid the “escalation of a conflict” in the area, where – he assured – ExxonMobil has “undue interests”, and accused him of turning his country into his “eagerness to please powerful transnational interests”, in “a branch” of this company.
Subsequently, the Venezuelan president reiterated the invitation to his counterpart from Guyana to hold a “face to face” meeting, in order to resume “peace negotiations” on the territorial controversy.
— Yvan Gil (@yvangil) October 1, 2023