Venezuela has won its referendum aimed at annexing the Essequibo. Whether they actually won or they rigged it is hard to tell. Venezuela’s National Electorate Council announced that 95% of the voters voted Yes to all five questions.
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A centuries-old cold war between the countries of Guyana and Venezuela is heating up and taking new shape and form. Since the mid-1700’s, then British Guiana and its western neighbor, Venezuela, have traded a war of words, and sometimes even a gunshot or two, over the Essequibo county of Guyana. In 1899, the Paris Award settled the dispute in favor of the British Empire, giving the Essequibo, the region west of the Essequibo river up to the mouth of the Orinoco River, to Guyana. Official borders, which consists of the Schomburgk line between Guyana and Venezuela, were drawn up and boundary markers were placed at the border line between the two countries.
The Brazilian town of Bonfim is the border town with the Guyanese town of Lethem. The two town sports similar architecture. However, Lethem has more businesses than Bonfim. Bonfim is peaceful and small, but it is a beautiful and rapidly growing town.
Every day, hundreds, sometimes thousands, of Brazilians drive over the Takutu River Bridge into the remote border town of Lethem to Guyana’s south. On any given day, you can easily spot about 50 Brazilian cars along Lethem’s Commercial center. Most of them would be parked in front of Chinese stores, some in front of restaurants, and others at hotels.