For months leading up to their infamous December 3 sham referendum, the Venezuelan government has been threatening to annex the Essequibo while ramping up troops and military equipment close to the border with Guyana. Even after CARICOM brokered peace talks and the signing of the Argyle agreement by Presidents of both countries, satellite images, international intelligence, and other hard evidence show that Venezuela has not slowed its military advances on the Essequibo, nor has it retracted its claim to it. In fact, right now, the official Venezuelan map includes the Essequibo as part of Venezuela – a flagrant move by the Maduro regime which can hopefully be rolled back after a change of Venezuelan government. But whether Maduro will even allow free and fair elections in Venezuela is highly doubtful.
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Under the Geneva Agreement, the following were pursued by Guyana and Venezuela: Four (4) years (1966-1970) of meeting through a Mixed Commission involving bilateral talks between Guyana and Venezuela, a twelve (12) year moratorium (with the purpose of allowing both governments to promote cooperation and understanding while the border claim was in abeyance) and twenty years (1989 – 2017) of the Good Offices Process, under the aegis of the United Nations Secretary General (a process that allowed for bilateral discussions on a resolution of the controversy in the presence of the Secretary General’s personal representative).
While it does not guarantee that other South American nations will not go to war with each other for whatever reasons, Guyana and Venezuela has, yesterday, in a historic development, agreed to do their part in keeping South America a zone of peace. The agreement was reached during a CARICOM brokered meeting aimed at promoting peace between the two neighboring countries. It was mediated by leaders from both CELAC and CARICOM.
The Venezuelan military has announced, on the 30th of November, 2023, that it is constructing a new naval base 70 km away from Guyana. When Venezuela’s Admiral Neil Villamizar Sánchez, Chief Commander of the Bolivarian Navy of Venezuela, made the announcement on X (formerly Twitter), he spoke in the context of “recovering” the disputed Essequibo county of Guyana. According to Neil Sánchez, the new naval base is part of a broader strategy. It will strengthen maritime logistics, especially in the Orinoco Delta.
On December 3, 2023, in a press conference in Brazil, Lula Da Silva rebuked Nicolas Maduro for his aggression towards Guyana and threat of invasion, and also made fun of the December 3 referendum which sought popular support in annexing the Essequibo county of Guyana.
Nicolas Maduro is looking for two things right now: a war and the Essequibo. But whether he wants a war or the Essequibo more is not clear. Venezuela is more than 4 times bigger than Guyana with immense unexplored land space full of gold, diamond, oil, and minerals, so why is Nicolas Maduro so desperate to clip off two-thirds Guyana’s territory?
Maria Coria Machado, Venezuela’s political front runner and leader of the main opposition party which is expected to challenge Nicolas Maduro for the Presidency in October 2024, has condemned Nicolas Maduro’s December 3 referendum which seeks public support in annexing the Essequibo. But she has chosen her words very carefully and wisely. On one hand, she seems to want to send a message of peace and respect for international law to the Guyanese Government and people, but at the same time, she has to avoid being seen as a traitor to the Venezuelan people who were erroneously being taught since primary school that “the Essequibo belongs to Venezuela.”
Brazil’s largest and most reputable media house, Globo, has officially confirmed on the afternoon of Tuesday, November, 29th, 2023, that Brazilian military reinforcements were being sent to the border between Venezuela and Brazil and Pacaraima to protect the citizens of Brazil in the event of a war between Venezuela and Guyana, or if Venezuela invades Guyana with low to no resistance.
As of today, 26th of November, 2023, exactly one week is left before the Maduro Regime executes is referendum whereby Venezuelan citizens go to the polls to vote on whether or not they want the 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.