Venezuelans Cast Ballots To Seize Oil Concession In Guyana's Essequibo Province

Venezuelans Cast Ballots To Seize Oil Concession In Guyana’s Essequibo Province

2 minutes, 37 seconds Read

Venezuelans Cast Ballots To Seize Oil Concession In Guyana's Essequibo Province

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro addresses supporters at a rally on the day of the referendum. Image: REUTERS


Venezuelans cast ballots to seize oil concession in Guyana’s Essequibo province.

The people of Venezuela have decided to seize sovereignty of an oil-rich region that has been contested with neighboring Guyana for a long time.

A new state in Essequibo was approved by more than 95% of the population, according to officials.

While Venezuela maintains that the area has been a part of their country ever since gaining independence from Spain two centuries ago, Guyana asserts that it was granted to what was then British Guiana in the late 1800s.

A big offshore oil find in 2015 stoked the controversy once again.

Nicolás Maduro, president of Venezuela, declared a “overwhelming victory for ‘Yes’ throughout Venezuela” after the vote.

Approximately one-sixth of Guyana’s population resides in Essequibo, which encompasses 159,500 sq. km (61,600 sq. miles) and accounts for two-thirds of the territory under its authority.

Tensions between the two neighbors have persisted over the region’s status for quite some time.

Britain, Guyana’s colonial authority in the 1800s and 1900s, was granted the land by an international arbitration tribunal in 1899. many administrations in Venezuela have said the verdict was unjust.

No settlement has been found six decades after the issue was first agreed upon.

In 1966, the year Guyana attained independence, Britain and Venezuela agreed to establish a committee with officials from both countries to review the matter.

The 2015 oil find off the coast of Essequibo by the US oil company ExxonMobil prompted the referendum.

Guyana filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2018, seeking to establish its claim to the island.

The case will determine if the 1899 tribunal’s judgement should be upheld. A verdict has not been announced by the ICJ.

To this point, Venezuela has persisted in attending ICJ proceedings despite its denial that the court has jurisdiction over the matter.

When Guyana staged its auction for exploration licenses in the Essequibo waters in September, tensions rose even more.

Voters were asked in the referendum to indicate their support for Venezuela’s claim over Essequibo and their agreement with the government’s rejection of ICJ jurisdiction, among other things.

They were also instructed to support Essequibo’s “incorporation into the map of Venezuelan territory” and to “oppose by all means in accordance with the law” Guyana’s “unilateral” exploitation of the seas off the territory.

More than 95% of voters approved all questions, according to the country’s electoral authority president.

Although Guyana has denounced the vote as an aggressive move towards “annexation,” the International Court of Justice (ICJ) warned Venezuela on Friday against taking any steps that may change the current situation in the Essequibo.

Others have criticized the survey, seeing it as President Nicolás Maduro’s effort to incite nationalist sentiment in the run-up to the 2024 election.

The Venezuelan government has not yet announced its intentions regarding the referendum’s outcome; nonetheless, a violent seizure of the region would provoke a severe reaction from around the world.

One of the most noteworthy developments might be the US decision to impose sanctions once again on Venezuela’s oil exports, which were only partially lifted in October.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *