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Montevideo, March 3rd 2024 - 23:26 UTC



Essequibo: Guyanese president hopes Maduro will not act recklessly

Saturday, December 9th 2023 - 10:26 UTC
Full article 23 comments
Ali hopes... but Maduro is said to be planning a trip to Russia. To get military help from Putin? Ali hopes... but Maduro is said to be planning a trip to Russia. To get military help from Putin?

Guyanese President Irfaan Ali said that Venezuela's latest actions regarding the dispute over the Guaiana Essequiba were “a regional threat” and hoped Nicolás Maduro's regime would not act “in an adventurous and very irresponsible manner.”

”We have officially processed this issue before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). We have informed all our allies and have begun to have defense discussions with them to ensure that Guyana is in a state of readiness for this tremendous threat from Venezuela,“ Ali said.

At the UNSC, US Deputy Representative Robert Wood vetoed a resolution calling for an ”immediate humanitarian cease-fire“ in Gaza on the grounds that it would ”end the war today, but the conflict would continue forever“ because it failed to condemn the Oct. 7 raids by Hamas into Israeli territory. However, no decision was made on the Essequibo question.

The Gaza document had been introduced by UN Secretary-General António Guterres after relief agencies were unable to fulfill their humanitarian mandate. The document drafted by the United Arab Emirates had the support of some 100 countries while the United Kingdom abstained.

In an interview with the Colombian magazine Semana published Friday, Ali described Maduro's referendum last Sunday regarding sovereignty in the Essequibo area as an ”open challenge“ that ”threatens the stability of the region“ because ”it is a direct threat to Guyana and to the companies that operate here.“

”In the referendum, there are issues that seek to annex the Essequibo, which belongs to Guyana, to Venezuela and that establish an administrative control over the area. The (International Court of Justice) ordered that the status quo must remain, that is, that the Essequibo is part of Guyana's territory and Guyana administers governance there,“ Ali argued.

After Sunday's referendum, Maduro's government decided to take measures according to the ”popular mandate“, and to start with the administrative work to annex the territory and turn it into a Venezuelan state. The region will be governed, remotely, from the Venezuelan town of Tumeremo, in the state of Bolivar, by a governor appointed by Maduro until elections are held in the area. The disputed territory is now referred to as the ”Venezuelan state of Guayana Esequiba“ citing a mandate from the referendum, despite the poor turnout reported officially to be around 50% but which non-government organizations believe to have amounted to barely 11%.

”I believe that the peace and stability of the region is at stake. And I think the governance of the region is at stake. What Maduro is hinting at is an action that can destabilize the economy, the peace and governance of the region, and can put the entire Western hemisphere in a place where it has never been before,“ Ali stressed.

In this scenario, 5 Guyanese troops died when a helicopter crashed near the Venezuelan border this week. Two others survived the accident, the Guyana Defense Force reported Thursday after search and rescue operations were hampered by bad weather.

The deceased are Lt. Col. Michael Charles, who was piloting the aircraft; Col. Michael Shahoud, commander of the 1st Infantry Battalion; Lt. Col. Sean Welcome; retired Brig. Gen. Gary Beaton; and Sgt. Jason Khan. The survivors, whose condition has not been released, are Lieutenant Colonel Andio Crawford and Corporal Dwayne Jackson.

”My heart aches and chokes with sadness at the tragic loss of some of our finest men in uniform,” Ali said. The aircraft left Ayanganna Base in western Guyana at 09:23 local time (14.23 GMT) on Wednesday with three crew members and four passengers.

Also this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Ali to express the “unwavering support” from the administration of President Joseph Biden. White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby said the US does not want to see any violence as a result of the territorial dispute.

Blinken also reiterated the call for a peaceful resolution to the controversy and for all parties to respect the 1899 Arbitral Award, which determines the land boundary between Venezuela and Guyana “unless, or until, the parties reach a new agreement, or a competent legal body decides otherwise.”

Guyana is engaged with its partners in CARICOM, the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States (OAS), the United States Department of Defense, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), among others.

In this regard, the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (@FCDOGovUK) said on social media that “The UK is concerned by the recent steps taken by Venezuela, with respect to the Essequibo region of Guyana.”

“We believe this is unjustified and should cease,” the posting went on before concluding that “We are clear that the border was settled in 1899 through international arbitration.”

As the military build-up escalates, Maduro has been reported to be planning a trip to Russia to meet with Vladimir Putin. With the US siding with Guyana, the Essequibo matter might turn into another confrontation by proxy between the two superpowers, somehow replicating the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, with the difference that Russian troops are actually involved in that conflict.

Four days after Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak spoke of “attempts by Western countries to use the demand for energy resources as an instrument of political pressure,” Venezuela launched last Sunday's referendum. The Essequibo is rich in oil and gas and many international companies are operating there.

On their own, the Guyanese forces are inferior to Venezuela's, both in terms of personnel and equipment. The country has just 3,400 soldiers, half of whom are working in public security. Military equipment is also scarce. There are six Brazilian Cascavel-EE9 armored vehicles, manufactured by the now-defunct Engesa in 1984. Venezuela, on the other hand, has 123,000 active military personnel, plus 220,000 paramilitaries and equipment obtained from Russia and China.

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  • Oslo Ole

    After reading comments on here for the last 6 months i have come to the conclusion that the poster Taenk is either on drugs or mentally challenged, humble he most certainly is not, neither funny or clever either, bizarre posts that have nothing to do with anything, an obsession with so called Anglos and a fascination for vegetables, and quite clearly he does not know what brainwashing is. if he talked like that in Norway to people then he would be booking a bed in the nearest hospital and then deported,

    Dec 11th, 2023 - 11:39 am +1
  • Pugol-H

    In the event of a conflict and American intervention, the Venezuelan military would be surrendering to the Americans in droves. Demanding to be taken prisoner and shipped State Side.

    The Venezuelan military would be capable of only token resistance at best, to even a small American force.

    If S. America want to resolve this issue itself (which is what should happen) then it needs to act quickly, before this fool Maduro causes a full blown crisis.

    Dec 11th, 2023 - 04:06 pm +1
  • Brasileiro


    Dec 09th, 2023 - 02:41 pm 0
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