Guyana Denounces Maduro’s Law Claiming Guyana’s Territory

News Americas, GEORGETOWN, GUYANA, Weds., April 4, 2024: Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s decision to enact a law claiming sovereignty over two-thirds of Guyana sparked intense backlash from Guyana’s government on Thursday.

While the text of the law wasn’t immediately disclosed, Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the move, labeling it a violation of international law. The law targets Guyana’s western Essequibo region.

Meanwhile, Maduro accused the US of setting up a base in Guyana’s Essequibo territory.

“We have information proving that in the territory of Guyana Essequibo, temporarily administered by Guyana, secret military bases of the (US) Southern Command… a body of the CIA, have been installed,” Maduro said.

He said the bases are an “aggression” against the people of southern and eastern Venezuela and were built “to prepare for an escalation against Venezuela.”

Maduro‘s provocative remarks came as parliament held a ceremony commemorating a recent law laying out the defense of Guyana Essequibo, four months after a controversial, non-binding referendum overwhelmingly approved the creation of a Venezuelan province in the disputed region, sparking fears of a military conflict.

He also claimed that his counterpart, President Irfaan Ali, “does not govern Guyana” and that “Guyana is governed by the Southern Command, the CIA and ExxonMobil.”

FLASH BACK – This handout picture released by the Venezuelan Presidency shows Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro (R)shakes hand with Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali(L) during a meeting in Saint Vincent and The Grenadines on December 14, 2023. The presidents of Venezuela and Guyana arrived Thursday morning on the Caribbean archipelago of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for a meeting aimed at easing tensions over the territorial dispute around the Essequibo, which has long pitted their two countries. CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / VENEZUELAN PRESIDENCY / MARCELO GARCIA

Maduro organized a referendum in early December, asserting Venezuela’s right to the oil- and mineral-rich area, alleging it was unlawfully taken during border delineation over a century ago. Maduro hailed the signing ceremony on Wednesday as a significant moment.

“The decision of December 3 has now become the Law of the Republic,” Maduro tweeted, emphasizing Venezuela’s commitment to defend its territory.

In response, Guyana’s government emphasized the importance of resorting to the International Court of Justice to settle territorial disputes, expressing readiness to engage in the legal process.

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