Venezuela’s dispute with Guyana over the territory of the Esequibo has garnered international attention, with countries taking sides and expressing their support for either Venezuela or Guyana. While Vice President Delcy Rodríguez claims that some countries have privately expressed their support for Venezuela, publicly, the majority of international positions have favored Guyana and called for the resolution of the dispute through the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The United States, through its Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Brian Nichols, has voiced its support for Guyana’s right to develop its natural resources. Nichols emphasized the need for Venezuela to respect international law and the 1899 Arbitral Award, as well as the ongoing ICJ process between Guyana and Venezuela. In response, Venezuela’s National Assembly has called for a public consultation to gather support for its defense of the Esequibo.
The United Kingdom, along with the United States, Cuba, and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), has supported Guyana’s initiative to auction exploration blocks in the disputed territory. Venezuela accuses the UK of granting Guyana a territory that was not rightfully theirs. Historically, Cuba has backed Guyana’s right to develop economically and politically, similar to the stance taken by the US. A 1981 agreement between Cuba and Guyana, known as the “Cuban-Guyanese Pact,” recognizes Guyana’s territoriality in the Esequibo.
CARICOM has also expressed its support for Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, calling for a peaceful resolution through the ICJ. The organization, composed of several Caribbean countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, warns against any unilateral actions that violate international law.
However, some countries have remained silent on the issue. Brazil, which previously expressed support for Guyana during the Dilma Rousseff administration, has not reiterated its position under the current government of Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva. China, a close ally of the Maduro government, has also remained quiet, despite its involvement in oil and gas exploration in the disputed waters.
Other international bodies have also weighed in on the dispute. The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, handed over the resolution of the territorial dispute to the ICJ in 2018. Venezuela, however, does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction and argues for a resolution based on the 1966 Geneva Agreement. The most recent statement came from the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, who voiced his support for Guyana and called for a peaceful resolution through the ICJ.
As the territorial dispute between Venezuela and Guyana escalates, it is clear that international support has primarily favored Guyana and the resolution of the conflict through the ICJ. Venezuela continues to assert its claims over the Esequibo, but it faces opposition from several countries and regional organizations. The outcome of the dispute will ultimately depend on the ICJ’s decision and the willingness of both countries to engage in peaceful negotiations.