Guyana asserted before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Tuesday that Venezuela’s referendum on the Essequibo is an “existential threat”.
Venezuela’s referendum will consult the inhabitants of that area on whether they want to become nationals. This is with the aim of incorporating this territory as a Venezuelan region.
It is also worth noting that the two countries are in dispute over a region that Venezuela calls the Essequibo, which covers 160,000 km² and is under the administration of Guyana.
Furthermore, this territory located west of the Essequibo River, with access to the Caribbean, has large deposits of oil and minerals.
Despite the fact that this conflict dates back over 100 years, tensions increased after the authorities in Georgetown granted oil licenses in the disputed area.
Guyana’s statement to the ICJ on the Essequibo referendum
“It is not an exaggeration to describe the current threat as existential to Guyana,” said Carl Greenidge, a former Guyanese minister to the ICJ, based in The Hague.
“I cannot emphasize enough the urgency of the situation that brings us here today,” he said. He also stated that Guyana is at risk of “irreparably” and “potentially permanently” losing its rights.
Meanwhile, Vice President Delcy Rodríguez described Guyana’s request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to prevent the Essequibo referendum as a “rash act” without legal basis.
She also called Guyana’s speech “lies and manipulations”. “Guyana never ceases to amaze us. We are very surprised because not only are they heirs to a territory that the United Kingdom stole from Venezuela, but they also inherited that stripper of imperialist arrogance,” she said.
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