By Carlos Camacho in Caracas.
The Nicolas Maduro regime admitted this Monday to having detained two Guyanese fishing vessels and their crews, saying the boats were fishing illegally in undisputed Venezuelan waters. The Chavista administration argued that Guyana was working in league with oil giant ExxonMobil to attack Venezuela and promised to exert its sacred right to defend its sovereignty.
Sunday, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Guyana said two registered fishing vessels, the Lady Nayera and the Sea Wolf, were operating off the Waini Point coast, its Exclusive Economic Zone. According to the EFE news agency, the vessels were intercepted by the Venezuelan military vessel Comandante Hugo Chávez GC 24,
On Monday, Maduro regime foreign minister Jorge Arreaza admitted the Guyanese charges. However, he identified one of the detained vessels as the Nady Nayera.
Despite admitting to the detention, Arreaza stated this Monday that Guyana had engaged in defamations of the regime.
“Interception of two Guyanese ships denominated Nady Nayera, and Sea Wolf were undertaking illegal fishing, in waters of Venezuelan sovereignty and jurisdiction,” Arreaza said.
The chancellor added that the crews have also been detained. He also denounced Guyana for acting “in alliance with oil transnationals, particularly, US company ExxonMobil.”
Guyana said that vessels were forced to divert to Guiria by Venezuela Coast Guard. The coast town of Güiria is the same place where a shipwreck took 34 Venezuelan lives who tried to reach Trinidad and Tobago island.
In turn, Guayana claimed that the Venezuelan military vessel was illegally maneuvering within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Guayana when it intercepted and boarded the fishing vessels.
The Guyanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that it is currently trying to ascertain the condition of the crew members of the two vessels.
“Guyana condemns in the strongest terms this act of aggression by the Venezuelan Armed Forces against citizens of our country. This Venezuelan action is tantamount to interference in our sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone, contrary to international law,” the communique emphasizes.
Venezuela and Guyana are engaged in a 120-year old territorial dispute for the Essequibo, the third part of the surface of Guayana.
The Maduro regime in late 2020 denounced the development of oil deposits in or near the Essequibo and disputed waters by Guyana and ExxonMobil. However, E&P there has been taking place since 2015, and critics say Maduro did not denounce it sooner because he viewed the administration of David Granger (which ended in 2018) more favorably than the current one.