On Wednesday, the Nicolas Maduro regime reiterated that Venezuela has “legitimate rights” over the Essequibo, a territory over which it maintains a historical border dispute with Guyana, urging the neighboring country to “negotiate a practical arrangement” for this area.
Relations between the neighbors are particularly tense after the Venezuelan Navy detained two Guyanese boats, captains, crews, and all in January for allegedly fishing in Venezuelan waters (Guyana at one point said the regime had detained three such boats).
Through a statement issued by its Foreign Ministry, the regime reiterated that Venezuela continues to follow the path of “Bolivarian diplomacy of peace in defense” of its “legitimate rights” over the Essequibo. This is a resource-rich 160,000 kilometers-square land that represents two-thirds of current Guyanese territory.
In the text, Venezuela also celebrates the 55th anniversary of the Geneva Agreement signed. The document regulates the border dispute between the two nations. Maduro defends this document as “the only one” capable of resolving the conflict.
The regime stated that it “maintains its indeclinable struggle for the amicable negotiation that leads to a true, fair and due peaceful solution” to the controversy, always through the mentioned Geneva Agreement.
Likewise, Venezuela asked Guyana to “desist” from incorporating third parties in the dispute since their “clear geopolitical and economic interests disturb bilateral relations and threaten regional peace.”
Venezuela and Guyana signed in 1966 the Geneva Agreement, a commitment between the two countries to seek an amicable solution to the dispute, under the mediation of the United Nations (UN) until the end of January 2018, when the organization terminated its activities in the controversial dispute. This document is the only one recognized by Venezuela to solve the conflict.
It was precisely that decision that led Guyana to go to the International Court of Justice, which declared itself competent to resolve the dispute.
The controversy over the area has intensified in recent years, after the US company ExxonMobil discovered, in 2015, oil deposits in the waters adjacent to the disputed area.