Tensions between Venezuela and Guyana have increased in recent days. This is reflected in both countries’ position in an undefined area known as Essequibo.

Last Sunday, Venezuela held a referendum on its territory on the annexation of the territory disputed with Guyana, which the country considers a binding result.

10.4 million voters took part in the event and it was approved by more than 90%, despite reports of low turnout that characterized the day.

Nicolás Maduro orders the granting of permits for the exploitation of resources in the area in dispute with Guyana

Venezuela adopts the referendum as a mandate, based on its own Constitution – which, like all Magna Carta, affects exclusively the country that approves it -, which establishes the binding nature of the matters submitted for consultation, in this case five questions with which more than 90% of participants supported the arguments and proposals of the government in the dispute.

But the Venezuelan constitutional mandate does not affect Guyana, which did not vote on the issue, or any other country outside the borders of the country of origin, but rather is internal in nature.

And since no country has the power to decide the sovereignty of another country, Guyana has taken the controversy – without progress for decades – to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which has admitted the case since 2018 and on a yet-to-be-determined date: a decision that will undoubtedly be binding on both countries.

Where is Guyana located?

Currently, the South American country’s territory amounts to 214,969 square kilometers, of which 74.21% is claimed by Venezuela and 7.26% is in dispute with Suriname.

Right in the middle of these countries is Guyana, the only English-speaking country in South America that is not part of what is known as Latin America.

According to the Britannica encyclopedia, the first settlers of this area corresponded to groups of Arawaks, Caribs and Warrau, who based their activities on migratory agriculture until the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the area.

However, it was the Dutch who settled in the area and turned it into a European settlement and began importing slaves from West Africa for the cultivation of sugar cane. Due to several wars, ownership of the land changed between the British and the French between 1792 and 1815.

Five keys to understanding the controversial referendum in which Venezuelans supported their country’s claim to the disputed Essequibo region

It was precisely thanks to the French occupation that the current capital Georgetown was founded at the mouth of the Demerara River, although the city changed its name by the Dutch until the English established its current name.

It is estimated that after the abolition of the slave trade, more than 100,000 slaves lived in the area and settled in settlements on the coastal plain after their emancipation.

In 1879 there was a boom with the discovery of gold and from there arose a claim by Venezuela on the areas rich in minerals and timber. Guyana was then called British Guiana. This claim was reactivated as early as 1962.

It became independent as an English colony on May 26, 1966, and four years later it was declared a cooperative republic within the Commonwealth.

The President of Guyana, Irfaan Alí, assured that the statements of his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro, pose a “direct threat” to his country, rejecting the measures announced by the Venezuelan President in the territory he claims from Georgetown.

“This is a direct threat to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Guyana,” Ali said after Maduro ordered state oil company PDVSA to provide permits for resource exploitation in the disputed Essequibo region. and that is managed by Georgetown.

That we continue “to create the PDVSA-Essequibo division” and that we “immediately proceed to grant exploitation permits for the exploitation and exploitation of oil, gas and mines in the entire area,” Maduro said in a meeting on Tuesday the high Council. government to announce a series of measures to ‘restore’ the Essequibo.

Ali announced that on Wednesday he “will refer the matter to the United Nations Security Council so that that body can take appropriate action.” (JO)