Guyana urges international legislators to respond as Venezuela pushes for Essequibo

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Guyana spoke out against Venezuela’s attempts to take control of the nation’s Essequibo region while urging international legislators to take stock of the situation and interject, thus ensuring that both Guyana’s sovereignty and peace in the region are maintained.

Essequibo is an important region for Guyana as it is home to 125,000 of the nation’s 800,000 citizens while also making up two-thirds of its total landmass. Another important consideration is that the Essequibo region is said to be quite rich in minerals and other natural resources which can be of great benefit to Guyana or Venezuela if it manages to seize it.

Anil Nandlall, the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs spoke at the 148th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly, stating that while it might not be possible for every member of the assembly to condemn Venezuela’s actions due to time constraints, there is much for the delegates to do collectively in this regard.

Nandlall also stated the following, “I appeal to each of you to use the theme of this conference and the platform of your respective Parliaments to condemn the actions of Venezuela; to demand compliance with International Law; and to call for diplomacy to be used as a bridge for peace and understanding.”

“This is not a favour to Guyana, but it is discharging a duty we owe to ourselves and indeed the world, if we are to be true to the founding principles of this organisation.”

He highlighted the fact that parliaments all over the world serve the purpose of bringing together some of the most powerful and influential leaders, thus becoming powerful collectives, which can direct global human agency towards affecting a lasting change, ensuring that peace and prosperity prevail.

He said, “The IPU, being the largest global association of Parliaments, with its grounding principles that dialogue is central to the peaceful resolution of conflicts, is ideally poised to achieve this objective.”

Yet, in his opinion, the leaders of the world have not been able to channel this potential for good and have failed at preventing a humanitarian tragedy in Gaza, as well as bringing Venezuela closer to becoming a democratic nation that serves its people instead of the whims of powerful individuals.

The Attorney General also said, “These horrendous events, although occurring on opposite sides of the globe, together manifest the deadly havoc that armed conflicts wreaks and the social disorder and human sufferings that the absence of democracy produces.”

“More than 30,000 are dead in Gaza and nearly eight million refugees have fled Venezuela.”
These statements have come following a visit from the Director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William J Burns, which allowed him to interact directly with President Irfaan Ali and other senior officials within Guyana’s security apparatus.

The Department of Public Information (DPI) came out with the update and also put out pictures of the two delegations interacting with each other. This in itself is seen as a show of solidarity between the United States and Guyana.

It is suspected that the meeting held between both parties looked to address security issues and points of concern in the Latin American and Caribbean regions, both of which affect Guyana quite significantly.

Director Burn’s delegation included US Ambassador Nicole Theriot, senior Embassy officials and other US government officials. The US embassy also signed an agreement last week which will provide the Government of Guyana with an additional US$300,000 through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, which will go towards countering narcotics trafficking and other security concerns being faced by the nation.

President Irfaan Ali’s delegation included Prime Minister Mark Phillips, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn, Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Omar Khan as well as head of National Intelligence, Colonel Sheldon Howell, the acting Police Commissioner, Clifton Hicken and the director of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit, James Singh.

Attorney General Nandlall is now being seen as one of the most vocal among the many representatives of President Irfaan Ali and has been quite active when it comes to his stance on Venezuela recently.

He has said that there is more than one dimension to Venezuela’s repeated attempts to seize the Essequibo region.

Nandlall said, “This claim by Venezuela was finally and conclusively settled by Arbitration in 1899. Venezuela accepted and acted upon this Arbitral Award for six consecutive decades thereafter. It was not until in the early 1960’s when Guyana was about to gain independence from Great Britain that Venezuela made the outrageous claims that the Arbitral Award was unlawful.”

He also highlighted the fact that while Venezuela continues to make this claim, the nation and its government have failed to come forth with any evidence that supports their argument.

“Right here in Geneva, in 1966, Venezuela signed an Agreement with Guyana, inter alia, empowering the United Nations Secretary General to take steps to resolve the controversy. In 2018, exercising those powers, the UN Secretary General referred the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) where it remains pending.”

“Thus far, Venezuela has refused to accept the Court’s jurisdiction or to be bound by any order the Court makes. Venezuela has threatened physical invasion and in December 2023 moved a Referendum to annex two-thirds of Guyana’s sovereign territory. The ICJ has issued interim measures restraining Venezuela from taking further steps in its declared intention.”

Nandlall also reminded the congregation of the fact that every international organisation of repute which has assessed the dispute has condemned Venezuela, including the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States (OAS), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

These organisations have repeated asked President Maduro and his government to pursue diplomacy and comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice. He even spoke of the Argyle Accord which was signed between Guyana and Venezuela in St Vincent and the Grenadines. This was down to the mediation of multiple Latin American and CARICOM nations which came together to help the two nations engage in dialogue.

This is why Nandlall believes that Venezuela’s decision to pass parliamentary laws which allow it to annex the Essequibo, is an attack on peace in the region and is in complete contrast to the commitments Venezuela made to international laws, Guyana and the Argyle Declaration.

While Venezuela has not responded to these claims made by Guyana, it is quite clear that tensions between the two nations continue to rise and both sides are a long way from reaching a resolution which suites them both.

The most recent developments in this dispute have also shown that international organisations have failed to keep Venezuela from going against their rulings and that President Maduro has been able to continue on the path to acquiring Essequibo without any tangible resistance from the international fraternity.

Nia Roberts
Nia Robertshttp://writeups24.com/
Nia Roberts, journalist at Writeups24, brings academic rigour and storytelling together. Nia's work covers diverse topics and uncovers hidden truths, amplifying marginalized voices. She stands as a paragon of journalistic integrity and a champion for the underrepresented. To reach Nia Roberts, you can email contact@writeups24.com

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