Guyana urges Venezuela to be responsible as referendum votes come in

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President Irfaan Ali of Guyana voiced his thoughts on Venezuela’s pursuit of a unilateral referendum meant to validate the annexation of the mineral rich Essequibo region through an early morning broadcast.

President Ali recently expressed his appreciation for the ruling issued by the International Court of Justice which puts provisional measures in place against the annexation of Essequibo by Venezuela.

The official statement says that, “Pending a final decision in the case, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela shall refrain from taking any action which would modify the situation that currently prevails in the territory in dispute, whereby the Cooperative Republic of Guyana administers and exercises control over that area.”

Despite this, Venezuela has gone forward with its “consultive referendum” which saw citizens voting on the future of Essequibo, a large region in Guyana’s control which the Venezuelan government lays claim to.

The Bolivarian government’s claim that the territory was stolen during the demarcation of the north-south border more than a century ago, has been rubbished by the International Court of Justice and other international bodies which have considered the matter.

For obvious reasons, in Guyana’s opinion, this is a step towards annexation which is why the entire nation is on edge.

The referendum basically asks the citizens of Venezuela where they stand with the establishment of a Venezuelan state in the disputed territory of Essequibo. In a scenario where Venezuela annexes Essequibo, it will also look to grant citizenships to current and future residents, depending on the results.

Thus, it is understandable that President Irfaan Ali is cautious of Venezuela’s Nicholas Maduro’s intentions. Despite the pressure from international organisations such as the United Nations Assembly and the International Court of Justice, Venezuela has followed through with its referendum and seems willing to take action against Guyana’s sovereignty if the trend continues.

This issue could result in a conflict between both parties if they continue to squabble as they do now. Guyana felt a measure of relief when the International Court of Justice took a stand against Venezuela but the situation seems to have deteriorated despite this intervention.

George Henry
George Henry
George Henry, a distinguished graduate of Columbia University, pursued his passion in Economics with outstanding academic achievements. George found his calling in journalism, aiming to raise awareness regarding geopolitical and socioeconomic issues. He is recognized for having a keen interest in international geopolitics, sports and women's rights. To reach George, you can email


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