Prelude To War – Socialist Venezuela Claims Two-Thirds Of Oil-Rich Guyana

- July 21, 2024
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ANALYSIS – Is this a prelude to war? Or Just political posturing? Venezuelans' have “approved” a manipulated referendum called by the government of socialist leader to claim sovereignty over a huge, -rich swath of neighboring called .

The region makes up two-thirds of the total of the land currently controlled by Guyana. The 61,600-square-mile area is also home to 125,000 of Guyana's 800,000 citizens.

In 2020, following an appeal by Guyana, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that it had jurisdiction to hear the dispute, but it has yet to decide the case.

Venezuelan voters rejected the ICJ's jurisdiction over the country's long-running territorial dispute with neighboring Guyana and backed the creation of a new Venezuelan state in the Essequibo region. (RELATED: Be Afraid, Leftists: Conservatives Celebrate Victory With Global Implications)

While the referendum is only consultative in nature without legal weight outside of – Guyana has condemned it as an aggressive attempt at “annexation.”

The dispute over the area has been simmering for more than a century.

In 1899, an international tribunal awarded the area to Britain, which at the time was the ruling Guyana, or British Guiana, as it was then known. But this ruling has been dismissed by successive Venezuelan governments over the past 60 years.

However, the 1899 decision giving the Essequibo to Guyana stands until the ICJ decides otherwise.

Venezuela's claims on Essequibo were reignited in recent years after Guyana's discovery of oil and gas near the maritime border. (RELATED: Former Republican Congressman Arrested In Venezuela Probe)

Some are concerned about what the Maduro government plans to do next. They point to plans announced by Venezuela's armed forces to build an airstrip close to the current boundary with Guyana.

Guyana, South America's only English-speaking nation, is the world's fastest-growing economy, which has quadrupled in size over the last five years thanks to massive offshore oil deposits first drilled by Exxon in 2015.

Its crude reserves are so large relative to its population of 800,000 that some projections show the nation overtaking Kuwait to become the world's largest per-capita crude producer.

As the BBC noted:

Tension rose further, when the government of Guyana held an auction in September of this year at which oil companies bid for exploration licences in Essequibo waters.

This move and a further “significant” new oil discovery made in those waters just over a month ago has increased the pressure on the Venezuelan government.

Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves but the US imposed sweeping sanctions on the South American country's oil sector in 2019.

Many analysts also see the Essequibo referendum as Maduro's way to whip up nationalist fervor ahead of elections in the second half of 2024.

Security expert Rocío San Miguel warned, according to the BBC, that the government was “using” the Essequibo issue following the success of the opposition parties' primary in October, which saw more than 2.4 million people turn out. (RELATED: Appeals Court Hands Florida Republicans Unmistakable Victory)

Maduro, who has been in power since the death of socialist leader Hugo Chavez in 2013, is also under international pressure to allow free and fair elections next year.

The U.S. recently eased the sanctions it had imposed on Venezuela's oil industry in exchange for the government lifting a ban on the main opposition candidate, María Corina Machado.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.

READ NEXT: Why Is Biden Promoting Oil In This Socialist Regime While Banning It In The US?

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