Venezuela’s socialist regime once again threatened neighboring Guyana on Sunday if US oil company ExxonMobil proceeds with its plan to drill for oil in waters near the disputed Essequibo territory.
The Essequibo represents two thirds of the surface area of Guyana. Venezuela has claimed it for more than 120 years.
The regime of dictator Nicolás Maduro, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, issued a statement on Sunday denouncing an alleged “malicious campaign prepared and financed by ExxonMobil” and allegedly supported by Guyana against Venezuela’s constitutional obligation “to establish a policy complete, in the land, island and maritime domains. border areas, to preserve, through the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, its territorial integrity, national sovereignty and defense of the homeland.
#Communicado | Venezuela denounces Exxon Mobil’s malicious campaign backlit by Guyana ⬇️https://t.co/hIdS4fNson
– Cancillería Venezuela 🇻 (@CancilleriaVE) February 11, 2024
Venezuela “reserves its right to diplomatic actions, and to all those listed in international law, to assert all the rights that belong to it,” the statement said.
Maduro launched this threat a few days after ExxonMobil announcement its intention to carry out offshore exploration in Essequibo waters in search of oil. Alistair Routledge, the boss of ExxonMobil in Guyana, would have asserted that the planned exploratory drilling would take place “well south” of the disputed territory.
According to local media, the area where the planned offshore oil exploration drilling will take place is the same area where the Maduro regime deployed its navy threatened ExxonMobil in December 2018, preventing a planned oil exploration venture at the time.
The Maduro regime’s statement goes on to accuse Routledge of “substituting” his own authority for Guyana’s sovereignty and “daring to issue threatening judgments, rejoicing in the presence of military powers in an undemarcated sea, where they have obtained illegal oil concessions, some of which are located in an indisputably Venezuelan maritime zone.
The statement read:
Venezuela makes clear to the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States that the actions of Exxonmobil and the Guyanese government contravene the fundamental principles of international law and constitute aggression aimed at destabilizing the region.
Venezuela began arguing that Essequibo should be part of its territory when it gained independence from Spain in 1811, almost 190 years before the ruling socialist regime came to power.
In 1899, an arbitration held in Paris defined the current borders of the two countries. Venezuela has always denounced this process as fraudulent. Then, in 1966, a new agreement was reached just months before Guyana, then known as British Guiana, gained independence from the United Kingdom.
The 1966 agreement established that Guyana was to administer the disputed territory until an unspecified permanent solution was found. No such solution has arrived at press time.
The Maduro regime reignited the conflict with hostilities against Guyana after the neighboring country began discovering oil and gas in the disputed region in 2015. The latest advance was announcement in October.
Maduro responded to this discovery by launching a vast campaign to “annex” the disputed territory, carried out by a sham. referendum which “asked” the Venezuelan electorate to approve the annexation.
According to numerous media reports and observers, the election was marked by extremely low turnout and almost empty election centers. The Maduro regime ridiculously claimed that over ten million votes had been cast in favor of the annexation of the Essequibo region, thus serving as a “mandate” to immediately begin drafting a bill. plans annex the region. Annexation started with Maduro granting Venezuelan identity documents to the majority indigenous inhabitants of Essequibo.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published satellite images Friday that suggest a growing expansion of Venezuela’s military presence in the border areas with Guyana. The images, dated January, indicate that the Maduro regime has expanded nearby military bases and military personnel in the region.
Venezuelan Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino López minimized expressed their concerns on Sunday, saying the military presence is “non-hostile” in nature.