The Venezuelan government has firmly condemned Guyanese President Irfaan Ali’s overtures to the US Southern Command (Southcom) and other military partners in the disputed Essequibo Strip.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry rejected Guyana’s “imprudent attitude” for opening “the possibility for an imperial power to install military bases,” threatening the region’s stability.
“The Cooperative Republic of Guyana is recklessly attacking international law by carrying out actions that aggravate the territorial controversy. This adds to its illegal conduct of granting oil exploitation licenses to ExxonMobil over a sea pending delimitation with Venezuela,” read the communique.
Caracas urged Georgetown to return to the path of direct dialogue through the 1966 Geneva Agreement, which Venezuela defends as the only binding instrument to find a negotiated solution to the Essequibo territorial dispute.
The Maduro government has repeatedly accused Guyana of serving the interests of oil giant ExxonMobil, the main oil producer in the Essequibo. A June 2023 Intercept investigation documented the close ties between Georgetown and Exxon.
On Wednesday, tensions seemed to recede momentarily with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Yván Gil holding a phone conversation with his Guyanese counterpart Hugh Todd in which they agreed to keep communication channels open.
For its part, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday that Beijing supported both nations “in properly resolving questions about border delineations.”
The Venezuelan leader likewise proposed a special law to ban dealings with companies that operate with Guyanese concessions and demanded they leave the Essequibo waters within three months once the legislation is approved.Post too long. Click here to view the full text.