Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro denounced campaigns aimed at inciting conflict in the country by using its recent dispute with Guyana, saying that Venezuela wishes to resolve the conflict peacefully, despite provocations.
“There is a serious campaign, promoting hatred and distrust, which is promoting negative elements about the Venezuela,” the president said Monday, adding that non-state actors, such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and foreign petroleum lobbies, are provoking the situation and undermining solidarity between Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Despite a long-running border dispute, which dates back to the colonial period, Exxon Mobil reported a major oil discovery after being given unilateral permission to explore the disputed territory of Essequibo through an agreement with Guyana. Venezuela considered that agreement a violation and called for a dialogue between the two nations to settle the dispute.
However, on Monday night, Maduro said that recent statements by the new Guyanese president during the past weekend’s Caricom meeting were “inciting and highly offensive” to Venezuelans.
President of Guyana David Granger recently said, “Guyana’s border with Venezuela was fixed is 116 years ago. Maps were drawn. Atlases were adjusted. Border markers were cast in stone,” while referring to Venezuela as the “monkey on Guyana’s back.”
In his speech, Maduro emphasized that while Venezuela respects the noble people of Guyana, “Venezuela never had a vote or voice in the treaty of Paris,” the colonial agreement that shaped its modern day borders.
Maduro has ordered a thorough review of diplomatic relations with Guyana, warning that he will reduce the size of the Venezuelan Embassy in Guyana and recall the country’s ambassador.
“Venezuela must … win back (Essequibo) via a peaceful path,” said Maduro as he called for a national debate on the subject, urging Venezuelans to stand united.
“We will not allow Exxon Mobil to place itself in territory that is currently under dispute,” Maduro said, emphasizing that actions of Guyana’s government violate international law.
“Our goal has been for cooperation, peace, integration … respect, and processing the conflicts through dialogue and the international way,” he added.
President Maduro holds a map of Gran Colombia during his speech, July 6, 2015. | Photo: AVN