…as 34-nation OAS joins in condemning unilateral boundary extension by Nicolás Maduro
The Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the 34-member Organisation of American States (OAS), two of the largest organisations in the hemisphere, have thrown their support behind Guyana in the wake of Venezuela’s recent unilateral claim to Guyana’s territory.
In a statement on Tuesday, Caricom expressed its disappointment with the decree issued by Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro and the rhetoric emanating from that Spanish speaking country
“The Caribbean Community is deeply disappointed and concerned at the decree and subsequent statements by Venezuela with respect to that country’s border controversy with Guyana, including intimations of the creation of a strategic area of national development called “Territory for the Development of the Atlantic Façade,” Caricom said in its statement.
According to the regional body, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the proper venue to address the border controversy. In fact, the case is currently before the ICJ and a case management conference is scheduled for Friday, although Venezuela has so far steered clear of the court.
“The Caribbean Community is in full support of the judicial process underway at the International Court of Justice which is intended to bring a peaceful and definitive end to the long-standing controversy between the two countries,” Caricom said.
“Caricom reiterates in the strongest possible terms its firm and unswerving support for the maintenance and preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana. Caricom firmly repudiates any acts of aggression by Venezuela against Guyana,” the regional body added.
Meanwhile, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has also expressed support for Guyana. This was revealed by Brigadier General Godfrey Bess, who was at the time addressing the media at State House on Tuesday after signing a military support pact with the United States (US) Department of Defense.
“As we speak, I am aware that the heads of Caricom government are meeting. And the Caricom community has denounced the position that Venezuela has taken. The OAS Secretary General has also denounced that. And lots of our bilateral and international partners, have been in support of our position on the border issue,” Bess said.
Meanwhile, Bess himself conveyed the GDF’s concern with Venezuela’s posturing, particularly from President Maduro, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez.
“The Guyana Defence Force noted with concern the rhetoric from the President, Vice President and Defence Minister of Venezuela. This matter has been discussed with the Commander in Chief, His Excellency President Dr Irfaan Ali and our goal is to continue to work through the diplomatic channels to ensure this matter is resolved peacefully,” Bess said.
The new decree issued by President Maduro on Thursday last came just over a week before the world court is scheduled to hold a case management hearing on Guyana’s application for a final and binding settlement of the border controversy with Venezuela.
Condemnation has swiftly followed the decree, with President Dr Irfaan Ali addressing the nation in a special address on Saturday and Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon releasing a statement the next day.
Internationally, the United States (US) and Canada also quickly came out in condemnation of Venezuela and in expressing support for Guyana. On Sunday, US Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch made a statement on the issue in which she reiterated the need for a peaceful resolution to Guyana’s border controversy.
“The United States has long called for a legal, peaceful resolution to Guyana’s border controversy with Venezuela and we reiterate that call today,” the diplomat had tweeted, also sharing a post from Assistant Secretary for the US’s Western Affairs Bureau, Michael Kozak, in which he condemned Maduro’s decree.
In his tweet, Ambassador Kozak reiterated that the US supports the ICJ’s December 18, 2020 ruling that it has jurisdiction in the Guyana-Venezuela territorial border controversy case, which he contended is the “legal and peaceful way forward.”
“The U.S. supports the ICJ’s 12/18 ruling that it has jurisdiction in the Guyana-Venezuela territorial border issue, which is the legal and peaceful way forward. Maduro’s aggressive claims don’t change this, they only show the world his disregard for his neighbors and intl. law,” the State Department official had posited. (G3)