Tuesday 5 December 2023

Guyana on High Alert Against Maduro’s Invasion Threat – Referendum’s Turnout Is Said To Have Been Very Low – Venezuelan Voters Also Allegedly Rejected Arbitration by International Court


Maduro is hell-bent on getting all that Guyanese oil and gas.

Now that all over the world frontiers have begun to be redrawn left and right, it is not all that surprising when a down-on-luck socialist dictator from Venezuela decides to have a crack at snatching 74% of his oil-rich neighbor Guyana’s territory.

After all, if post-WW2 borders are being moved around, why not one that was settled in 1899? The international mediation by the US and Russia awarded the area to England, no less.

After massive oil reserves were found in Guyanese territorial waters, the secular claim by Venezuela was rekindled in a spectacular fashion. 

It arises now that Guyana ‘will remain vigilant’ after the Venezuelan referendum rejected the international court’s jurisdiction over the  territorial dispute.

Tensions over oil-rich Esequibo rose ahead of the five-question Venezuelan referendum.

Reuters reported:

“Venezuelans on Sunday backed the rejection of ICJ jurisdiction over the dispute and the creation of a new state in Esequibo. Analysts have said the vote was an attempt by President Nicolas Maduro to gauge his government’s support ahead of a 2024 presidential election.”

Three-quarters of Guyana are at play.

The International Court of Justice has prohibited Venezuela from changing the status quo in the region.

Maduro assured Caribbean countries that he will not invade the region, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo said, adding that Guyana will not lower its guard.

“‘The leadership in Guyana cannot just take assurances from the Maduro government that they will not invade the country’, Jagdeo told local media in an interview from Dubai, where he is attending the Conference of the Parties (COP28) climate summit. ‘We have to be prepared for any eventuality’.

‘We have to be very vigilant in this upcoming period because the Venezuelan leadership has shown itself to be very unpredictable’, Jagdeo said, urging Guyanese to remain calm and saying the country has ramped up defense coordination with allies.”

Venezuela reactivated its claim over the 61,776 square mile territory after the discovery of offshore oil and gas.

The maritime border between the two countries is also involved in the dispute.

Venezuela’s electoral authority: all questions passed with more than 95% approval, and 10.5 million votes were cast for ‘yes’.

HEY! 10 million votes? Or voters? More on that later.

Guyanese VP Jagdeo called the vote “rigged” and questioned the turn-out figures.

And in fact, journalists observed several poorly attended voting places.

“‘Popular mandate is sacred’, Maduro said at an event on Monday. ‘That is the path with which, as head of state, I’ll take all my actions and all our actions from here forward. A new era in the fight for our Guayana Esequiba has begun’, he added, using the proposed name for the new Venezuelan state. ‘Now we will recover Venezuela’s historical rights’.”

Maduro insists that more than half of eligible Venezuelan voters have taken part in the referendum, but no one is quite buying it.

AFP reported:

“Caracas called Sunday’s referendum after Georgetown started auctioning off oil blocks in Essequibo in August.

Voters were asked to respond to five questions in the referendum, including whether Venezuela should reject the 1899 arbitration decision as well as the ICJ’s jurisdiction.

They were also asked whether Venezuelan citizenship should be granted to the people — currently Guyanese — of a new ‘Guyana Esequiba State’.”

While there was a massive campaign for the ‘yes’ vote, there was none against it.


The Guardian reported:

“The turnout appeared so underwhelming that the Venezuelan government has been widely accused by analysts of falsifying the results. But voting stations across the country were largely empty, national and international media reported.

‘I have seen no independent reports of queues anywhere in the country. It looked like a normal Sunday in Caracas’, says Phil Gunson, analyst at international crisis group. ‘It was a resounding failure for Maduro’.”

The government’s alleged figures were widely scrutinized. Analysts say they do not correspond with the scenes at voting stations.

“An image purported to have been shared and later deleted by Venezuela’s electoral authority showed a table with about 2 million votes for each of the five questions, suggesting that they tallied the number of votes rather than voters to spin the public relations disaster.

[…] ‘This is a massive PR disaster for Maduro. They’ve been firing the propaganda machine on all cylinders for months but despite their best efforts turnout is way below what we expected’, he added.

Intelligence collected by Guyana and its allies suggest the actual turnout was fewer than 1.5 million people – less than a 10th of the population – said a source close to the Guyanese government who described the move as ‘rigonomics’.”

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