‘We will not go to war with Guyana’ – Venezuelan Parliamentarian
[Guardian T&T] – At least one member of Venezuela’s government is promising that they will maintain peace with neighbouring Guyana despite the ongoing dispute over the Essequibo region.
“We will not go to war! We will not invade a country, especially one we share a border with!” declared Venezuelan member of parliament Jacobo Torres.
Torres yesterday underscored Venezuela’s thrust to continue with peaceful dialogue with Guyana in the controversial territorial dispute at a Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies panel discussion which focused on the ongoing controversy from a Venezuelan perspective.
On December 3, Venezuelans will go to the polls in a public referendum to tell their government if they agree with Caracas’ position to incorporate the disputed Essequibo territory as part of Venezuela, rename the state Guyana Essequibo, and grant its population, currently Guyana nationals, Venezuelan citizenship.
MP Torres also sought to warn the global public not to allow the United States to provoke war in the Caribbean and Latin American region.
He declared that the US only cares about the disputed territory because substantial oil reserves were found there, as he claimed US reserves were dwindling.
“We will not go to war!” Torres declared with his fist in the air.
“We will not fall into provocation, we are a people of dialogue, we are a peaceful people!”
Torres several times reiterated that war is “out of the question”.
“We will not invade a country, especially one we share a border with. We are just defending our dignity, we are defending our historical right,” he added.
Torres said people may be apprehensive about what comes the day after the December 3 referendum, and what happens next if the Venezuelan people give them the mandate to go after the Essequibo territory. However, he said all the referendum will reflect is a unified approach for the current and future governments to abide by. He said a path of diplomacy will continue.
The Essequibo region comprises more than two-thirds of the whole of Guyana itself and is potentially an oil-rich territory.
Guyana has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which says it has jurisdiction over the issue, to halt the vote. However, Venezuela has already told the ICJ they plan to go ahead with the referendum.
However, also speaking at the panel discussion, Venezuelan Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Alvaro Sanchez Cordero, said his country does not recognise the ICJ’s jurisdiction and is not even a signatory to the legal body.
Ambassador Cordero underscored that Venezuela will always use peace and diplomacy in the dispute.
“Venezuela has a history of peace-making approaches in all international endeavours, we will continue to promote peace,” Cordero said.
Guyana’s President Mohamed Irfaan Ali says his country has instituted contingency planning to cater for all eventualities as tensions simmer over the border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela
The longstanding border controversy between the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela arose as a result of the Venezuelan contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899 about the frontier between British Guiana and Venezuela was null and void.
(Extracted and modified from the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian)