Dr. Van West Charles takes up Ambassador post in Venezuela later this month


Longstanding politician and businessman Dr. Richard Van West Charles will leave Guyana later this month for Venezuela where he will officially take up the post as Guyana’s Ambassador to the Bolivarian Republic.

Having been selected last year for the Ambassadorship, Dr. Van West Charles will now present his letter of credence for acceptance to the post in Caracas.

On Tuesday, Dr. Van West Charles also spoke briefly of his departure to Venezuela and said he looks forward to serving Guyana in this capacity.

Dr Richard Van West Charles (left) and Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud

In a post to his Facebook page on Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud wished Dr. Van West Charles well on his assignment.

“Wishing a successful tour of duty to our new Ambassador to Venezuela Dr. Van West Charles as he prepares for Caracas,” Persaud said.

He confirmed that the date of departure will be January 15 after which Dr. Van West Charles will present his letters of credence to the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro.

Guyana was awaiting Venezuela’s acceptance of the diplomat’s credentials for several months.

Dr Van West Charles is the son-in-law of late Guyanese President Forbes Burnham, who was also the founding leader of the PNC.

He served as Head of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) under the former APNU+AFC administration.

He takes up the post amid heightened tensions in the decades-old Guyana/Venezuela border controversy but said he will ensure that the two sides continue to talk on issues until there is a final resolution at the International Court of Justice.

Dr. Van West Charles believes dialogue at this time is important to ensure the South America, Latin America and the Caribbean region remains a zone of peace.

Venezuela held a December 3 referendum that many feared would be used to greenlight a potential seizure of two-thirds of Guyana’s territory- the entire Essequibo region- that the Spanish-speaking nation has claimed for decades.

Subsequently, President Maduro issued a redrawn Venezuelan map that includes Guyana’s territory, told investors to leave and planned activities in the Essequibo region.

Guyana has maintained that the territory is its own after an 1899 Arbitral Award determined the boundary between the two countries as is internationally-recognised. Because of Venezuelan aggressions and decades of failed talks, Guyana eventually took the border controversy to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) where the case is ongoing. Guyana hopes for a final, binding judgement that affirms that the Essequibo is its own.

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