Venezuela’s Socialists Redraw Maps, Create Military Wing to Annex Most of Guyana

Venezuela's National Assembly President Jorge Rodriguez shows the new map of Venezuel

CARACAS, Venezuela — Socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro announced Tuesday evening that his regime’s lawmakers will immediately begin creating a new state in the contested Essequibo territory that constitutes two-thirds of neighboring Guyana.

Maduro is seeking the full annexation of the Essequibo following the “binding” results of a national referendum, widely dismissed as a sham, that took place Sunday.

Maduro also announced his regime will immediately begin granting oil, gas, and mining exploration licenses in the contested territory as part of a broader list of actions his socialist regime will carry out to annex the Essequibo territory.

The regime-controlled National Assembly will begin working toward creating a law for the state of Guayana Esequiba on Wednesday.

“This organic law is in your hands, deputies, you will implement the consultation mechanisms with the popular power, the academies and the religious, economic and political sectors,” Maduro said.

The Maduro regime carried out a sham referendum on Sunday that “asked” for approval to annex the Essequibo region, a territory currently administered by neighboring Guyana and that both countries have disputed for more than 120 years.

Despite extensive footage showing low voter turnout — and in some cases, completely barren electoral centers — the socialist regime claimed that more than 10 million votes were cast in favor of annexing the Essequibo region, an amount much higher than any previous sham election “results” held by the Maduro regime.

The longstanding territorial dispute remained relatively dormant until Guyana discovered oil and gas in the region and brokered a deal with Houston-based ExxonMobil to begin extracting oil. Maduro has repeatedly accused ExxonMobil of being part of a conspiracy by the United States to colonize South America.

Maduro said that new Essequibo-related divisions will be created for Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA and state iron and steelmaker CVG, both of which will allegedly grant licenses to explore and exploit Essequibo’s oil, gas, and mineral resources. 

Maduro also warned oil companies currently legally extracting oil in the territory through negotiations with Guyana that they have a “three-month” deadline to stop their operations.

“I ask that these companies be given three months to withdraw from the sea to be delimited. We are open to talk. In good terms, everything, in bad terms, nothing. Respect for international law, for the laws, for good coexistence,” Maduro said.

Maduro did not clarify what his regime will do after the three-month deadline passes.

Additionally, the socialist dictator proposed the discussion of a “very firm” rule to prohibit contracting with companies currently operating there partnered with Guyana.

PDVSA, which had been heavily sanctioned in 2019 by the administration of former President Donald Trump in response to the Maduro regime’s myriad human rights violations, is currently benefiting from a generous sanctions relief package granted by the Biden administration in October. Biden greenlit transactions related to the “production, lifting, sale, and exportation of oil or gas from Venezuela, and provision of related goods and service” and allows for “new investment in oil or gas sector operations in Venezuela.” It is unclear if the terms of the sanctions relief would extend to ventures in the Essequibo.

Maduro also announced the creation of an “integral defense zone” for the region and a temporary administrative office for the Essequibo region to be located in the town of Tumeremo, Bolivar state. Maduro designated Venezuelan General Alexis Rodríguez Cabello as the Essequibo region’s “sole authority.”

The socialist dictator ordered that all schools, universities, and households in the country be provided with a new map of Venezuela that includes the contested region. 

Historically, and because the territorial dispute between Venezuela and Guyana predates the arrival of the socialist Bolivarian Revolution to power by over a century, Venezuelan schools have always taught children to include the Essequibo region as part of Venezuela. The schools have marked the area, however, as a “zone in reclamation,” distinctively highlighted with oblique lines to contrast with Venezuela’s undisputed territory.

Maduro – whose socialist regime is a known chronic polluter – claimed that his regime will carry out measures aimed at the “protection and recovery” of Essequibo’s biodiversity by creating a special law to such an end and to “promote tourism and care for the fauna and flora.”

Guyanese President Irfaan Alí described Maduro’s announcements as a “direct threat” against his country in a video posted on the Guyanese Presidency’s official Facebook page, announcing that he will take the matter to the United Nations Security Council “so that this organism may take the appropriate measures.”

“We will not allow our territory to be violated, nor will we allow the development of our country to be hindered by this desperate threat,” Ali said.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled this year that it has jurisdiction over the Essequibo dispute; however, there is no set date yet for a final ruling, and said the ruling is reportedly years away from materializing.

The Maduro regime has insisted that it does not does not recognize the ICJ’s jurisdiction over the matter, ignoring a binding injunction issued out on Friday that ordered Venezuela to refrain from “taking any action” that could affect the territorial dispute, including holding Sunday’s sham referendum.

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.


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