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In a bold and deeply concerning move, President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela has taken aggressive steps towards asserting control over the Essequibo region, an undisputed territory of Guyana. The recent declaration from the Venezuelan General Assembly, chaired by President Maduro, outlines a comprehensive plan for integrating the Essequibo into Venezuela’s national framework. This includes the creation of the “High Commission for the Defence of the Essequibo,” headed by the Vice-President, and various initiatives such as PDVSA Essequibo and CVG Essequibo for resource exploitation, a new educational map including Essequibo as Venezuelan territory, and plans for social and environmental programs in the region.
This misguided and unilateral action by Venezuela, however, is more than a territorial controversy; it reflects a deeper, greed-driven aggression that challenges the norms of international law and respect for sovereign nations. The creation of the “Guayana Essequiba Integral Defense Zone”; even if only to scam the Venezuelan people, and the appointment of Major General Rodriguez Cabello as the sole authority in the region is a blatant and ugly display of abuse of power and a disregard for Guyana’s sovereignty.
On the other side, the response from the Guyanese government has been, at best, tepid and, at worst, a glaring example of incompetence. There is video proof that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) leadership, in an attempt to appease Venezuela, offered its leader a pathway to the sea. The PPP also neglected to deploy all of its people (including the opposition) to harness international support and even enacted policies such as the school outreach intervention, to stymie any perceived meaningful opposition contribution. Such diplomatic and leadership missteps have left Guyana virtually isolated and vulnerable at a time when unity and strong international alliances are crucial.
Moreover, the Guyanese government’s recent decision to recruit reservists, who will be predominantly from the African community, amidst a backdrop of rampant racial discrimination, once again raises serious concerns about internal social stability and the equitable treatment of its citizens. This approach, coupled with the historical exploitation of resources by a wealthy few who are now conspicuously absent in the nation’s hour of need, exemplifies a nation in crisis.
Guyana stands at a crossroads, requiring not just a show of military or diplomatic strength, but a unity among all of her people, including the main opposition party and the demonstration of integrity and strategic vision. It is time for leaders who can navigate this complex geopolitical landscape with wisdom, rally international support, and unify the nation internally across racial and economic divides. The situation also demands a response that is grounded in respect for international law, proactive engagement with global partners, and a commitment to the well-being of all Guyanese. The path forward should be one of assertive diplomacy and internal cohesion, not adhocery, and confusion, and certainly neither appeasement nor divisive tactics.
As the madman Maduro pushes forward with his vile plans, the international community must not remain silent. This is not just a regional issue; it is a matter of upholding international principles and supporting a small nation against the aggressive posture of a more powerful neighbor. The future of Guyana, the stability of the region, and the integrity of international borders are at stake.