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The sustained aggression perpetrated by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela concerning a significant portion of Guyana’s territory is geopolitics with intent to colonise Guyana. It is not a territorial dispute, as touted on the global stage. I shall hasten to provide a succinct expose of this perspective.
In the first instance, it is important to establish what a “dispute” denotes. A “dispute” is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “an argumentative contention or debate, a controversy or a disagreement between two people, groups, or countries”. Guyana has not been in contention or disagreement with Venezuela over Essequibo. Guyana has merely responded to Venezuela’s sporadic—and these days sustained—aggressive utterances and actions concerning Guyana’s territory and sovereignty, reasserting that Essequibo is, inalienably, Guyana’s territory. So, there has been no dispute.
Moreover, effective messaging of crucial concepts is important. In the face of sustained aggression and psychological warfare waged on Guyana by Venezuela, Guyanese and the Powers That Be ought to cease propagating the idea that Guyana is in “dispute” over Essequibo; Guyanese and the Powers That Be ought to cease propagating the vernacular statement, “Essequibo is we own”, and be wise about the reality that this pervasive parlance—though admittedly catchy—is inadvertently nonsensical and geopolitically acquiescent. Ownership connotes discreteness of entities. In order for something to be owned, it has to be divisible from its owner. Essequibo is inextricably connected to the remaining landmass that constitutes the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. Guyana does not “own” Essequibo; Essequibo does not “belong” to Guyana. Essequibo IS Guyana.
It is pertinent to assert unequivocally that Essequibo is not the equivalent of Jammu and Kashmir over which India and Pakistan have territorial claims; Essequibo is not the equivalent of the West Bank and East Jerusalem over which Israel and Palestine are in conflict; Essequibo is not the equivalent of the Korean Peninsula over which North Korea and South Korea have administrative clashes; Essequibo is not the equivalent of Crimea over which Russia and Ukraine are at war; Essequibo is not the equivalent of Gibraltar over which the United Kingdom and Spain have treaty-interpretation and border disputes. Essequibo is not a border or an island out in the Atlantic, separate from the rest of Guyana. Essequibo is, has always been, and must continue to be Guyana.
By juridical settlement, and the principle of effective occupation, Essequibo IS Guyana, and any attempt by any country to annex Essequibo must be acknowledged and treated as an incursion on national sovereignty, an exercise in imperialism and capitalism, and an attempt to colonise Guyana. Oh, and is history replete with examples of the resistance with which colonialism has been met!