The Chavista leader of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, announced this Thursday the approval of a decree to establish a new “territory for the development of the Atlantic coast” of the country in Essequibo, an area that has important gas and oil reserves, and that is disputed with Guyana.
«I approve the creation of the territory of the Venezuelan Atlantic front, approved, run and be fulfilled, for Venezuela, for the Essequibo, for the national union, “said President Maduro during a meeting held in the Miraflores Palace with the Council of State and the Defense Council.
Maduro explained that this new text “is part of the battery of actions legal, diplomatic, political and of State to defend “the” sacred rights of 200 years of the Republic “, weeks after the Government of Venezuela rejected the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to declare itself competent over this dispute.
The Venezuelan position is based on the agreement signed in 1966 in Geneva between Venezuela and the United Kingdom, the former colonial power of Guyana, which recognizes that the Essequibo is a disputed territory and establishes a “road map” to resolve it, granting the Secretary General of the United Nations the power to choose a solution path peaceful.
The former head of the UN, Ban Ki Moon, reactivated the good offices in 2017, which remained suspended in 1990, and gave the parties a period of one year to agree. Once time ran out, his successor, António Guterres, decided to send the case to the ICJ.
Maduro has explained that this «strategic area of national development “, has” the purpose of providing adequate protection and safeguarding the jurisdiction of Venezuela “in the continental, maritime, air spaces, as well as its resources and wealth and other interests that are found or discovered.
Although Maduro has made reference to some of the articles of the decree, he has indicated that it will be the Vice President, Delcy Rodríguez, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jorge Arreaza, who in the coming days “will give extensive explanations of the constitutional and legal scope of the creation of this special territory.
However, it has read articles four and five of the decree, related to the administration of this new “territory for development of the Atlantic façade », whose “sole authority” will be designated by the President of Venezuela.
A rich region
The Essequibo is a territory of 159,542 kilometers It has important natural resources -oil, gas, mining, hydraulic and forestry- and a great tourist potential.
It is administered by Guyana under an 1899 arbitration award that Venezuela consider null because the secret negotiations, which became known years later, reveal vices of consent.
The fight has taken relevance again internationally since 2016, when the American Exxon Mobil began an oil exploration that year, despite the denunciations of Venezuela, whose sovereignty, it has denounced, it is being threatened again since September when Washington and Guyana announced that they would deploy maritime patrols in the area under the pretext of fighting drug trafficking.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism