Statement by the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana

The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana has taken careful note of the issuance by the National Electoral Council of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela of five questions to be asked in the national referendum scheduled for December 3, 2023.

Among other questions, all of which are intended to further Venezuela’s unlawful and unfounded claim to more than two-thirds of Guyana’s national territory, question five is the most pernicious: it brazenly seeks the approval of the Venezuelan people of the creation of a new Venezuelan State consisting of Guyana’s Essequibo Region, which would be incorporated into the national territory of Venezuela, and the granting of Venezuelan citizenship to the population.

This amounts to nothing less than the annexation of Guyana’s territory, in blatant violation of the most fundamental rules of the UN Charter, the OAS Charter and general international law. Such a seizure of Guyana’s territory would constitute the international crime of aggression.

The Government of Guyana categorically rejects any attempt to undermine the territorial integrity of the sovereign State of Guyana. The Government finds abhorrent that the Essequibo region which forms part of the territory of Guyana in accordance with the 1899 Arbitral Award that demarcated the boundaries of the States of Venezuela and then British Guiana, should be ‘created’ into a State within Venezuela. Further, the Government rejects the internationally unlawful act to put forward the ‘granting of citizenship and Venezuelan identity cards in accordance with the Geneva Agreement and international law’. It is by way of the Geneva Agreement and the principles of international law that the question of the validity of the Arbitral Award of 1899 has been put before the International Court of Justice. That Court has ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear this case. Guyana has repeatedly encouraged Venezuela to participate in the case. The people of Guyana remain resolute against any threats to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their country.

Neither the Government or the people of one country have the right in international law to seize, annexe or take the territory of another country. International law emphatically prohibits this.

The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana calls the attention of the international community to the actions being carried out by the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela which have the potential to incite violence and to threaten the peace and security of the State of Guyana and by extension the Caribbean region.

October 23, 2023

  • CopyRight @ 2009 Embassy of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Beijing, China