The International Court of Justice in The Hague is considering the territorial dispute between Venezuela and Guayana

The International Court of Justice in The Hague is considering

Yesterday Tuesday, before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Guyana denounced Caracas’ proposed referendum on the annexation of Essequibo, an oil-rich region which represents no less than two-thirds of Guyana. This Wednesday, it is Venezuela’s turn to plead its case.

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Caracas has for years claimed the Essequibo region, where about a fifth of the population of Guyana, a former colony of Britain and the Netherlands, lives. Taking control would be all the more interesting for Venezuela since last month there was a major oil discovery in this region – 10 billion barrels.

By its referendum, announced in SeptemberCaracas intends to reject theagreement of 1899, which had fixed the border between the two countries and which, according to him, was imposed on him in a fraudulent manner. Guyana obviously rejects this referendum, and is taking the matter to the International Court of Justice.

Read alsoVenezuela: President Nicolas Maduro raises his voice against Guyana

It is no exaggeration to describe the threat currently weighing on Guyana as “existential”, which is the term used by Georgetown. Only the court can protect Guyana and its rights from the irreparable harm that would certainly be done to it if Venezuela were allowed to take this step and seize and annex the territory.

Venezuela’s lawyers address the court on Wednesday. The country’s Vice President, Delcy Rodriguez, has already responded, calling Guyana’s plea lies and manipulation. Affirming that the country is “ the heir to territory that the UK stole from Venezuela”. And brushing aside his accusations of military preparations.