The President of the National Electoral Council of Venezuela, Elvis Amoroso, delivered a second bulletin containing the results of the consultative referendum called in that country on the territorial claim to Guyana. The statement that It was intended to clarify doubts raised by the first presentation on Sunday evening and left many others.
On the one hand, I love this time Yes, he said there were 10,431,907 voters. (On Sunday he talked about voting, but each voter could vote five times) with 98.16% of the counting already done. However, the data showed an inconsistency compared to the first bulletin: 122,413 fewer voters.
On Sunday, Amoroso had stated, without clarifying the percentage of the test: a number greater than 10.5 million stating that the data would increase as polling stations were still open.
The five questions consulted were each approved with more than 96% of votes, including the question that opens the door to the creation of a province, the “State of Guyana Esequiba”, in the disputed territory and which this country is interpreted as a territorial annexation.
The approved question also addressed the development of “an accelerated plan for comprehensive care of the current and future population of this territory, including, among other things: Granting of citizenship and Venezuelan identity card”.
The 1966 Geneva Convention, which Venezuela claims as its own, leaves the administration of Essequibo to Guyana, following the parameters of the 1899 arbitration award (which Venezuela says is unlawful).
Nicolás Maduro, in the same act and alongside the president of the electoral department, said that this Sunday’s consultation considered this a mandate, questioning that the international press had highlighted this The referendum was “non-binding” and said it aimed to “tarnish and diminish the achievements of the people”.. He blamed them Exxon Mobil and “the Empire of the United States” to stand behind such a campaign.
The ruler explained this The advice is binding for him and it becomes an order. A clarification in the presence of the Chavista deputy Hermann Escarraa member of the parliamentary commission that initiated the call for consultation last September and was the first to explain the non-binding nature of the process.
“Let no one doubt that the consultative referendum is binding and a popular mandate and has marked the beginning of a new stage in the fight for our Guayana Esequiba. We have a plan, a concept, a vision. And I called for continuing to build the great national union of all sectors with great spiritual strength,” he affirmed in his message.
Other points approved include the lack of recognition of the International Court of Justice as a valid authority to decide the border dispute. Nevertheless, the Venezuelan government had declared before the referendum that it would present its arguments next April in the ongoing proceedings on the validity of the 1899 arbitration award that handed over Essequibo to British Guiana, then an English colony, without defending Venezuela.
The Venezuelan state considered this decision illegitimate and claimed to have documents proving its historical ownership of these 160,000 square kilometers and signed the Geneva Convention with the United Kingdom in 1966 to begin diplomatic negotiations on the disputed territory. An agreement that Guyana – independent three months later – does not consider valid. Essequibo accounts for 15% of Venezuelan territory and two-thirds of Guyanese territory.
The territorial dispute remained a dormant issue for decades, described by Hugo Chávez as anachronistic when he was president of Venezuela, until 2015, when large oil reserves were discovered in unlimited waters on the Atlantic coast, which Guyana began to exploit.