Venezuela aims to connect the Essequibo through infrastructural projects – Commander Venezuelan Armed Forces

May 15, 2024 in International

One day after two U.S. fighter jets flew over Guyana; Venezuela’s Strategic Operational Commander of its National Armed Forces (FANB), Major General Domingo Hernández Larez announced his country is seeking to link the Essequibo via infrastructural projects.

The Two U.S. Navy aircraft made a flyover Guyana’s coast on Thursday in an exercise deemed by Venezuela as an act of provocation and violation of the Argyle Agreement signed between the two countries in St Vincent and the Grenadines late last year.

However, on Friday, Larez said that Venezuela will make the link with Guyana through “Interconnection tracks”. According to the Major General, his government has already commenced this process of connecting Venezuela with the Essequibo by building a bridge across the Cuyuni River – a River that separates Guyana’s Eteringbang, a Region Seven village that shares a border with Venezuela’s San Martin.

The bridge connects Venezuela with the Island of Ankoko in the Cuyuni River. Larez even posted videos on his Twitter account (Now X) of a commissioning ceremony of the bridge. Army tanks and military equipment were seen crossing over the bridge to the island, an indication that Venezuela is moving troops and military equipment closer to Guyana’s territory.

Larez called the Bridge a “campaign bridge” and said, “Engineers of the territorial defensive system complied crossing the Cuyuni River through the campaign bridge to bring harmony and progress to our territory of the Guyana Essequibo State”.

He then added, “Machinery will pass, we will build schools, universities, health centers, supply centers, interconnection tracks, commerce and many other productive projects in favour of our fellow Essequibans”.

Should Venezuela continue with its plan to connect with the Essequibo, the move would be a breach of International Law.

Kaieteur News has made several attempts to contact President Irfaan Ali, Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud and the country’s Advisor on Borders Carl Greenidge on the matter but all calls were unanswered. Messages were also sent to the authorities but up to press time no response was received.

The Guyana Venezuela border controversy case is currently before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Last year, the Court ordered Venezuela not to take any action that would alter Guyana’s control over its Essequibo region.

Venezuela has historically claimed Guyana’s Essequibo region as its own despite its initial acceptance of the 1899 Arbitral Award that gives Guyana control of the Essequibo.

The case finds its genesis in Venezuela’s challenge to the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award of the boundaries that separate the two countries.

After years of fruitless mediation, the two countries were sent to the world court through the United Nation’s (UN) peacekeeping process to settle the controversy once and for all.

Nonetheless, Venezuela has continued to show aggression and take action that has the potential to threaten regional peace.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had deployed troops to the country’s borders with Guyana and launched a campaign to illegally annex the Essequibo region. Despite concerns that his move was a direct threat to peace in the region, Maduro continued his aggression by saying that his military exercise was targeting illegal mining in Venezuelan territories.

Not long after, the Venezuelan leader moved to unlawfully declare Essequibo as a state of Venezuela. It sparked major tension in the Region and led to Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines organizing a peace talk between Maduro and President Irfaan Ali.

The talks were held at the Argyle International Airport on the island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and resulted in the December 14, 2023 Argyle Declaration signed by the two countries.