Posted: Saturday, September 23, 2023. 3:57 am CST.
By Horace Palacio: The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) issued a statement of grave concern regarding Venezuela’s reaction to Guyana’s announcement about opening bids for oil blocks near its coast. CARICOM considers Venezuela’s stated intention to “apply all the necessary measures” to prevent operations licensed by Guyana as a threat to the use of force, contravening international law.
The Caribbean Community views this move as incompatible with the established position that Latin America and the Caribbean should remain a Zone of Peace. “Venezuela’s recent actions and statements stand in direct opposition to the aspirations of the Caribbean community for peace and respectful coexistence,” said a CARICOM spokesperson.
CARICOM has also expressed its views on Venezuela’s National Assembly’s decision to conduct a popular referendum concerning the border dispute. The community urges Venezuela to fully engage in the proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ has already determined that it has jurisdiction in the case between Guyana and Venezuela, and a final ruling is expected to bring a peaceful and equitable resolution in accordance with international law.
CARICOM reiterated its “full and unequivocal support” for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. The community endorses Guyana’s right to peacefully develop its resources, including the disputed oil blocks. The statement is seen as a significant show of unity within CARICOM, which comprises 15 Member States and five Associate Members.
The Caribbean Community’s statement marks a pivotal moment in the long-standing border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela. By explicitly supporting Guyana and urging Venezuela to adhere to international law, CARICOM is taking a firm stance on an issue that could potentially disrupt peace and stability in the Caribbean region.
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