RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The government of Nicolás Maduro rejected on Wednesday the accusations of the president of Guyana, Mohamed Irfaan Alí, who said that Venezuela tried to “suffocate” the independence of his country, which today celebrates its 55th anniversary, in the framework of the bilateral dispute over the Essequibo region.
“Venezuela strongly rejects the inaccuracies and false accusations contained in the speech delivered by the president of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Mohamed Irfaan Ali, in the framework of the 55th anniversary of the independence of that country,” the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
In the text, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry pointed out that the president of Guyana “distances himself from historical reality to feed a victimizing and negative matrix regarding the just Venezuelan claim over the territory of the Essequiba Guiana, whose origin is before the granting of independence by the United Kingdom to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.”
The Essequibo Guiana is a territory of 159,500 square kilometers that has been in dispute between Guyana and Venezuela for almost two hundred years, and the controversy is currently in the hands of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), although Venezuela rejects the court’s jurisdiction and is appealing to a negotiated solution.
In its communiqué, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry also emphasized that “exactly 55 years ago, Venezuela was the first country to recognize the Cooperative Republic of Guyana as an emerging sovereign state” and congratulated the neighboring country on its anniversary its independence.
Guyana’s president said in a speech for the anniversary of his country’s independence that one could not remember the moment of emancipation “without also remembering Venezuela’s efforts to prevent it.”
“While we were freeing ourselves from Britain’s colonial cordon, the Venezuelan government sought to stifle our birth by falsely claiming two-thirds of our country,” he said.