Tensions in America: Venezuela's regime said in a statement on Monday that voters in Sunday's referendum voted to annex Guyana Askiba, a territory that makes up two-thirds of neighboring Guyana.
According to local media reports, 95 percent of voters voted in favor of annexation, a formalized process that confirms Venezuela's longstanding claim to the territory, which was transferred to Guyana back in the 19th century, when it was a British colony.
Celebrations in Venezuela after the referendum to annex territory from Guyana // Photo: Reuters
Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro gave a speech in front of supporters in the capital Caracas, saying: "This is a great victory for our country, for our democracy. The high participation rate from all walks of life is very important." Despite the regime's past interference in election campaigns and opposition suppression, public support for Venezuela's annexation is high, uniting both the right, which opposes the regime, and the left, which supports it.
However, Reuters reported sparse voter attendance at polling stations and a lack of long lines indicating high turnout. Despite this, representatives of the National Election Commission chose to extend the time for voting by two hours, claiming that there were huge queues.
Sparse attendance and military personnel at polling stations in Venezuela's referendum, photo: Reuters
Whether the turnout was indeed high or not, the decision made at the ballot box could have far-reaching implications. Reports from inside the country about the deployment of troops at airports that would serve as forward bases for the invasion were published in several media outlets and the Brazilian army, which shares a border with the disputed region, announced increased alert.
Guyana Escobe is a vast area of almost 160 thousand square kilometers inhabited by extraordinary sparseness. The entire region is home to less than a quarter of a million people, the vast majority of whom live in coastal Atlantic regions. Inland is a mountainous and inaccessible area of jungle and streams, with only a few settlements. Venezuela, a country whose economy is largely based on oil and natural gas exports, wants untapped deposits that may be in Guyana Esquiba. Militarily, the Guyana army is immeasurably smaller than its Venezuelan counterpart, and aside from enormous logistical challenges, it is difficult to see how it will be able to resist the invasion.
Wrong? We'll fix it! If you find a mistake in the article, please share with us