Two days after the referendum on the Essequibo, a territory that Venezuela disputes with Guyana, the government of Nicolás Maduro is moving forward to try to enforce what was approved on Sunday in an election that showed almost zero participation in the streets, but that Chavismo has described as a victory with 10.4 million voters. This has reawakened a crisis of credibility for the country's electoral authorities. On Tuesday, Maduro presented on television the new official map of the country with the Essequibo incorporated, without the delimitation in claim, during a Council of State and in Defense of the Nation in which he announced a series of measures and upcoming legislation to concretize the possession of the territory and its resources. Earlier, the president sent a military contingent to Puerto Barima, in the state of Delta Amacuro, on Venezuela's Atlantic border, very close to the limits of the area under claim.
The war of stories has begun. A few weeks ago, Guyana raised a flag on a small hill in the Essequibo. On the day of the referendum, Venezuela's Ministry of Communication released a video in which indigenous people lowered the Guyanese flag and raised the Venezuelan flag. Maduro is now fighting back with everything. A special law announced Tuesday will create a new province or state in the territory, but has already appointed a single provisional authority. He is Major General Alexis Rodríguez Cabello, a deputy for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), who will operate from Tumeremo, the municipality that is the focus of mining exploitation in the southern state of Bolívar, just 100 kilometers and two hours from the town of San Martín de Turumbang, in the area under reclamation.
"We want the peaceful rescue of Guyana Essequiba. Let's start responding to a people who spoke out on December 3!" the president said. "Our Guyana Essequiba has been de facto occupied by the British Empire and its heirs and they have destroyed the area," he added after recalling the agreements that were hatched in the time of Hugo Chávez to create Petrocaribe. Then, Venezuela offered discounted oil to the Caricom countries in exchange for diplomatic support for their Bolivarian revolution, however, in this historic dispute those countries have backed Guyana. "We are a peaceful, unionist people, we have demonstrated it from Petrocaribe, which allowed the social and economic stability of the Caribbean, particularly Guyana, which had the highest development indices at that time and today is in misery," he added
The president ordered PDVSA to draw up a map of exploration and exploitation of resources and also ordered Parliament to draft a law prohibiting oil concessions granted by Guyana in the territorial sea to be delimited, such as the U.S. Exxon Mobile, which has an offshore platform in the area. "We give three months to the companies that are exploiting resources there without permission from Venezuela to get their act together." He also asked the National Assembly to create environmental protection areas and national parks in the territory.
Earlier, a military contingent had been mobilized to Puerto Barima, in the state of Delta Amacuro, on Venezuela's Atlantic border, very close to the limits of the area in claim, which Venezuela and Guyana are abrogating. This is a lawsuit that dates back to 1777, when the Captaincy General of Venezuela included that piece of 160,000 square kilometers within the same map that neither when it was under the kingdom of Spain nor after independence, was occupied by Venezuela, which was done by British Guiana, which in 1899 managed to set limits in the Paris Arbitral Award in a process that has been described as rigged. Two centuries later, the head of the National Armed Forces' Strategic Operational Command, Domingo Hernández Lárez, has posted images on his social networks of Venezuelan soldiers providing health care to the indigenous communities living in the area. In one of the messages he posted, he posted photos of trucks with construction materials and the message "Heading to the Guiana Shield in support of the integral development of the nation."