Venezuela President Hails Vote In Favour Of Annexing Disputed Guyana Region – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

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Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has hailed a ‘Yes’ vote in Sunday’s referendum, favouring annexation of the disputed resource-rich Essequibo region of Guyana.

The region comprises over two-thirds of Guyana’s territory.

“Long live the victory of all the people in a historic consultative referendum that has put Venezuela on its feet,” TeleSUR news network quoted President Maduro as saying after the vote.

“We have taken the first steps of a new historical stage to fight for our Guayana Esequiba and for peace, and to recover what the liberators left us. The people spoke loud and clear,” Maduro asserted.

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Sunday’s Venezuela referendum occurred despite Friday’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) order that Caracas should maintain the status quo.

Guyana has long ruled Essequibo.

The referendum asked questions, including if voters agreed with creating a new state called Guayana Esequiba in the Essequibo region.

It would involve granting the region’s population Venezuelan citizenship and identity cards and incorporating that state into the map of Venezuelan territory.

In effect, the referendum has rejected the jurisdiction of the ICJ in resolving the border dispute.

Caracas has said the two countries should resolve the issue.

In addition, it claims since 2015, Guyana decided to break off diplomatic dialogue, join the aggression imposed by the United States against Venezuela, and violate international law by allowing oil exploration and exploitation in the disputed area.

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council said the ‘YES’ vote on all five referendum questions exceeded 95 percent.

The Council disclosed that it counted over 10.5 million votes.

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