Guyana’s newly found oil wealth has inspired impoverished Venezuela to make more bizarre claims on its sovereignty, including insisting that it really owns three-quarters of the country.
For more than a century, Venezuela and Guyana have been arguing about where their border should be. Last week, that long-running territorial dispute erupted again when Venezuela’s regime — and even its political opposition — issued an unusual joint statement insisting that three-quarters of Guyana actually belongs to it.
Guyana angrily called Venezuela's latest turf declaration “an overt threat to [our] sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
“The claim by Venezuela on Guyana is not only absurd in terms of the basis of the claim but in terms of the size of the claim,” said Carl Greenidge, a former vice-president of Guyana and a representative in this case at the UN's International Court of Justice, or World Court, in The Hague. “It is not a logical story.”
Venezuela has created a map that includes a "zone in reclamation" - 61,000 square miles of Guyana west of the Essequibo River, or El Esequibo in Spanish. The dispute has intensified in recent years since oil fields worth billions of dollars were discovered in Guyanese waters.