Venezuela Votes to Annex Oil-Rich Region in Guyana
A stunning 95 percent of Venezuelan voters called for their nation to annex two thirds of the neighboring nation of Guyana, government authorities said on December 3. More than half of eligible voters took part in the referendum.
We have taken the first steps of a new historic stage in the struggle for what belongs to us, to recover what the liberators left us.
—Nicolás Maduro, Venezuelan president
Regional dispute: The contested Essequibo region covers 61,600 square miles of Guyana’s territory and is home to some 125,000 of the nation’s 800,000 people. The region has been governed by Guyana for over 100 years.
Many Venezuelans continue to claim the region on the grounds that the 19th-century agreement that granted it to Guyana was illegal. The dispute intensified after ExxonMobil discovered oil in the region in 2015.
Guyana fears: Analysts say the likelihood of Venezuela invading Guyana remains low, despite the referendum. But the people of Guyana are nevertheless on alert.
We have to always remain vigilant …. [W]hile we don’t believe [Maduro] will order an invasion … he can do something that can be very unpredictable.
—Hugh Todd, Guyana foreign minister
Todd added that Guyana would maintain its defense cooperation with the United States and other partners to persuade Venezuela to leave the final decision up to the International Court of Justice in the Hague.
Thousands in Guyana took to the streets to make human chains in solidarity with their government, some of them wearing T-shirts that read, “Essequibo belongs to Guyana.”
U.S. weakness: The U.S.’s failure to restrain rising threats such as Iran and Russia has sent a message of weakness around the world. Aggressors in nations such as Venezuela recognize this weakness and hope they can conquer other territories without much interference.
The Bible warns of an era in which modern descendants of Israel—mainly the U.S. and Britain today—would lose their world dominance at the expense of “Gentile” nations such as Russia and Venezuela. In his article “World Leaders Who No Longer Have a Human Mind,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote:
We are deep into the times of the Gentiles already. … The times of the Israelite powers are over!