Exxon Discovery Pours Oil on Venezuela-Guyana Dispute

EspañolAn oil discovery in a disputed offshore territory near the borders of Venezuela and Guyana has reignited diplomatic tensions between the two nations.

On Tuesday, June 9, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry issued a statement demanding that Guyana halt the oil exploration being conducted by US oil giant Exxon Mobil, accusing the neighboring country of “attempting to create an artificial crisis.”

Venezuela contends that the actions of the Guyanese government in the disputed territory “constitute a provocation against Bolivarian diplomacy of peace.”

“The new government of Guyana shows a dangerous political provocation against a peaceful Venezuela, supported by the imperial power of an American transnational, Exxon Mobil,” Minister Delcy Rodríguez said.

Rodríguez added that Guyana is unfairly exploiting a territory that the two nations agreed to mutually negotiate in a 1966 treaty signed in Geneva.

Guyana's newly elected president, David Granger, calls Maduro's attempts to prevent their oil exploration a "violation of international law."
Guyana’s newly elected president, David Granger, calls Maduro’s attempts to prevent their oil exploration a “violation of international law.” (Wikimedia)

On Monday, the Guyanese government denounced a May 27 territorial decree issued by President Nicolás Maduro as a threat to their national sovereignty and an attempt to annex its waters. “Any attempt by Venezuela to implement this instrument in any extraterritorial way will be aggressively resisted,” they said.

Guyana’s newly elected president, David Granger, previously called the decree a “flagrant violation of international law.”

For his part, President Maduro has placed the blame for the latest dispute on the shoulders of the North American oil company. “Exxon Mobil is behind all this,” he said in a televised speech on Tuesday.

“I hope … the Guyanese president can reflect and take the necessary steps for a process of dialogue and abandon grandiloquent discourse and stop listening to the bad, pernicious and wrong advice from Exxon Mobil and the officials it has bought.”

Exxon Mobil began drilling in area known as the Stabroek Block off the coast of Guyana in March. The territory spans 159,500 square kilometers and is rich in gold, bauxite, diamonds, wood, and oil.

Sources: El Nacional, El Espectador.

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