The judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) They ordered this Friday to Venezuela to refrain from taking any action that could alter the current situation in a potentially oil-rich territory that is the subject of a border dispute with Guyanawhich controls the area.
The court did not expressly prohibit Venezuela from holding the referendum planned for December 3 on their rights to the region around the Essequibo River, the subject of the long-running border dispute, as requested by Guyana.
However, the judges made it clear that any concrete action to alter the status quo.
Guyana asked the court in November to issue emergency measures to stop the referendum vote. Venezuela said the lawsuit interfered with its internal affairs and constitutional order.
Guyana’s president, Irfaan Ali, welcomed the ruling. “As the Court has made clear, Venezuela is prohibited from annexing or invading Guyanese territory or taking any other action – regardless of the result of its referendum – that alters the status quo in which Guyana administers and controls the Essequibo region,” he said in a statement. release.
The ruling is an opportunity for Venezuela to show respect for international law, said Ali, who added that he trusts that the court will end up issuing a final ruling in favor of Guyana.
The International Court of Justice, as the World Court is formally known, ruled in April that it had jurisdiction over the territorial question. But it could take years to reach a final ruling on that main case.
For its part, the regime Venezuela celebrated this Friday that the ICJ did not order the suspension of the referendum.
“Specifically, Guyana’s requests were rejected,” said Chavista Vice President Delcy Rodríguez in front of journalists and recalled that Guyana had asked the Court to suspend the popular consultation or modify some of its questions.
Rodríguez considered that, with these measures, the international court marks Guyana as a “de facto occupier” of the area, while asking it to put an end to the granting of concessions to oil companies to explore in areas that Venezuela considers “pending to be delimited.”
Although the ICJ considered that the holding of this referendum constitutes a real risk of harm against Guyana, Venezuela reiterated that it “will continue with the preparations” for this consultation, which has monopolized all the efforts of State institutions in recent weeks.
The referendum asks Venezuelans five questions, including whether they agree with Caracas’ position of rejecting the ICJ’s jurisdiction over the Essequibo region, a territory between Venezuela and Guyana, and accepting a plan to incorporate it and create a state called Guayana Esequiba. It would also grant its population Venezuelan citizenship.