Venezuelans cast their votes in a referendum on Guyana

Venezuelans cast their votes in a referendum on Guyana

Caracas. Venezuelans vote this Sunday in A Referendum No obligation regarding dispute with Guyana across lands Essequibo They are confident that their country will win the battle for this region, which has an area of ​​about 160,000 square kilometers and is rich in natural resources.

At a polling station in Caracas, Oscar Guzmán, a retiree, told EFE that, at 76 years old, he already has “about 50 years waiting to give this Essequibo” to his country.

“Essequibo is ours, we are fighting for Essequibo, and I came to vote because I am Venezuelan“, said Guzmán, an opinion shared by most people consulted after the vote in the early hours of the day, and which, in addition, some hope will Consultation works to make the government more radical And act according to the result.

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In this same center – a high school in the center of the capital – architect Maximiliano Ovalos said he was confident that the results of the participation would be “overwhelming,” so he hoped that President Nicolas Maduro would “take charge.” “After the consultation, which among its five questions raises the inclusion of the territory on the Venezuelan map.

This high school opened its doors an hour later than scheduled, which was 6:00 local time (10:00 GMT), a schedule that other voting centers in Caracas did not adhere to, EFE confirmed.

The head of the National Electoral Council, Elvis Amoroso, noted that at “six in the morning” 75% of the 15,857 voting centers were open.

Many people wore T-shirts with a map of the disputed territory or phrases such as “El Essequibo is Vinotinto,” a reference to the name of the national soccer team.

Voters considered that the voting process was simple, and consisted of answering the five questions in the machine, which printed a voting receipt that they had to deposit in a box, a procedure that was explained on posters outside the centers.

One of the first to participate was the Head of State, who affirmed that his country would emerge “stronger” from the referendum, and expressed his hope that it would be possible for “the seat of the President of Guyana”, Irfaan Ali, to resume the referendum. The Geneva Agreement as a formula for resolving the dispute through a “peaceful negotiation” mechanism.

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According to CNE, 20 thousand 69 million Citizens will be able to vote in the consultation, which also proposes implementing a “rapid plan” to serve the region’s residents, granting citizenship and an identity document.

The day is scheduled to close at 6:00 pm local time, a time with the possibility of being extended in those centers where there are still people in queues.

A total of 356,513 soldiers are deployed to guard the referendum, with the support of 51,778 police officers to maintain order and security, according to the government, which claimed to have taken precautions against “possible sabotage plots.”

Irfaan Ali, President of Guyana, sent a message on Facebook to Venezuelans. “I want to say to Venezuela that this is an opportunity for you to show maturity and show responsibility (…) We ask you once again to join us to show responsibility and maturity and let the rule of law work and determine the future of the country.” result of this controversy.” In turn, Guyanese organized a demonstration in favor of “preserving” Essequibo.

Guyana asked international justice Court (The International Court of Justice), which declared this year that it had jurisdiction to rule on this case, is taking measures to “obstruct” the referendum, and although this court in The Hague did not directly request yesterday to cancel the holding of that consultation, it urged Caracas to do so. “Refrain” from taking “any action that would modify” the situation in the region.

Read also Venezuela will review exclusion of opposition member Corinna Machado; Paving the way for his presidential candidacy

Venezuela claims Guyana’s sovereignty over an area of ​​167,839 square kilometers located west of the Essequibo River, which represents two-thirds of today’s territory of Guyana, an area whose territorial waters lie. Rich in oil -The second largest untapped oil reserve in the world with high quality crude oil.

In addition, enjoy the area Coal depositsAnd precious stones, it is an important reserve for plants and animals.

Disputes over border boundaries began with the Paris Arbitration Award on October 3, 1899, which gave sovereignty over the territory to then-British Guiana. Venezuela denounced the resolution before the United Nations in 1962, and since then, despite an agreement to seek a negotiated solution reached in 1966, litigation has continued, with some incidents.

On April 6, 2023, the International Court of Justice ruled in favor of accepting the case, sparking protests from Venezuela.

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