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Venezuela holds referendum on annexation of part of Guyana on December 3

Venezuela holds referendum on annexation of part of Guyana on December 3 Photo: Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela (

Venezuela is preparing to hold a referendum on the annexation of a part of neighboring Guyana tomorrow, December 3. The United Nations urges refraining from any actions that could escalate the conflict, according to Deutsche Welle.

In recent days, tensions between Venezuela and Guyana have been escalating. The countries are disputing the Essequibo region, which is rich in significant oil reserves.

During the colonial era, Spain declared ownership of this region within the borders of Venezuela, but this move was not recognized by other colonial powers, including Great Britain and the Netherlands.

In 1899, when Guyana was under British rule, a tribunal, supported by the United States and Russia, ruled that control over the region should belong to Great Britain.

In recent decades, Venezuela has continued to claim this region, and the dispute intensified after the American oil giant ExxonMobil discovered oil in Essequibo in 2015.

Referendum in Venezuela

Tomorrow's voting in Venezuela aims to cast doubt on the 1899 tribunal decision, which, according to Caracas, was imposed fraudulently.

According to reports, during the referendum, Venezuelans will be asked whether to reject this decision or not.

The referendum also raises the question of whether Venezuela should also reject the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in this dispute and whether to grant Venezuelan citizenship to residents of the annexed Essequibo state.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his allies are urging voters to answer "yes" to all questions in Sunday's vote.

In turn, Guyana has warned that the referendum will open the way for Caracas to the unilateral and illegal annexation of the region.

A lawyer representing the country warned judges that "military preparations are already underway" on the part of Venezuela for the forced implementation of the referendum results, which Caracas denies.

UN position
Guyana has appealed to the International Court of Justice to stop the planned referendum, but the court's decision did not specifically refer to the vote.

Instead, the court ordered Venezuela to "refrain from any actions that might change the situation on the disputed territory."

The judges also required both parties to "refrain from any actions that could worsen or prolong the dispute being considered by the court or make its resolution more difficult."

The International Court of Justice handles disputes between states, and while its decisions are legally binding, it does not have the authority to enforce them.

The situation in neighboring Brazil

Recently, we reported that Brazil, in response to territorial disputes with its neighbors, Guyana and Venezuela, "strengthened defensive actions" along its northern border.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently warned of other conflicts that could erupt worldwide. He noted that the conflict in Israel may not end the disputes.

Details on where a new conflict could erupt worldwide can be found in the material by RBC-Ukraine.