Statement from the OAS General Secretariat Regarding Recent Actions from the Regime in Venezuela towards Guyana
December 7, 2023
The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) expresses a sense of urgency and gravity regarding the aggressive stance of the Maduro regime of Venezuela towards the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, which has escalated to a point of significant concern for regional security and constitutes a matter that threatens the stability and territorial sovereignty within our hemisphere.
It is imperative to recall that the boundary established in 1899 by an international Arbitration Committee is in force and legally binding on all parties under international law. This award is currently reinforced by proceedings and decisions at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). These proceedings were mandated by the United Nations Secretary General in accordance with the terms of a 1966 agreement signed in Geneva by representatives of the governments of Venezuela and Guyana.
The Maduro regime is continuing to take and promote unlawful actions against Guyana, such as conducting an illegal and illegitimate referendum on December 3, 2023, by which it seeks to annex the Essequibo region. This action was taken not only in flagrant disregard for international law and decisions of the ICJ but also, once more, with an undemocratic use of democratic processes.
The Venezuelan regime had already pursued other aggressive actions before the referendum, including several incidents and acts of intimidation. These illegal actions have escalated and now the violations of the recent decision of the International Court of Justice are flagrant: the Venezuelan dictatorship is adopting jurisdictional actions in matters of defense, nationality, administration and economics in clear violation of the jurisdiction and territorial integrity of another State.
It must be also especially taken into account that the Venezuelan regime has been in permanent violation of the universal regulations of Human Rights -as attested by reports from the United Nations system- and of the inter-American regulations of Human Rights -as attested by reports from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The authorities of the regime are being investigated before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity; the Venezuelan regime has been a stubborn and persistent violator of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, it has generated by its own actions the worst migratory crisis in the Hemisphere and the worst humanitarian crisis in the hemisphere, apart from the corruption trials referring to PDVSA and drug trafficking trials that involved circles close to the dictatorship.
The recent actions taken by the regime in Venezuela not only jeopardize the development and stability of Guyana, but also pose a broader risk to the security of Latin America and the Caribbean – a situation that has been repeatedly condemned by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
In light of these developments, and with the ICJ decision on provisional measures against Venezuela on December 1, 2023, the General Secretariat reaffirms and endorses the request for a meeting of the OAS Permanent Council as soon as possible. This meeting would aim to discuss possible measures to mitigate this crisis and explore solutions that respect international law and regional stability.