President, Dr. Irfaan Ali’s presence at last week’s meeting of 12 South American leaders in Brazil was crucial as it offered a significant opportunity to advance the justness of Guyana’s border controversy case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
So said Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo at a recent press conference.
On Tuesday last, Ali joined Brazil’s President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for a meeting which included Venezuela’s President, Nicolás Maduro who has been on an aggressive campaign of wrongfully claiming a portion of Guyana’s territory.
Jagdeo appeared unbothered that Lula had, at that forum, denounced US sanctions against Venezuela while calling for the Spanish-speaking territory to be welcomed in the new era of regional integration.
Though Lula’s display of affection did spark global criticisms, Jagdeo said this is indeed the type of display one might expect in regional politics. In fact, the Vice President said the ideology of South American peace is one that Guyana embraces. He noted, for example, that the world’s latest petro-state has been an important member of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), a body created in 2008 to strengthen the economic and cultural ties of South American nations. Jagdeo said Guyana has hosted several UNASUR meetings and is considered an important member due to its efforts.
The Vice President said, “UNASUR has helped us enormously in Guyana because in the early days, people had a different view that somehow we didn’t act as though we belonged to this continent and we didn’t have a Latin or Southern focus. We disproved all of that by having these conversations at the technical level and then at the political level…”
Given the government’s intention to maintain those relations, VP Jagdeo said attending the meeting last week was a manifestation of its appreciation for those ideologies that push an integration of region and people.
More importantly, Jagdeo said having Venezuela at the meeting along with the collective weight of likeminded leaders was an opportunity for Guyana to impress upon the Venezuelans that the ICJ is the preferred course of resolving this aged-long controversy and the results should be respected.
“..so it does help by being there and even helping those who may have a different view given that Venezuela has been aggressive with its advocacy, particularly among Latin states,” he said.
The Vice President added that the government will resolve to use every platform to advance a more factual view of the history of the case and the justness of the Guyana perspective.