While the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a ruling on Friday morning, ordering that Venezuela refrains from any action that affects Guyana’s control over the Essequibo Region, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has responded with total disregard. In fact, Venezuelan authorities flocked to their X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook accounts to spread a series of misinformed statements about the ruling as well as Guyana’s initial application for provisional measures.

Guyana’s application was filed in October 2023, against those aspects of Venezuela’s Referendum, set for December 3, which seek to galvanize the support of its people to annex the Essequibo region. The ICJ unanimously ruled against this, noting that Venezuela ought not to take any reckless actions and that both parties refrain from actions that would make the substantive case on the Guyana/Venezuela controversy difficult to resolve.

Venezuelan authorities appeared unmoved as they issued a statement emphasizing non-recognition of the ICJ’s jurisdiction in settling the territorial controversy.

“Venezuela confirms that, faithful to its historical position, it does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice to settle the territorial dispute,” reads the official statement.

Venezuela also said, “The recent decision by the Court, which rejected Guyana’s request to modify the consultative referendum’s parameters, has been denounced by Venezuela as ‘unheard-of and unfounded request’ and ‘unwarranted interference in sovereign matters.’ Nothing in international law allowed the Court to interfere in Venezuelan matters,” the statement declares.

Despite the ICJ’s ruling, Venezuelan authorities said they remain committed to holding the consultative referendum as is on December 3, 2023. “The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela…will go ahead with all the preparations to carry out the consultative referendum,” their statement asserts.

Venezuela also issued additional statements, to the effect that Guyana should refrain from “warlike, aggressive, provocative positions”. It also warned that Guyana should not proceed with other investments or the issuance of permits for development purposes in the area that it continues to make a claim for.

“In no way are we going to allow illegal foreign investments in those areas,” the statement reads, referring to Guyana’s oil block auction which led to Venezuela’s recent protest.

In a joint call to all sectors, President Nicolás Maduro Moros urged Venezuelans to vote on December 3, portraying it as a united, democratic action in defense of the homeland and sovereignty, despite the court’s ruling.


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