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News > World

Has the relationship Guyana-Venezuela always been bad?

  • Venezuela claims for almost 200 years its sovereign legitimacy over the territory of the Essequibo.

    Venezuela claims for almost 200 years its sovereign legitimacy over the territory of the Essequibo. | Photo: RT

Published 2 December 2023

For several years both countries enjoyed a mutual and beneficial commercial understanding

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Cooperative Republic of Guyana enjoyed of short periods of diplomatic ties and mutual coordination in topics like the economy, especially during the government of Hugo Chavez, who agreed to the sale of fuel on preferential terms within the framework of the PetroCaribe initiative.


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In 2010, the Essequibo was a peace zone, and the two neighbor Republic accorded the sale of the 65% of exportation Guyanese rice to Venezuela in exchage for a petrol lower price. In 2011 the rice exportations to Venezuela overed the 70 000 tons, says press reports.

In a report broadcasted by TeleSURtv, Guyanese farmers expressed their grateful to the Venezuelan Government, specially to the Commandant Hugo Chávez, even speaking in the the name of all Guayana. 

More than 25 000 benefited with those bilateral agreements signed by President Chávez and the Guyanese ex-president Bharrat Jagdeo, current vice-president.

Bharrat Jagdeo and Commandant Hugo Chávez.

That year the Guyanese ex-chancellor, Carolyn Rodrigues said to the press that any coflict existed at that time, and that even the relations between both countries were an example to follow in similar situations.

At that time, both countries saw each other as brothers, “We have many activities in mind (...) this relationship allows us to improve the quality of life of both peoples.”: emphasized the ex-chancellor.

Even exhisted a plan to build a road to embetter the communications and easy the economic exchanges and exportations between the Cooperative and the Bolivarian nation.

In 2013, the Guyanese Prime Minester Samuel Hinds expressed his country gratitude by the the economic understanding agreements that Venezuela offered them.

Likewise, there were plans to sign agreements regarding the fertilizer industry, as well as other plans to expand the areas of cooperation between both nations. The cooperation agenda between both countries was going very well until 2015.

So, why everything changed?

An incursion by the Venezuelan Navy into the waters of the Essequibo for surveillance work increased tension in October 2013, when 36 crew members of the Perdana ship, which was carrying out geological prospecting in the so-called “Roraima Block” on behalf of the Government of Guyana, were detained. Act described by him as a threat.


Venezuela releases US-run oil ship

As well over those years the guyanese government gave to the Northamerican oil company ExxonMobil the exploitation rights to explore and extraction of crude oil from disputed territorial waters. 

Venezuela described the concessions to both the US company and other multinationals as a grievance to its sovereignty. 

Since then the dispute has escalated, especially when the Guyanese government of proposed the creation of military bases with the help of the Southern Command of the United States Army, has increased the military presence in the area, and when some far-right and pro-American political parties came to power.

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