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  • Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza, Caracas, Venezuela, 2020.

    Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza, Caracas, Venezuela, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @El_Ciudadano

Published 11 January 2021
Opinion

The head of the U.S. Southern Command started a visit to Guyana amid joint maritime surveillance maneuvers.

Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza on Sunday accused the United States of protecting ExxonMobil in the Essequibo, an area that has been in dispute between his country and Guyana since the 19th century.

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"This is how the U.S. confesses its complicit participation in the conspiracy that intends to seize the territory of Guayana Esequiba from Venezuela. It protects the predatory interests of the transnational oil company ExxonMobil and instrumentalizes Guyana for dark corporate pretensions," Arreaza tweeted.

Previously, the U.S. Acting Undersecretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Michael Kozak said that his country supports the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its attempt to judge the validity of the 1899 arbitration award, which established the border between Venezuela and Guyana.

In response to Kozak's assertions, Arreza reiterated the Venezuelan rejection of what is a serious threat to Latin American peace and security.

"We call for the national union in the monolithic defense of our historical rights and the rejection of imperialist interventionism," Arreaza stressed.

Venezuela also rejected the statements of Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali, who had referred to administrative matters in the territory under dispute.

The "Guayana Esequiba" is a disputed area that encompasses almost 160,000 square kilometers west of the Essequibo River.

The territorial dispute between Venezuela and Guyana escalated after Exxon Mobil discovered oil fields in waters next to the disputed area in 2015.

On Monday, U.S. Southern Command (Southcom) Commander Adm. Craig Faller started a visit to Guyana amid joint maritime surveillance maneuvers, which the United States and this South American country began on Saturday near the border with Venezuela.

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