Get our newsletter delivered directly to your inbox
I have already subscribed | Do not show this message again
Your email has been successfully registered.
"Today we all have the same power, namely, the power of national sovereignty,” President Nicolas Maduro said after casting his vote.
At the noon half-way mark of Venezuela's historic referendum today, authorities reported no major problems. Citizens began lining up before sunrise to vote on a referendum on the fate of the nation's long-standing territorial claim over Essequibo, a sparsely populated 160,000 km² area of rainforest that lies on the border with Guyana.
"Today we all have the same power, namely, the power of national sovereignty. Our nation is deciding its historical position,” President Maduro said after casting his vote in Caracas.
“I don't know if there is another country that has consulted on an issue of such importance and delivered it into the hands of average men and women. Today we are voting for one sentiment and one flag. Our vote is to make Venezuela respected," he added.
Election authorities announced that 97 percent of the voting machines were up and running by 9:00 am, with no major technical problems to report.
Over 20 million Venezuelans are eligible to cast their votes today in 15,857 polling centers in 23 states, 335 counties and 1,141 parishes in a process that started this morning at 06:00 and will end at 18:00 local time, provided there are no citizens waiting in line, in which case polls will remain open until the last person casts their vote.
Citizens will have to answer yes or no to five questions that were unanimously approved by the National Electoral Council (CNE) and subsequently endorsed by the Venezuela's Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ):
1. Do you agree to reject, through all legal means, the fraudulent imposition of the Paris Arbitral Award of 1899 that seeks to deprive us of our Guayana Esequiba?
2. Do you support the Geneva Agreement of 1966 as the only valid legal instrument to achieve a practical and satisfactory solution for Venezuela and Guyana regarding the controversy over the territory of Guayana Esequiba?
3. Do you agree with Venezuela's historical position of not recognizing the jurisdiction of the International Court of Territorial Justice to resolve the territorial dispute over Guayana Esequiba?
4. Do you agree to oppose, through all legal means, Guyana's attempt to unilaterally assert control over the ocean pending delimitation, illegally and in violation of International Law?
5. Do you agree with the creation of the state of Guayana Esequiba and the implementation of an accelerated plan for the comprehensive care of the current and future population of that territory, including, among other things, granting citizenship and Venezuelan identity cards, in accordance with the Geneva Agreement and International Law, thereby incorporating said state into the map of Venezuelan territory?