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GUYANA | OAS wants Venezuela to release Guyana's fishing vessels and crew

  • Written by wiredja.com news team with source from Denis Chabrol/ Demerara Waves
  • Published in Caribbean
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Featured Organization nof American States Building, Washington, DC Organization nof American States Building, Washington, DC
WASHINGTON DC, Jan. 27, 2021 - The Organisation of American States (OAS) on Wednesday called on Venezuela to promptly and safely release the 11 Guyanese crew members and two fishing boats, detained on Thursday by the Venezuelan military as they fished within the Cooperative Republic of Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

In a statement today, the OAS said: “The General Secretariat demands that the Guyanese citizens are released promptly and safely to Guyanese authorities, as well as the two detained vessels.”

The OAS reiterated its support for the rules and processes set by international law regarding ongoing territorial conflicts, noting that the resolution of the territorial dispute between Venezuela and Guyana was a matter that lies under international jurisdiction, and cannot be settled by unilateral actions.

The OAS, is referencing the case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to determine the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award that settled the land boundary between Guyana and Venezuela, suggesting that process could not be substituted by issuing a decree to determine international boundaries between States.

About one month ago, President Nicolas Maduro unilaterally decreed the extension of his country’s maritime boundary to take in all of Guyana’s sea space up to western bank of the Essequibo River.

However, the regional organization said “any attempt to derail this international legal process, such as the decree issued by the Maduro regime, is contrary to international law and standards, and has no legal bearing or significance.”

Venezuela’s latest acts of aggression against Guyana have followed the ICJ’s decision that it has jurisdiction to hear Guyana’s case. Venezuela maintains that that United Nations court does not have jurisdiction and that the two countries should resume bilateral negotiations, a process that Guyana says has not worked for 50 years.

Riyad Insanally 460In the meantime, Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States (OAS), Ambassador Riyad Insanally today rebuked Venezuela’s US installed special representative to the OAS, Gustavo Tarre Briceño on Guyana’s sovereign rights to the Essequibo Region and the Atlantic marine space.

Tarre Briceño had insisted to the OAS Permanent Council that Essequibo belongs to Venezuela. “The actions taken by the usurper Maduro, giving rise to this discussion, I don’t think that anyone despite that would deny a country’s legitimate exercise of its sovereignty as long as it doesn’t affect other states that we should recognise, under international law, Venezuela’s right to protect its communal territory for the maritime region,” he said.

However, the Guyanese ambassador slammed Briceno: “Mr. Tarre seems to be taking the side of the bellicose Maduro regime, implying the same threats to our territory and maritime area to which we are being subjected by Caracas. This attitude is more than ironic. It is absolutely misplaced and downright offensive.” said Dr. Insanally in a sharp rebuke.

Guyana’s Permanent Representative stressed his country’s adherence to international law and described as “regrettable” the positions being taken by the Maduro government and the Guaido-led opposition.

While noting that Guyana has given refuge and succor to tens of thousands  Venezuelans as a humanitarian gesture, Guyana would not tolerate Venezuela trampling on his country’s sovereignty and violation of international law. He further flayed the Venezuelan  special representative, saying that he does not speak on behalf of the government of Venezuela.

“Mr. Tarre does not speak for a sovereign State. The entity he represents exercises no sovereign control over the State of Venezuela. Indeed, his organisation cannot even pay its quota obligation to the budget of our cash-strapped organisation even as long-serving  and loyal employees are losing their jobs. I know not on what basis Mr. Tarre speaks but he should have known better before speaking on a matter of high importance to Guyana, a sovereign State and full member of this organisation,” said Dr. Insanally.

Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro administration in April, 2020 withdrew from the OAS, saying that the United States was using that organisation to meddle in its internal affairs in the areas of democracy, governance and human rights. 

The OAS went on to approve Mr. Tarre Briceño, who is associated with the Juan Guaido-led opposition, as Venezuela’s special representative to the OAS. When it had been put to the vote for Mr. Tarre Briceño to be the special representative, Guyana had been among six abstentions. Dr. Insanally on Wednesday said Guyana’s decision not to support Mr. Tarre Briceño was justified.

  • Countries: Guyana

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