CAIC condemns Venezuela’s “economic aggression” against Guyana

President of CAIC, Ramesh Dookhoo
President of CAIC, Ramesh Dookhoo

[] – With a meeting between President David Granger and his Venezuelan counterpart being seen as a possibility in the near future, the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC) is condemning Venezuela’s latest claim on Guyana’s oil rich territory.

Venezuela’s most recent claim has already been rejected by several international bodies including the Commonwealth.

“The Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce is perturbed over the spurious claims by Venezuela to Guyana’s territory and especially its territorial waters,” a press statement on Thursday, July 02 noted.

CAIC noted that the move is being seen as “an act of economic aggression against a small CARICOM country which is reaching for the economic development of its people with the recent discovery of oil in its waters.”

The private sector grouping noted that this move by Venezuela is designed to stymie the growth of Guyana’s economy and drive away foreign investors from the country.

“The CAIC strongly rejects Venezuela’s claim and urges the CARICOM Heads of Government to stand fully united with Guyana in their refutation of Venezuela’s claims. The CAIC believes that such aggression against a CARICOM country is an attack on the territorial integrity of all of our states which must be resisted by the entire Caribbean,” the release stated.

On May 20, Exxon Mobil announced that it had discovered recoverable hydrocarbon resources on its Liza-1 well at the Stabroek Block, with a commercial value in excess of US$1 billion. The Exxon exploration ship began operating in the disputed offshore area on Guyana’s behalf. This represents the first major energy discovery in Guyana’s history.

In this regard, CAIC noted that this sudden escalation comes right at the right time for Venezuela, which is experiencing an acute economic crisis and critically low government approval rates.

“President Maduro is on the brink of a major social disaster due to public distress; also midterm elections are just a couple of months ahead. One can claim that it would not be absurd to conceive this resurfacing dispute as an international affairs stunt, in other words, an attempt to divert public attention away from inflation and food shortages. Planting the idea of an armed conflict could be a political stratagem to revive old patriotic emotions while diverting attention away from domestic problems,” CAIC stated.

In order to mediate a resolution on the dispute, the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce believes that, at this stage, the matter should be treated at the designated international table of the United Nations.



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