The United States (US) on Wednesday threw its support behind Guyana, with a senior State Department official condemning Venezuela’s recent acts of aggression and demanding that the Spanish- speaking country release the Guyanese ships and crews it illegally detained recently.
According to a statement released on her social media post, acting Assistant Secretary for the United States Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Julie Chung, condemned the Nicholas Maduro regime’s acts of intimidation against Guyana. She also expressed support for the Organization of American States’ (OAS) own statement on the issue.
“The US supports a peaceful resolution of the maritime boundary controversy between Venezuela and Guyana, and condemns Maduro’s intimidation through the seizure of fishing vessels and detention of crew. We echo the OAS Secretariat’s call for their release without delay,” Chung said in her statement.
The two Guyanese-registered fishing vessels, with combined crews comprising 12 men, were operating off the coast of Waini Point in Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) when they were intercepted by the Venezuelan naval vessel Commandante Hugo Chavez GC 24 on January 21.
The crew of one of the ships, the Lady Nayera, is headed by Captain Richard Ramnarine and comprises crew members Ramlakan Kamal, Nick Raghubar, Javin Boston, Michael Domingo and Joel Joseph.
The other ship, the Sea Wolf, is captained by Captain Toney Garraway, and comprises crew members Errol Gardener, Orland Roberts, Christopher Shaw, Shirvin Oneil and Randy Henry.
These Guyanese fisherfolks have since been brought before a Venezuelan court, and reports indicate they will be kept in custody for some 45 days pending an investigation.
The detention of the two vessels comes on the heels of Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro’s recent presidential decree which reinforced his country’s illegal claim to Guyana’s Essequibo region.