Venezuela’s “absurd” actions are security risks to entire region – Guyana tells OAS Permanent Council

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Ambassador Riyad Insanally

A number of countries on the Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council today condemned the recent acts of aggression by Venezuela against Guyana.

The countries are calling for the immediate release of the Guyanese fishermen and their vessels being illegally held in Venezuela.

During the Permanent Council meeting, Guyana’s Ambassador Riyad Insanally informed the about the recent actions of Venezuela. According to Insanally, Venezuela President Nicholas Maduro’s actions, such as the recent decree reiterating that country’s illegal claims to Guyana’s Essequibo region, is “disturbing”.

Insanally informed the Permanent Council that Venezuela’s actions pose a threat to security in the entire region.

Insanally also urged Venezuela to accept the jurisdiction and ruling of the World Court, as it is bound to do, and noted Guyana’s reliance on the international community for support.

And indeed, a number of countries registered their displeasure with Venezuela.

Trinidad’s Representative Phillip Spencer reiterated CARICOM’s statement on the controversy. He also read a statement from Trinidad’s Foreign Minister Amery Browne, who had summoned Venezuelan’s Ambassador for a discussion on the matter.

Antigua and Barbuda Representative to the OAS, Ambassador Ronald Saunders, also expressed concern over Venezuela’s actions of detaining Guyanese fishermen. He also threw his support behind the CARICOM statement and the OAS statement, and called for an end to Venezuelan aggression against Guyana and the immediate release of the fishermen.

The US representative to the OAS, Bradley Freden condemned the seizure of the fishing vessels and called for the immediate release of the crew members. Expressing similar sentiments were the Brazilian, Belizean and Canadian envoys.

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s representative Gustavo Tarre Briceno sought to defend his government when given a chance to speak to the OAS Permanent Council. He said Venezuela has a right to protect its ‘territory’. According to him, other means of conflict resolution should be resorted to that the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

However, Insanally rejected Tarre’s intervention. Insanally also reminded of Guyana’s provision of humanitarian assistance to Venezuelan refugees and made it clear that Guyana’s friendship must not be abused.