Tensions rise in South America: Maduro wins referendum to annex rich region of Guyana to Venezuela

Elizabeth Smith

Nicolas Maduro’s move threatens to set off a new war front, Venezuela’s president has called a referendum in Guyana to annex the wealthy neighboring state to the country he governs. Voting was an “overwhelming success,” with 90 percent of voters saying yes to the annexation.

Tension grows in South America

We are still a long way off from flashes of war, but on the horizon appear the first thunderbolts of a conflict that both the U.S. and Britain are watching with concern.

Along the borders of Guyana, in the northeast of the Continent, military contingents are massing. So does Brazil, worried about what might happen.

And so does Guyana itself, which with a population of only 800,000 fears being swept away by the patriotic and nationalistic winds that the Caracas regime has been blowing for weeks.

Maduro’s referendum

Venezuela’s president wins his referendum on the annexation of a large slice of Esequiba Guyana, a 160,000-square-kilometer territory rich in raw materials, gold, oil and gas, and enshrines by 10,544,320 million votes a right he considers ancentral, as well as historic.

An avalanche of yes votes approaching 90 percent. On the strength of his success, Maduro will be able to argue his case more vigorously at the UN by demanding a clear and final verdict. Or force his hand and threaten his neighbor with invasion.

In either case, he will have to reckon with firm opposition from Guyana, which again yesterday, with its president Irfaan Ali dressed in camouflage and in front of soldiers deployed at the border, reiterated, “Esequiba is ours, we are ready to defend every square inch of it.”

Read also: The 10 countries with the most valuable natural resources worldwide

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