The government of Guyana warned yesterday that if Venezuela does not comply with international authorities in an upcoming ruling from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Esequibo border dispute, then it should prepare to face sanctions from the United Nations.

Guyana’s threat comes on the heels of a formal request from Georgetown for the ICJ to rule on the decades-long dispute over where the border between Guyana and Venezuela lies.

Venezuela claims that an area of 159,500 square kilometers–approximately 74% of Guyana–is actually part of its territory. The border dispute dates back to the colonial period, when Spanish mapmakers included the Esequibo region as belonging to what is today Venezuela. In 1899, an international arbitration team ruled in favour of what would later become independent Guyana, but Venezuela continued to dispute the matter.

This week’s request from Guyana before the ICJ is that the court rule that the 1899 arbitration ruling be legitimized in the hopes of putting the dispute to rest once and for all. As a signatory to the Statute of the International Court of Justice, Venezuela would be legally required to comply by the ICJ’s ruling.

Guyanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Grenidge told reporters yesterday that were the ICJ to rule in favour of Guyana, and were Venezuela to ignore that ruling, then his country would explore “a diversity of options”.

Despite the fact that it has been going on for over a century, the Esequibo dispute has enjoyed long period of relative inactivity, with both countries seemingly unwilling to press the dispute openly. Much to the chagrin of Venezuelan nationalists who are unyielding in the dispute, Chavez said in 2004 that he would not oppose any development project undertaken by Georgetown in the region.

On Friday. the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign affairs reacted to Guyana’s request at the ICJ by calling the move “unacceptable, sterile and inapplicable”.

A thorough description of the Esequibo border dispute can be found here, in Spanish.

La Candelaria Residents Burn Regime Effigies

Venezuelans marked Easter today by burning effigies of Maduro regime officials, an activity that appears to be gaining popularity in recent years. The burning of the effigies is a grounded on the Burning of Judas, an event celebrated in some Christian communities on Easter that involves burning an effigy of Judas Iscariot, Jesus’ betrayer according to the Bible.

Below, an image of an effigy burned in the La Candelaria neighbourhood of Caracas. The effigy has the heads of four regime officials: President Maduro, Consejo Nacional Electoral chief Tibisay Lucena, Minister of the Interior Nestor Reverol, and Erika Faria, the mayor of the Libertador municipality of Caracas:

The effigy has words stapled to it, including “Dictatorship”, “Corruption”, “Hunger” and “[Currency] Devaluation”.

The video below shows the smoldering remains of the effigy, surrounded by amused onlookers:

The event appears to have caught the attention of the authorities. In the images below, a National Bolivarian Police officer captures images of the event, and later approached what’s left of the effigy to put out the fire:

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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