Venezuela votes to annex neighbor Guyana

The Countermeasure
2 min readDec 4, 2023

On Sunday, Venezuelans took to the polls to vote on a referendum to determine whether territory within Guyana should be annexed by Venezuela.

Venezuelan authorities claimed that 10.5 million Venezuelans who voted on the referendum cast a ‘yes’ vote, indicating public support for the seizure of Guyanan territory.

The territory in question is known as Esequibo, and it is an oil-rich region that covers more than 60,000 square miles on South America’s northern coast.

Venezuela has claimed the territory of Esequibo for centuries, and disputes in the past have turned violent. Colonial machinations, in the eyes of Venezuela, have hindered them from claiming the Guyanan territory. Rich in oil, gold, and having valuable coastline, their renewed claim on the territory is not a shock to historians.

Videos of guerillas fighting in the jungles of Guyana have surfaced, suggesting that the dispute has already turned to a violent, kinetic conflict. American military personnel have had a presence in Guyana, serving as advisors to their military forces. American troops recently completed exercise Tradewinds 2023 with Guyanan forces.

Orange = Venezuela // Light Green = Esequibo // Dark Green = rest of Guyana

Venezuela has been a threat to the stability of South America under the Maduro regime, and the US has yet to issue a clear statement as to what our response might be in the event of a Venezuelan invasion of Esequibo. There are fears that a conflict would destabilize an already struggling oil industry and that a war would worsen the immigration crisis in the US.

The ICJ — the International Court of Justice — stated the referendum and any ensuing use of force would destabilize the region and alter the status quo. The ICJ further denounced Maduro’s politicking, but the ICJ’s authority has already been ignored.

With 10.5 million Venezuelans reportedly voting ‘yes’ for the annexation of Esequibo, the stance of nearly 10 million other Venezuelans is not certain. This raises questions as to whether or not Maduro’s government is confident that they will be supported by Venezuela’s people, or if an aggressive war would also instigate domestic revolt and protest.



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