“Venezuela’s President Steers Creation of New State With Guyana’s Land!
In a move sure to stir up diplomatic tensions between Venezuela and Guyana, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has ordered the creation of a new Venezuelan state, Usatama, which includes land from Guyana and the Amazon rainforest. The new state will be composed of 13 municipalities, stretching south from the Orinoco Delta, and covers over 86,000 square kilometers that currently lie in the disputed Essequibo region. Guyana claims this vast area as part of its own territory, whereas Venezuela has long argued it is part of its land. In a statement made last week, Maduro said that the creation of Usatama would “improve the administration and the performance of the public and private services and bring development” to the region. He went on to stress that the state would fall under the control of the Venezuelan government. The move has been widely condemned by the Guyanese government, who accused Maduro of “aggressive behavior” and said the creation of Usatama was a violation of international law. They have also threatened to take the issue to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. It is yet to be seen what the full ramifications of Maduro’s order will be, but it is certainly a cause of great concern for Guyana as it could undermine its claim to this region and give Venezuela control of a region that is both rich in natural resources and of great strategic importance. With both countries locked in a long-running sovereignty dispute, this could have far-reaching implications for the entire region.