Venezuelan politician against country’s planned referendum on Guyana’s Essequibo region

Venezuelan politician, Eduardo Fernández, has urged the Nicolas Maduro government to resolve the ongoing Guyana/ Venezuela border controversy at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) instead of holding a referendum.

Fernández, who is the President of the Center for Public Policy, described the planned December 3 referendum as a mistake during a television conversation with InfoCifras TV in Venezuela.

For the politician, the planned referendum, and the questions posed through that, distance the Spanish-speaking country from an unfolding process rooted in international law. So instead, he suggested that the Maduro government adhere to that process.

“That is a mistake because the ICJ is not a threat to Venezuelans but an opportunity.

Venezuelan politician, Eduardo Fernández (Photo: Facebook/

“It is there where we must defend the rights of Venezuela and what the Government has to do is convene a large commission where there are competent people, it does not matter if they are adversaries or friends of the Government, but who know about the issue,” he emphasised.

So far, Venezuela has not been keen on participating in the judicial process unfolding at the World Court. It is now moving towards a consultative referendum on December 3- just next month- seeking the support of citizens in continuation of its claim of Guyana’s Essequibo region.

Guyana views the move as an affront to the ongoing juridical process currently before the ICJ. The referendum has been criticised widely including by the Secretary Generals of the United Nations and Organization of American (OAS), and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Next week, the ICJ will hear arguments against this referendum from Guyana.

The borders of Guyana and Venezuela were determined by an arbitral tribunal on October 3, 1899, and Venezuela inherited 13,000 square kilometres of Guyana’s territory (then under British rule).

The ICJ already found that it has the jurisdiction to hear the border controversy case and Guyana believes it will get a favourable ruling.