‘We never threatened the peace’ – Jagdeo says Venezuela’s aggression based on lies, greed

wake of heightened tension in the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy, Guyana’s Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo says those pleas should be made directly to the Nicolas Maduro government.

“We have never threatened the peace, Venezuela threatened the peace,” Jagdeo told a press conference at the Office of the President on Thursday.

He said Venezuela’s entire campaign historically and more recently has been based on misinformation and lies and it has now graduated to accuse Guyana of being an aggressor.

Jagdeo said this is even more worrying when seemingly sensible people would choose to be ignorant of historical facts.

“Either they have chosen to be ignorant or conveniently using misinterpretation to serve a political aim…personally, I believe it is a combination of the two,” the Vice President said as he reflected on the 1899 arbitral award and the Geneva Agreement that has long resolved the decades-old controversy.

Asked about the unity of CARICOM in supporting Guyana, Jagdeo said the Secretariat has issued very forceful statements that were approved by all the heads of government, and he doesn’t believe the public and private assurances will change now.

“We have the solidarity of the world on this issue,” the Vice President asserted.

He said outside of the lies, Venezuela’s campaign is aimed at mobilizing domestic political bases and also hinged on greed and jealousy.

Jagdeo condemned what he said was vile rhetoric from Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodríguez in which personal attacks and lies have been told of President Dr. Irfaan Ali.

He said part of the lies coming out of Venezuela was that Guyana was supporting the ambitions of the United States of America and was facilitating the establishment of a military base here.

Notwithstanding, the VP said all options are available to defend the country against Venezuela’s ambitions which seeks to annex Guyana’s Essequibo by force and sideline the process before the International Court of Justice.

“We were never interested in military bases but we have to protect our interest.

“We are not going to succumb to Venezuela’s bullyism,” Jagdeo said as he asserted greater defence cooperation from countries like the United States with a group to visit next week.

He said even as the government tries to allay fears, citizens, especially the political opposition, should avoid pandering to the paranoia and spreading rumors.

“There is a lot of posturing in Venezuela. It’s a kind of greed too because they have seen the successes in oil and gas.

“Our production is about to overtake theirs. They had a big oil and gas sector that they destroyed to the detriment of their people… it’s a kind of jealousy,” Jagdeo posited.

The border controversy is squarely before the World Court and Guyana hopes for a final, binding settlement that reaffirms the 1899 Arbitral Award that established the existing boundary between itself and Venezuela.

Essentially, Guyana wants the court to reaffirm that the Essequibo region is its own.

Jagdeo said Guyana is open to dialogue with Venezuela but there will be no stopping of the process before the ICJ.