The inflamed issue of Venezuela’s claim to Guyana’s Essequibo region is not being lost on Guyanese Citizens in the New York area. Recently, Guyanese, never mind small in number, stopped traffic with placards that read “Venezuela is The Neighborhood Bully,” “The Borders Were Decided Finally and Fully,” and “The 1899 Arbitral Award is Full, Final and Perfect,” as they protested outside the Venezuela Embassy’s 51 Street, New York location.
The vocal group of four, led by veteran attorney-at-law Derrick Arjune started their protest after President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro signed a decree in May declaring all maritime waters off the Essequibo coast as Venezuelan territory.
Arjune condemned the politician for his emboldened claim to their birthright, and added that the Spanish-speaking nation is unlawful in its statement that Essequibo belongs to them.
“President Nicolas Maduro issued a decree that effectively takes in the maritime territory that includes Essequibo and empowered the navy to stop vessels going into Guyana, effectively means we can’t have an outset to the sea,” argued Arjune who noted that Venezuela is a neighborhood bully that has land disputes also with Brazil, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago and just recently, they took away land from Columbia.
“We are here protesting this unlawful, ridiculous act by Maduro, and more particularly we want people to understand and agree that the Venezuela Guyana border issue was settled finally and effectively by the 1899 accord of which Venezuela was a part, and was effectively represented by American lawyers selected by the then president of America,” said Arjune.
“We want Venezuela and the rest of the world to know, even though we are a small number protesting, we believe in the cause, and our objective is to let the Venezuelan Embassy know that Guyanese in the United States stand with its government to rebuff the claim that the Western Essequibo territory belongs to Venezuela.”
“Guyanese back home must also stand with their government. We may be small in size and population, but with spirit and courage we can repel Venezuela and we intend to do just that.”
The group, which sang “Not A Blade of Grass,” with lyrics addressing long standing issues and made popular by Guyanese Dave Martin and the Trade Winds, said they want the neighboring country to know that they have a fight on their hands because the territory of Essequibo belongs to the Guyanese people.
Meanwhile, Guyana’s President David Granger raised the matter of the protection of sovereignty during his address at a recent Brazilian summit held in the South American country.
The leader called on Mercosur member countries to help “this small state” in the defense of its sovereignty and the integrity of its territory in the dispute between the two countries.