On 8 and 9 August, the presidents of eight countries will meet in Brazil to discuss means of countering the threats facing the Amazon rainforest. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Bram Ebus explains that inter-governmental cooperation and a regional security strategy will be essential.
Relations with Venezuela remained tense after latter’s December referendum on disputed territory, despite agreement to avoid hostile acts.
Venezuelan govt 3 Dec held referendum on policy toward contested Essequibo area, oil-rich region currently administered by Guyana. Voters answered affirmatively to all five questions on ballot, with authorities saying 10.5mn people participated. Caracas claimed binding mandate for non-recognition of International Court of Justice’s jurisdiction and creation of new Venezuelan state in disputed territory, ratcheting up tensions with its neighbour. Venezuelan President Maduro and President Ali 14 Dec met in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines under auspices of CELAC and CARICOM regional bodies and in presence of UN, Brazilian and Colombian representatives; parties agreed not to “threaten or use force” and to establish joint commission to mutually “address matters” and report within three months. UK 24 Dec announced its warship would visit Guyana 29-31 Dec, however, prompting Venezuela 28 Dec to hold military exercises near disputed waters.
Gold and migrants stream across the stretch of the Cuyuní river that marks the Guyana-Venezuela border. Guerrillas and criminal organisations control much of the flow. Their turf wars are already spilling over and could intensify if foreign powers intervene to topple Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
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