foto: Ricardo Stuckert PR

During the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) scheduled for this Friday (1) in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva confirmed that he will have a meeting with the Venezuelan leader, Nicolás Maduro. However, he added that he will not address the historic dispute between Venezuela and Guyana over the Essequibo region, a 160,000 square kilometer territory, rich in oil and minerals under Guyanese jurisdiction and which Caracas claims.

“The meeting is not for that, it is to discuss Celac. I will meet with Maduro there, and I intend to discuss the time they want to schedule a meeting, and President (Prime Minister) Ralph (of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), who is the coordinator who will schedule it, Brazil will be fully available to participate,” said Lula.

During his visit to Georgetown, capital of Guyana, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva emphasized the importance of maintaining South America as a zone of peace. In a statement to the press after a meeting with Guyanese President Irfaan Ali, Lula highlighted the need to avoid conflicts in the region, highlighting that war brings destruction and suffering, while peace promotes prosperity and development.

The topic was also not discussed during a meeting with the President of Guyana, Mohamed Irfaan Ali, this Thursday.

“We did not discuss the Essequibo issue, it was not the time to discuss it. But President Ali knows, as Maduro knows, that Brazil is willing to talk to them when necessary, whenever necessary, because we want to convince people that it is possible, through dialogue, to maintain peace.” , highlighted Lula in Guyana, after meeting with the country’s president.

Lula also stated that the topic will also not be on the agenda of his meeting with Nicolás Maduro during the Celac summit in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

When talking about the dispute, Lula highlighted his confidence in diplomatic means to resolve the conflict, but stated that negotiations could still last a few decades.

“Brazil will remain committed to ensuring that things happen as smoothly as possible. If it was not possible to solve this problem in 100 years, it is possible that it will take us a few more decades, the only thing I am sure of is that violence will not solve this problem, it will create other problems”, emphasized the Brazilian president.

Despite not addressing the Essequibo issue with Maduro, Lula emphasized that the issue cannot be forgotten, considering its long history. “Brazil will remain committed to ensuring that things happen as smoothly as possible”, she highlighted.

Venezuela argues that this territory has been part of its domain since the time when it was a colony of Spain, appealing to the 1966 Geneva agreement. In turn, Guyana defends the borders established by an 1899 report, appealing to the International Court of Justice.

The territorial dispute dates back to the 19th century and gained new chapters with the consultative referendum organized by Maduro in December last year, on the annexation of the territory. Guyana has since considered the consultation a direct threat, taking the issue to the UN Security Council. Brazil, which advocates a peaceful solution, intensified its diplomatic contacts to mediate the dispute over the Essequibo region, trying to play a regional leadership role.

The meeting between Lula and Maduro at the Celac meeting promises to be an important moment to discuss regional issues and strengthen diplomatic ties between Latin American and Caribbean countries.

The Brazilian president took the opportunity to thank the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, for his coordinating role in the talks between Guyana and Venezuela. This mediation contributed to the signing of an agreement in December 2023, in which the two countries agreed not to use force to resolve the dispute over the territory of Essequibo.

Regional integration

Lula, who also participated in the closing of the 46th Summit of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), highlighted the integration and investment ties between Brazil and countries in the region. He reaffirmed the commitment to expand partnerships and open connection routes, as part of the New Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), aimed at continental integration and reducing the trade distance with Asian countries.

Furthermore, the Brazilian president presented the South American Integration Routes plan to Guyana, highlighting the importance of cooperation in areas such as infrastructure, food security, transport and climate change. He invited the Guyanese president to participate in a G20 climate meeting in Brazil, in order to discuss forest preservation and remuneration projects for environmental services.

During his stay in Guyana, Lula also met with the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, and participated in a trilateral meeting with the presidents of Guyana and Suriname, Chan Santokhi.


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