President spoke at a Mercosur meeting; proposed a joint declaration for peace and only asked for an escalation of tension between Venezuela and Guyana to be mediated by Celac and Unasur

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) said this Thursday (Dec 7, 2023) that he does not want a war in South America given the escalation of tension between Venezuela and Guyana, which border the northern region of Brazil . Lula made the statement without condemning the belligerent attitude of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who has already stated that more than half of Guyana’s territory will be annexed to his country. The Venezuelan leader even presented a new map showing the area that is now Guyana.

The thing we don’t want in South America is war. We don’t need war, conflict. We need to build peace. Only then can we improve our country”, stated Lula during a speech at the opening of the 63rd Summit of Mercosur Heads of State, held at the Museum of Tomorrow, in Rio.


The president stated that Brazil follows Venezuela’s initiatives with “growing concern” and that Mercosur cannot remain “oblivious to this situation”.

Lula asked the other members of the bloc (Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia, which is in the accession process) to agree to a joint declaration created by the countries’ chancelleries to reaffirm the region as a peaceful and cooperative zone. “We do not want this controversy to constitute a threat to peace and stability”, these.

The Brazilian president also suggested that Celac (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) and Unasur (Union of South American Nations) be the diplomatic bodies used to mediate the tension between the 2 countries. “Brazil and Itamaraty are also available to host as many meetings as necessary”, these.

By calling on other countries in the region to mediate the tension on the continent, Lula tries to dilute the pressure that falls on him to mediate the relationship between the 2 countries. Once again, the president wants to balance between all the poles of disputes around the world.

By giving his opinion on other conflicts in more distant regions, the PT member displeased the international community. He said at one point that Russia and Ukraine had equivalent responsibilities, when it is known that this was not the situation. Now, at the end of 2023, the Brazilian president equated Israel’s actions with the acts carried out by Hamas.

Until now, Lula has opted for omission: he never wanted to say who the parties responsible for the conflicts in Europe and the Middle East were. These PT ellipses are now more difficult when there is a risk of belligerence in a country bordering Brazil.


Venezuela announced on Sunday (Dec 3) that more than 95% of voters approved a referendum for the creation of the State of Essequibo, which corresponds to 74% of Guyana’s territory. The measure, of a consultative nature, was announced by Maduro on November 10.

The dispute between the countries, which has lasted more than a century, is related to the region of Essequibo or Guiana Essequiba. The site covers 160,000 km² and is administered by Guyana. The area represents 74% of Guyanese territory, is rich in oil and minerals, and has an outlet to the Atlantic Ocean.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that Venezuela cannot take steps to annex the region. Guyana also informed that it will contact the UN Security Council to discuss the situation.

Even so, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro ordered the distribution of a “new map of Venezuela” with the area incorporated by establishments in the country. Venezuela’s Public Ministry also issued arrest warrants for opposition political leaders who allegedly interfered in the referendum.

With tension on the border, the Brazilian Army ordered the deployment of 16 armored vehicles to Pacaraima and Boa Vista, in Roraima, while monitoring the intensification of the dispute.


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