Guyana’s Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo is making it clear that the government does not promote nor condone xenophobia, as claimed by Venezuelan Vice President, Delcy Rodriguez, at a recent hearing of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Jagdeo related to reporters on Thursday that Rodriguez falsely claimed Guyana is violating international human rights norms and promoting xenophobia against Venezuelan migrants.
Rodriguez alleged that Guyana’s treatment of the Venezuelan population, estimated to be between 30,000 to 40,000, is in violation of international norms. “Guyana has now directed its action against the Venezuelan population on its territory, blatantly violating its international human rights obligations and promoting unacceptable xenophobia,” she told the Court.
Jagdeo said that these accusations are not only misleading but also a complete misrepresentation of the situation in Guyana. He highlighted his and the government’s firm stance against xenophobia, stating, “So you have seen me at this [weekly] press conference and elsewhere speak out against xenophobia.” He further noted that the Guyanese government has consistently condemned any mistreatment of Venezuelans living in Guyana, a policy that he stressed is not politically motivated but rooted in a commitment to human dignity and respect.
The Guyanese Vice President drew historical parallels to illustrate the dangers of such misrepresentations, referencing how similar tactics have been used in the past for ulterior motives, such as invasions or political manipulation. “We’ve seen it happen with Russia, we’ve seen it with Turkey, many countries using this as a pretext,” Jagdeo stated.
He pointed out that Guyana’s official policy ensures that all individuals, including Venezuelans, are treated with dignity and respect, while also making it clear that those who break the law face consequences. Jagdeo concluded by categorically stating that the claims made by Rodriguez before the ICJ are not only misleading, but outright false.
Guyana and Venezuela concluded oral arguments to the Court earlier this week as it deliberates on Guyana’s request for provisional measures concerning Venezuela’s controversial December 3 referendum. The referendum seeks public support to annex Guyana’s Essequibo region. The Court is expected to announce a date for its decision soon.