Jagdeo not surprised Venezuela violated Barbados agreement

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Guyana’s Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, is not surprised that the Nicolas Maduro regime has violated the Barbados agreement, which outlines requirements for free and fair elections in the South American country. After all, Maduro does not accept the sanctity of a binding agreement like the 1899 Arbitral Award which delineated the border between Guyana and Venezuela over 100 years ago.  

“There were signs that this would happen…signs that anyone with eyes [would] see that this was going to happen even before now. It is not a surprise to me and I am sure it is not a surprise to many others who have been carefully observing what is going on in Venezuela,” Jagdeo said at a Feb. 1 press conference. 

The hope was for a democratic process with Maduro having an opponent for the presidency. In return, the U.S. eased sanctions on Venezuela’s oil and gold sectors helping Caracas begin to pull itself out of a years-long economic slump. But Maduro did not keep his word. Venezuela’s High Court upheld a June 2023 ban on two opposition presidential candidates, including leading contender Maria Corina Machado. Machado won the U.S.-backed opposition primary in October 2023. Her support for U.S. sanctions against Maduro and his administration was said to have irked him. And on Jan. 31, the U.S. reimposed the sanctions

Regarding Guyana and Venezuela, the Argyle agreement was signed in December last year after tensions flared between the two countries. The border controversy between the two neighbors reached a peak with Maduro holding a referendum that sought to annex Guyana’s territory. There were fears that Venezuela would invade. 

But the Argyle Agreement saw the two neighbors pledging to keep the peace. A case is before the World Court to hammer out the border controversy once and for all. 

Iran-style sanctions will befall Venezuela if Maduro makes catastrophic mistake with Guyana – fmr U.S. energy envoy | OilNOW 

The question is, since Maduro violated the Barbados agreement, will he do the same with Argyle? Jagdeo was asked about this. His response? “You’re dragging me into a minefield.” 

He also said, “the Venezuelan government often does not respect agreements. If it had respected agreements, it would see that it has absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the 1899 Agreement is flawed and if it could refute it – an agreement of that nature – and borders settled over 100 years ago by an international tribunal which they accepted, then it cannot, in my view, be a trustworthy partner in negotiations until it demonstrates otherwise.” 

Jagdeo explained that in its engagement with Venezuela, Guyana aims to create a “series of confidence-building measures.” But at the same time, it remains mindful of the “extremism” that exists in certain quarters in Venezuela. 

“Not necessarily in the whole government, but it seems to be dominating the government rhetoric. We hope that they would reconsider. It is not a hope that I think might be realized anytime soon,” he continued. 

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