Last month, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro formally requested that the U.N. mediate its long-standing border dispute with Guyana. In an email interview, Mark Kirton, senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies, discussed Guyana’s relations with Venezuela and the impact of the territorial dispute on bilateral ties.
WPR: How extensive are Venezuela and Guyana’s political and economic relations, and what are the main areas of cooperation?
Mark Kirton: Relations between the two countries are characterized by prolonged periods of controversy and tension, interspersed with short periods of economic and political cooperation. Tensions stem from Venezuela’s claim to the Essequibo region, which accounts for approximately two-thirds of Guyana’s territory, in spite of a full and final settlement of the land boundary in 1899, pursuant to the Treaty of Washington in 1897.