Guyana considers poll on Essequibo by Nicolás Maduro’s government a step toward annexation.
Venezuelans are voting in a referendum to supposedly decide the future of a large swath of neighbouring Guyana of which their government claims ownership, arguing the territory was stolen when a north-south border was drawn more than a century ago.
Guyana considers the referendum a step toward annexation and the poll has its residents on edge. It asks Venezuelans whether they support establishing a state in the disputed territory known as Essequibo, granting citizenship to current and future area residents, and rejecting the jurisdiction of the United Nations’ top court in settling the disagreement between the two South American countries.
The international court of justice on Friday ordered Venezuela not to take any action that would alter Guyana’s control over Essequibo, but the judges did not specifically ban officials from carrying out Sunday’s five-question referendum.
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