Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Guyana Dispute and Petrocaribe's Demise

Old boundary disputes have new life breathed into them when it becomes clear there are valuable natural resources to be had. That's what we're seeing with the Guyana-Venezuela dispute over oil in territorial waters, which the U.S. is involved in because of Exxon. Chile and Peru brought a similar dispute to the International Court of Justice for fishing rights. (Here is the U.S. statement).

Guyana is working in close partnership with the United States, a reminder that oil diplomacy doesn't take you very far. Guyana is part of Petrocaribe, Hugo Chávez's effort to bring more countries into his fold.

On Monday, the Caricom group of 15 Caribbean nations including Guyana - many of which have historically received subsidized oil from Venezuela under Caracas’ Petrocaribe program - said it viewed the “interception” by Venezuela’s navy “with grave concern.” 
“Such acts violate the sovereign rights of Guyana under international law,” the group said in a statement.
The arrangement had already been sputtering because Venezuela could not provide the agreed upon amount of oil. Oil diplomacy works only as long as the cheap oil keeps flowing. Countries will act in their own best interest. This isn't about ideology. Economic self-interest wins out.

Update: amazingly, the Guyana dispute is one of the rare things that unites Venezuelans regardless of ideology.


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