Photo: AP/Nicola Vigilanti retrieved

The long diplomatic stalemate over the Esequibo between Guyana and Venezuela has been shaken, after the UN Secretary General recommended taking the case to the International Court of Justice and Georgetown seized on that to end the dispute for good.

But what about the situation on the ground? Apparently, things are getting ugly.

This dispatch from The Guardian shows the growing apprehension in the area, because of Venezuelan gangs (referred to as sindicatos) working with gasoline contraband and illegal mining.

And they’re not afraid to use extreme violence to reaffirm their control:

The Venezuelan gangs are already making their influence felt in Guyanese territory.

“…the Venezuelan gangs are already making their influence felt in Guyanese territory. In April, miners in the town of Eterinbang, south of Whitewater, reported that heavily armed sindicatos had set up a base on the Cuyuni river and were attacking boats that refused to give in to their extortion attempts.”

The Guyanese government stops short of pointing at Venezuela, but it acknowledges a lack of cooperation between both countries that has benefited these criminal organizations.

The concerns also extend to another neighboring country: last month, Brazilian Foreign Minister, Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, visited Georgetown to meet Guyana’s president, David Granger, who used the opportunity to discuss the current situation regarding the Bolivarian Republic:

“As you know thousands of (Venezuelan) refugees have gone south into Brazil, many more in Colombia, some have come into Guyana and into Trinidad and Tobago. Therefore, we need to have a common push to deal with this humanitarian crisis.”

Guyana and Brazil agreed to keep working in projects of infrastructure and environment.

As for the chavista side of the story? Total silence in The Guardian’s piece.

But the Co-operative Republic is also increasing its military presence in the Esequibo, as a response to this outburst of lawlessness. Last February, a new patrol base was installed in Whitewater, the Guyana Defense Force (GDF) is strengthening its aerial capacity and reserve numbers have increased in the Guyana People’s Militia (reactivated in 2016).

As for the chavista side of the story? Total silence in The Guardian’s piece.

Meanwhile, the Arco Minero del Orinoco project keeps producing irreparable damage to the region, while its riches are mysteriously taken away.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.