Guyana Defence Force dismisses video showing Venezuelan flag being hoisted in Essequibo

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has described as “misinformation” a video circulating on social media showing the hoisting of a Venezuelan flag along the western border in Essequibo replacing Guyana’s ‘Golden Arrowhead’ flag.

In a statement, the GDF said that the video in question is not from Guyana.

“We categorically state that the flag being lowered is not the recently hoisted Golden Arrowhead along our border. Clear distinctions between the two locations are evident in the accompanying photographs. Notably, the recently installed plaque at the authentic site is absent in the video in question,” the GDF said.

“The public must understand that the video’s content is misleading and does not represent any activity or incident within Guyana. We appreciate the public’s vigilance and encourage reliance on verified sources for accurate information and urge the responsible sharing of information,” the GDF said, adding that it “remains steadfast in its duty to serve this nation”.

The statement by the GF comes as Venezuelans on Sunday approved a referendum that had been called by the Nicolás Maduro government in its bid to claim sovereignty over the mineral rich Essequibo in Guyana.

The National Electoral Council (NEC) claimed more than 10.5 million voters cast ballots during the event that had been extended by two  hours.

They were asked whether they support establishing a state in the disputed territory, granting citizenship to current and future area residents and rejecting the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in settling the disagreement between the two countries.

Last Friday, the ICJ ruled that Venezuela must not take any action to seize the mineral and forest-rich county of Essequibo in Guyana.

Both Georgetown and Caracas had made presentations to the ICJ during two-days of hearing last month into the case relating to the 1899 Arbitral Award after Guyana, in its request, had said that the Venezuelan government, through its National Electoral Council, had published a list of five questions that it had intended to put before the people of Venezuela in a “Consultative Referendum” on Sunday.

On Sunday night, President Irfaan Ali, addressing a ‘Night of Patriotic Reflection’ at the National Stadium at Providence, East Bank Demerara, said he had a message for the people of Venezuela, President Maduro and Vice President, Delcy Rodriguez.

“Nothing you say, no amount of propaganda or lies, would drive fear in my heart or in the heart of any Guyanese. You will not disrupt our lives,” Ali said to loud cheers from those gathered.

He reiterated the call for Venezuela to honour the latest ICJ ruling saying the Essequibo region has been governed by Guyana for the past 124 years and Venezuela “shall” refrain from any action that would “modify” or change this.

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