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Venezuela, Guyana normalize diplomatic relations; trade unions deliver peace petition to Venezuelan Ambassador

Venezuela’s Ambassador to Guyana, Margarita Arratia Diaz (left) receives a copy of the trade unions’ peace declaration from the General Secretary of the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU), Ann Anderson.

Guyana and Venezuela have restored full diplomatic relations, in keeping with an agreement reached at a meeting between the leaders of both countries under the auspices of the United  Nations Secretary General.

Venezuela has returned its Ambassador to Georgetown where she Thursday received a petition for peace from representatives of several trade unions.

Ambassador Margarita Arratia Diaz returned to Guyana shortly after an agreement was reached by Guyana’s President, David Granger and his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro in a meeting held by United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon in New York.

venez embunionsA senior official of the Guyana Foreign Ministry told Demerara Waves Online News that Venezuela has since granted approval for Ambassador Cheryl Miles to take up her post in Caracas. “Agrement has been granted. Ambassador Miles is currently preparing to take up her appointment. A date has not been set as yet for her departure,” said the official.

Aside from the controversy over the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award, Guyana has already said that the restoration of full diplomatic relations is key to bilateral talks on a number of other areas such as functional cooperation and trade.

Maduro in July had recalled his Ambassador for consultations and a review of Guyana-Venezuela relations, after unilaterally seeking to annex Guyana’s maritime space.  In mid-September, he had also announced the suspension of the application process for Miles to be accredited to Venezuela.

After the Venezuelan envoy received a copy of the recently signed peace declaration from the General Secretary of the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU),  Ann Anderson she said her country wants to settle the border controversy with Guyana.  “The border issue should be done peacefully and between us, between Guyana and Venezuela,” she said.

Venezuela has been pushing for the resumption of the UN Good Officer mediation process while Guyana has been insisting that the controversy be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The UN has dispatched fact-finding missions to Guyana and was expected to visit Venezuela before determining whether to give into Guyana’s call to take the matter to the ICJ on grounds that the 23-year long mediation process has been a waste of time.

After marching through the streets of Georgetown from Parliament Building to the Venezuelan embassy under a banner titled “Workers Marching for Peace” they presented the petition to the Venezuelan envoy. “We are saying while both governments are deliberating on what approach they will take to settle this matter permanently, we want peace.  We want to be able to work towards the development of our country while they are deliberating- no threats of war or so, we don’t want to see that,” said Anderson. The decision was taken by Venezuelan and Guyanese trade unions that participated in a meeting of the International Transport Workers Federation held on October 23 to 24 in  Brazil.

Participating in the march were the CCWU, Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union, Guyana Labour Union, National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE), United Minibus Union, Transport and General Workers Union and the Guyana Teachers Union.

The Venezuelan unions were also expected to deliver a copy of the peace declaration to the Guyana embassy in Venezuela.