Military strikes in southwestern Venezuela and the resultant surge of refugees into neighboring Colombia have sparked renewed claims that the autocratic Maduro regime in Caracas is a major destabilizing force in South America. Those events occurred after an earlier escalation in regional tensions when Venezuela reasserted its territorial claims over Guyana to the disputed Essequibo region in the west of the former British colony. That dispute dates back to 1962 when Venezuela’s government asserted that the 1899 Paris Arbitral Award, which determined the South American country’s border, was null and void because of conflicts of interest and collusion between arbitrators. The Essequibo region, which contains around three-quarters of Guyana’s national territory, also includes the seabed where a slew of major oil discoveries was made in recent years. Maduro’s last round of saber-rattling toward Guyana was triggered by the International Court of Justice in December 2020 affirming its jurisdiction to […]