Caracas has been extending its territorial claims over the Essequibo region, which is located in the basin of the same-name river and is a major portion of Guyana’s territory. On Thursday, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said opposition leader Juan Guaido’s supporters had tried to give the region to transnational corporations, including Exxon Mobil. Speaking to the nation on Thursday, Maduro showed a video of Vanessa Neumann, the so-called ambassador of Guaido’s self-proclaimed government in the United Kingdom, and Guaido’s aide Manuel Avendano. Maduro also played an audio recording where they discussed transferring the disputed territory to Guyana.
"In our hands, we have proof that this criminal and betrayer of the nation, Juan Guaido, is discussing the transfer of Essequibo in exchange for the political support of its grotesque hypocritical government. I believe that the prosecutor general’s office should act promptly because the intention to sell it is the betrayal of your motherhood," Maduro said in the public address.
The dispute between Venezuela and Guyana has exacerbated after Guyana’s President David Granger came to power in 2015 and sought rapprochement with the United States, which opposes Maduro. Moreover, Granger allowed Exxon Mobil to work in the country, which was met with criticism from Maduro who accused Granger of having a role in activities against his country.