On a visit to Guyana, Lula advocates peace amid regional tensions with Venezuela

By February 29, 2024

São Paulo, Brazil – Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met on Thursday with Guyana’s President Mohamed Irfaan Ali in Georgetown, the country’s capital.

The Brazilian leader’s visit comes in the wake of tensions sparked by Venezuela’s interest in annexing the Guyanese territory of Essequibo. Last December, Guyana and Venezuela signed a commitment not to use military force to resolve the conflict.

In his press statement, alongside Irfaan Ali, Lula avoided directly addressing the conflict but stated that he will work hard to keep South America as a zone of peace on the planet.

“Our integration with Guyana is part of Brazil’s strategy to assist not only in development but also to work intensively to maintain South America as a zone of peace on planet Earth. We do not need war; war brings destruction of infrastructure, brings loss of lives, and brings suffering,” Lula said.

Officially, Brazil’s leader went to Guyana to participate in the closing of the 46th Summit of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, however his visit to the country and his speech can also be seen as a signal to the Venezuelan government that Brazil will oppose any aggression against Guyana in the Essequibo dispute.

President Lula da Silva, during a bilateral meeting with the President of Guyana, Irfaan Ali – (Ricardo Stuckert / Courtesy of the Presidency of Brazil)

After his visit, Lula will attend the meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which takes place in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. There is speculation that he will meet with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro during that summit.

Lula has not said whether he will talk to Maduro about Essequibo, but one of the topics that may be addressed by the two is the Venezuelan elections, scheduled for October of this year. Lula seeks assurances from Maduro that the election will be transparent, with the presence of foreign observers and the participation of Maduro’s opposition.