Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is plunging ahead with its plans to take over Essequibo, the oil-rich region controlled by neighbouring Guyana.
He has ordered the state oil company to issue extraction licences there and proposed the National Assembly pass a bill making the area part of Venezuela.
Guyana has put its defence forces on full alert in response.
Venezuelan voters on Sunday approved a referendum claiming rights over Essequibo, ratcheting up tensions.
In a Facebook address slamming Mr Maduro’s “missteps”, Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali said he had already spoken to the UN secretary general and is asking the UN Security Council to consider intervening.
“This is a direct threat to Guyana’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence,” he said. “Guyana views this as an imminent threat… and will intensify precautionary measures to safeguard its territory.”
He also sought to reassure the country’s investors – mainly oil companies – that their money is safe.
Meanwhile, Brazil said on Wednesday that its military was reinforcing its presence on the border with Guyana and Venezuela by moving more troops and armoured vehicles there.
On Sunday, more than 95% of voters in Venezuela’s referendum approved establishing a new Venezuelan state in the region. While only two million people voted – making up roughly 10% of eligible voters -…