Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is aggressively pursuing the annexation of the oil-rich Essequibo region, currently governed by Guyana.
He has directed Venezuela's national oil company to grant licences for oil extraction in Essequibo and has called for legislation that would formally integrate the territory into Venezuela.
In response, Guyana has placed its military on high alert.
Following a Venezuelan referendum where voters overwhelmingly supported claims over Essequibo, the situation has become tense.
Over 95% of participating voters, representing about 10% of the electorate, voted in favor of a new Venezuelan state encompassing Essequibo.
Guyanese President Irfaan Ali has condemned Maduro's actions in a Facebook
statement, noting that he has engaged the United Nations Secretary-General and is seeking intervention from the UN Security Council.
He has emphasized the gravity of the threat to Guyana's territorial integrity and has taken steps to protect the nation's sovereignty and investments, particularly those from oil companies.
Brazil has increased its military presence along its borders with Guyana and Venezuela, deploying additional troops and armored vehicles.
While Venezuela's claim on Essequibo, a 159,500 square kilometer area, dates back to a contested 1899 decision, the matter is now being heard by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
However, Venezuela rejects the ICJ's jurisdiction.
The court has cautioned Venezuela against any actions that might change Essequibo's current status, which has been under Guyanese authority for over a century.
The dispute intensified after oil was discovered off the coast of Essequibo in 2015 and flared again in September when Guyana auctioned exploration rights in the region.
With oil production driving its economy, Guyana has seen significant growth, while Venezuela is grappling with an economic crisis, worsened by US sanctions imposed after Maduro's 2018 election victory, despite having the world's largest proven oil reserves.