Venezuelans are voting in a special decision day to figure out if they support their country’s long-standing claim to an area rich in oil, currently under Guyana’s control.

The disputed region, called Essequibo, has been a source of tension for over 100 years. Despite a historical ruling favoring Britain (then ruling Guyana) in 1899, Venezuela disputes it.

The disagreement intensified in 2015 when oil was discovered. Guyana took the case to the International Court of Justice in 2018, but a final decision is pending.

The recent oil discoveries and an auction raised pressure, with concerns about potential military actions. The vote is seen by some as a tactic by President Maduro to distract from calls for fair elections.

Critics worry about the questions posed in the referendum, fearing they could grant excessive power to the government and even lead to armed conflict.

The international community, especially Guyana, is closely watching the situation. This simplified explanation draws from information provided by the BBC.

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