The South American country of Guyana has asked Facebook and Twitter to remove from their platforms maps that place the disputed territory of Esequibo in Venezuela, an official told AFP Wednesday.
The 160,000 square kilometres (62,000 square miles) territory is administered by Guyana but claimed by its neighbour.
“We would like to see those illegal, offensive… publications erased,” Guyana’s Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud told AFP about the official request made to the social media giants about what he termed a “disinformation campaign.”
The two neighbours have disputed the resource-rich region for centuries. In 2015, offshore oil was discovered there, upping the ante.
Guyana, a former Dutch and British colony, claims its border with Venezuela was fixed by an arbitration tribunal in 1899 after a crisis that led the United States to intervene on behalf of Caracas, then close to Washington, against the British.
But Venezuela claims the Geneva Agreement, signed in 1966 with the United Kingdom before Guyanese independence, invalidated the previous border agreement.
Guyana in 2018 approached the International Court of Justice in The Hague to resolve the situation. The court decided in 2020 it did have jurisdiction to hear the claim, but the case is still pending.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro posted a tweet last month with a map of his country that includes Esequibo as well as a photo of the Kaieteur Falls — Guyana’s main tourist attraction — and the words: “The Venezuelan sun rises on Esequibo!”