Guyana, from the massacre to the international court | Luis Britto Garcia

Massacre at Rupununi

The most decisive action to return Guayana Esequiba to Venezuela comes from its own inhabitants. By 1967, the majority Amerindian population of the Reclamation Area, represented largely by the National Party of Guyana, is in conflict with the Hindu and Afro-descendant ethnic groups that prevail west of the Essequibo, and seeks the support of Venezuela to separate the region from the Cooperative Republic. The immediate year also request Venezuelan collaboration the region's mestizo cattlemen, descendants of the union of English or Venezuelans with indigenous people. According to Guillermo Guzmán Mirabal, President Raúl Leoni supported the secession in a secret document, "Plan for the uprising of the population of Guayana Esequiba," which provided for the contribution of weapons and instructors, despite possible opposition from Brazil. The Guyanese government precipitates the insurrection, by preventing the registration for the elections of the Amerindian candidates  National Party. But precisely in December 1968 the period of Leoni democratic action ended, and the Social Christian Rafael Caldera was elected; The United States learns of the secessionist plans and warns it that it will not support them. On January 2, 1969, the Amerindian rebellion broke out in Essequibo territory and the Guyanese government quickly repressed it, perpetrating the atrocious Rupununi massacre, without Rafael Caldera adopting any measures to prevent it. According to the expression of his Foreign Minister Ignacio Iribarren Borges, the new Christian Social President "thought it a very dangerous matter." Thus, Venezuela loses the possibility of recovering the Essequibo territory through the initiative of its inhabitants (Balladares Castillo, 2016).

Before the International Court of Justice

Finally, Guyana resorts to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of the UN, which at the beginning of December 2020 declares itself competent to decide on the validity of the Arbitration Award of 1899. Venezuela refuses to submit to its jurisdiction, correct decision, because the opposite would be to compromise sovereignty; because the hegemonic powers do not submit to said court, and because it presents a deplorable medical record with decisions such as having issued in record time and without evidence an arrest warrant against the President of Libya Muammar Gadafi, which served as a pretext for the destruction of Libya. 

Anatomy of a spoil

More than two centuries after the start of the dispossession, some reflections can be made. 

In Guayana Esequiba, four historical processes have operated. The first, the efforts of our newly independent country to defend its sovereignty and territories, which were weakened by the wear and tear of liberating contests and internal conflicts. To avoid spoil, unify and strengthen.  

The second process is the tendency of the new empires to de facto dispossession of the newly independent nations. Our lack of diligence in preventing the continuous infiltration of illegal settlers, the failure to favor the population and exploitation by Venezuelans in the disputed territories, made it easier for imperial and colonial powers to expand their usurpations. Neither borders nor sovereignties take care of themselves: they survive by virtue of continuous, systematic and intransigent efforts.

The third historical process is that of the fatal tendency to place the supreme interests of national sovereignty in the hands of foreign judges, courts or arbitrators who do not share our laws, culture or interests. The dispossession against Venezuela worked through arbitration organized by the United States. The decisions of foreign courts on our country have been invariably adverse. We have promoted personal campaigns against the subjection of Venezuela to organizations such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights of the OAS, or the International Center for Settlement of Disputes on Investments of the World Bank, which have culminated in our withdrawal from such organizations that deny the sovereignty. But we see with concern how Venezuela maintains about thirty Treaties against Double Taxation whose clauses submit issues related to internal public order, such as the tax system, to the decision of foreign judicial bodies. With Dr. Fermín Toro Jiménez and a group of patriotic Venezuelans we demand the nullity of said agreements before the Supreme Court of Justice. In a judgment of October 17, 2008, the magistrate, Luisa Estela Morales, ruled that “This Chamber shares the criterion established by the Political-Administrative Chamber of the extinct Supreme Court of Justice (..) in relation to Article 127 of the 1961 Constitution, according to which (..) the wording (..) does not it leaves the slightest doubt that the constituent (..) took advantage of the relative immunity system that the 1947 constitution had already established ”. Neither immunity nor sovereignty are relative: without one there is no other. The decision of foreign arbitrators cost us the territorial dispossession of Guayana Esequiba. Persisting in error could cost us that of the rest of the Republic. 

In the same sense, we denounce the sanction on December 28, 2018 of a Law for the Promotion and Protection of Foreign Investments that enables the review and annulment of the judgments of our Supreme Court of Justice by foreign courts. How will we enforce our sovereignty, if some of our officials do not respect it?

A fourth trend determines that the country that delivers the decision of its sovereign principles to foreign courts ends up seeing them sacrificed as exchange chips in the game of powers attentive only to their own interests. Venezuela jealously maintain full control over its decisions and sovereignty in its international relations.

PS: Without telephone 0212 9914261 and without ABA CANTV since January 15. I beg whoever will manage to know how to return them.


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