How Guyana was taken from us | Luis Britto Garcia

Arbitration without Venezuelans or sovereignty

The long process of excesses, usurpations and abuses on the part of Great Britain led Venezuela to the error of handing over the decision on our possession of Guayana Esequiba to the foreign arbitration board that issued the so-called Paris Award of 1899. It is enough to examine the rules of the Arbitration Treaty that prepares said Award to guess its result. Article II provides that the Court will be composed of five jurists, two from Venezuela, one appointed by the President of Venezuela and the other by the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States; another two appointed by the United Kingdom, and a fifth chosen by the previous four. The Venezuelan President elects Melville Weston Fuller, the United States Chief Justice; the fifth referee turns out to be the Russian Fyodor Martens, a fervent supporter of the alliance between Russia and England. Our territory and our sovereignty are negotiated without a single Venezuelan being present.

Private possession kills the public

Regarding the methodology for the decision, Article IV, a) of the rules provides that “an adverse possession or prescription for a term of fifty years will constitute a good title. The arbitrators may consider that the exclusive political domination of a district, as well as the effective colonization of it, are sufficient to constitute an adverse possession or create prescription titles ”. It is thus admitted that a private possession of half a century or simply "effective" prevails over a public one of four hundred years; or that a de facto colonizing or political usurpation is worth more than any other title. Would the United States or England accept that illegally entered raiders could strip them of the territory that they came to occupy privately in those countries? Seduced by the Monroe doctrine, the Venezuelan authorities accepted such unacceptable conditions.

Arbitration of dispossession

To such rules, such a result. In the Paris Arbitration Award of 1899, Americans and British who sacrifice nothing immolate all the rights of Venezuela. To be valid, a judgment requires a statement: there is none in the award. Judgments, administrative acts or awards without motivation are also invalid. In the Paris Award neither facts nor rights are appreciated or evaluated. The list of reference points of a demarcation line entirely favorable to the interests of the English Empire is simply stated, without the support of arguments or evidence, which barely leaves the Venezuelans control of the mouths of the Orinoco, but establishes free navigation for the Amacuro and Barima rivers.

The letter of dispossession

And thus, the Award provides: ... in accordance with said Arbitration Treaty, we finally decide, adjudicate, and hereby determine that the line of demarcation between the United States of Venezuela and British Guiana is as follows: Beginning on the coast at Punta Playa, the demarcation line will run in a straight line to the confluence of the Barima River with the Mururuma River, and will continue through the middle of the current of this river to its source, and from this point to the union of the Haiowa River with the Amacuro , and will continue through the middle of the Amacuro current to its source in the Imataca mountain range, and from there to the southwest through the highest peak of the Imataca mountain spur to the highest point of the main mountain range, to the southeast, until the source of the Acarabisi, and from this point it will continue through the middle of the current of this river to the Cuyuní, and from there it will run along the northern bank of the Cuyuní river to the west until its confluence in the Wenamu, and from this point it will follow the middlefrom the Wenamu current to its westernmost source, and from this point in a straight line to the summit of Mount Roraima, and from Mount Roraima to the source of Cotinga, and will continue through the middle of the current of this river until its union with the Takutu, and will follow the middle of the Takutu current to its source, and from this point in a straight line to the westernmost point of the Akarai mountain range, it will continue along the top of the Akarai mountain range to the source of the Corentin called the Cutari River. It is always understood that the line of demarcation established by this ruling exists without prejudice and with reservation of any question that now exists or that occurs for determination between the United States of Venezuela and the Republic of Brazil or between this Republic and the Government of His Majesty . When setting the aforementioned demarcation line, the arbitrators consider and decide that, in peacetime, the Amacuro and Barima rivers will be open to navigation by commercial vessels of all nations, except for all fair regulations and the payment of lighthouse rights. or other analogous ones, on condition that the rights demanded by the Republic of Venezuela and by the Government of the colony of British Guiana with respect to the transit of ships through the parts of said rivers that respectively belong to them, are set at the same rate. for the ships of Venezuela and those of Great Britain, which will not exceed that required of any other nation. It is also understood that no customs duty may be required, either by the Republic of Venezuela, or by the colony of British Guiana, with respect to merchandise transported on ships, vessels or boats passing through said rivers; but the customs duties will be enforceable only with respect to the merchandise landed respectively in the territory of Venezuela and in that of Great Britain. Made and published in duplicate by us, in Paris today on October 3 A. D. 1899. (Documents. "The Arbitration Award, illegal dispossession of Guayana Esequiba".

Ultra petita. It should also be noted that free navigation through the Barima and Amacuro rivers was not included among the matters to be decided in the award, for which reason the arbitrators incurred ultra petita when deciding on it, a defect in the judgment that grants more than requested, or goods or rights not included in the litigation.

Sponsored links