StartWeekly lookThe limits of Venezuela, 10

The limits of Venezuela, 10

I end the topic of the Essequibo with a brief and useful recapitulation. I reiterate that the English project on the Essequibo was early and was related to the old Raleigh plan to seize our Guiana at the end of the 1797th century. By the end of the 1802th century, after losing the recently created United States (USA), England sought to create a new great American colony, this time around the mouths of the Orinoco. To this end, he seized Trinidad in 1777, an island that Spain did not take care of, and managed to get it to cede it to him in XNUMX, which allowed him to try to integrate the two parts of the project: Trinidad in the Atlantic, opposite Venezuela with its Guayana and its mouths of the Orinoco on Tierra Firme. An English Guiana does not yet exist. There is only one extensive and unstable Guiana that is almost entirely Dutch, since the Netherlands has been stripping Spain, its nominal owner, of most of that Guianan territory, also neglected, which is an expansion of Venezuelan Guiana to the east. Spain, by the way, has given before, in XNUMX, to the recently founded Captaincy General of Venezuela, owner of the Venezuelan Guayana, the Guiana territory that goes from it to the left bank of the Essequibo river, warning it that it must populate that new territory that It is granted and that it is added to Guayana, which has been Venezuelan since the XNUMXth century, since Venezuela has been a Spanish colonial territory since then. But Venezuela does not have how to do it and does not take care of populating it.

Territorial robbery takes place in the nineteenth century, as we saw. England recognizes its Guianan limits to the Essequibo for independent Venezuela, but soon begins to show its expansive plans, since in 1814 it created British Guiana, forming it with Guianan territory that ripped away the Dutch, which led it to run into the territory Venezuelan from the Essequibo. Bolívar protests and the British agree with him, but they continue their underhand expansion work and Venezuela doesn't even know about it. By 1840 Schomburgk completed his task of running the limits of that English Guiana at our expense and giving water lilies to Queen Victoria. Venezuela protests again, not because of the water lilies but because of the posting of Victoria's portraits in the mouths of the Orinoco and because of the theft of our Guianan territory. And this time our ambassador to Europe, Alejo Fortique, gets the English minister to promise to fix everything. 

That is useless and the territorial robbery continues in silence. Venezuela enters into crisis with the Monagas and the Federal War; and it is only with Guzmán Blanco that he returns to protest because England has seized the mouths of the Orinoco and threatens the gold mines of El Callao in our Guayana. The crisis that fills the final decades of the 1899th century continues and leads Venezuela to ask the US to apply the Monroe Doctrine against English colonialist abuse in its favor. The US takes until the end of the century when it has enough power to revive the forgotten doctrine and force England to negotiate with it instead of Venezuela. The result is the fraudulent Award of Paris in XNUMX, in which Venezuela loses the Essequibo, which passes into English hands, and with difficulty saves the mines of Guayana and the mouths of the Orinoco.

The infamous award only provokes an immediate protest that soon fizzles out and since then no one has bothered with it anymore, thus accepting its dubious legality. No Venezuelan government mentions the Essequibo and thus half a century is reached. In 1949, Severo Mallet Prevost's memorandum was published in the US, which is like his testament. Mallet Prevost was the defender of Venezuela in the Award and his memorandum reveals the dirty plotting that makes it invalid.

But it's already late. Half a century has passed since the Award and it is in the 60s that the Venezuelan struggle to recover the Essequibo begins. There were demands from the Adequate governments in the 60s. None of them amounted to anything. The reasons for this have a lot to do with the fact that England decided to accept the independence of Guyana and granted it in 1966, something that Venezuela, an anti-colonial country, cannot oppose. Only England does it to leave the problem and the negative role to Venezuela. In the process that follows, in which the Geneva Agreement in 1966 and the Protocol of Port of Spain in 1970 are produced, there are 2 key moments. 

The first opens the possibility of reopening the discussion between Guyana, now independent, and Venezuela, but now the latter must claim the Essequibo from the former, since the one who deprived it of it was England, which says goodbye to the problem as if nothing had been done and we It thus makes it go from being a weak country that claimed its territory to a powerful colonial power that stole it, into a rich country that wants to dispossess part of its territory of a weak and poor country that was not the author of the dispossession. 

And to make matters worse, the second not only actually kills the Venezuelan claim by freezing all discussion on the matter for 12 renewable years, but also Venezuela makes the serious mistake of not demanding from England, in Geneva or in Port of Spain, that before granting independence return to Guyana the territory that it stole from it; or at least demand, as is done in any dispute over territory between 2 countries, that the disputed territory pass to the provisional power of the UN or a force designated by it with its permanent presence and with acceptance and permanent presence in that territory in dispute of authorized vigilante representatives of both countries; and not letting the territory remain in the hands of one of them without affecting the other, which was what was done and which Venezuela naively and passively accepted. 

Consequently, it was accepted that the disputed territory would remain in the power of Guyana, which since then began to administer it to its true knowledge and understanding; that is, always for their own benefit, as if it were theirs and not under discussion, completely leaving aside the rights of Venezuela, which has since then only had to propose solutions that Guyana rejects, or reject its own, and protest by the Guyanese abuses that further and further away the possibility of reaching a shared, fair and peaceful agreement.

This reminder is helpful in understanding the problem. But it is already past; and the current painting is another. Guyana, which uses the entire Essequibo as its own, negotiates oil contracts in Venezuelan territory and waters that are complacent with the US, which now defends the Award. Exxon's plan has been underway since 2020, and it already extracts 340.000 barrels of high-quality light oil from those Venezuelan maritime waters arbitrarily managed by Guyana. From this exploitation, Guyana obtains royalties that are calculated at one billion dollars a year, a huge figure for its current GDP, which, by the way, has been growing in the last 3 years. The growth of this is calculated by ECLAC at 46%.

Guyana demands that the claimed area be removed from the maps because that territory is its own. And in his speech at the last annual assembly of the UN, the Guyanese president Irfaan Ali accused Venezuela of wanting to steal the Essequibo territory from Guyana, irresponsibly trampling on both reality and the historical discussion of the problem, by omitting that England stole that territory to Venezuela and handed it over to Guyana upon granting it independence in 1966, when it and Venezuela reached the Geneva Agreement.

The aggressiveness of the Guyanese government is explained by the fact that Guyana, which exploits that territory for its benefit, has the support of the United States and England, that of Guterres and that of the ICC, before which Venezuela is forced to present its arguments next March. And we know that reasons do not count in these organizations, because all of them slavishly decide what the US orders them to do. This is the difficult challenge that awaits Venezuela.

Vladimir Acosta

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