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Essequibo Belongs to Guyana: Here are the Facts

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Published: 16th of December, 2023 by Patrick Carpen

Last updated: December 17, 2023 at 1:58 am

  1. The land boundary between Guyana and Venezuela was settled by the Arbitral Award of 3 October, 1899.
  2. The boundary was demarcated following an agreement signed in 1905 by the Boundary Commissioners of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Venezuela. Successive governments of Venezuela respected the Award for sixty years (until 1962). From then, Venezuela tried to prevent Guyana’s independence, claiming that the Award was null and void.
  3. On 17th of February, 1966, the Geneva Agreement was signed between the UK/British Guiana and Venezuela. Guyana became a party upon attaining independence. The Agreement provided several mechanisms for Guyana and Venezuela to resolve Venezuela’s contention of nullity and invalidity of the Award.
  4. Under the Geneva Agreement, the following were pursued by Guyana and Venezuela: Four (4) years (1966-1970) of meeting through a Mixed Commission involving bilateral talks between Guyana and Venezuela, a twelve (12) year moratorium (with the purpose of allowing both governments to promote cooperation and understanding while the border claim was in abeyance) and twenty years (1989 – 2017) of the Good Offices Process, under the aegis of the United Nations Secretary General (a process that allowed for bilateral discussions on a resolution of the controversy in the presence of the Secretary General’s personal representative).
  5. Venezuela has never offered any support or evidence for its contention of nullity and invalidity of the 1899 Arbitral Award. Instead, it consistently embarked on tactics of intimidation, threats, use of force, and economic blackmail against Guyana.
  6. In 2014, Guyana approached the United Nations Secretary-General indicating that the good offices process was yielding no result and requested that he choose another means of settlement under the 1966 Geneva Agreement. Having agreed to give the good offices process in 2017, one final year, and if no satisfactory solution could be reached, he would refer the matter to the International Court of Justice, the Secretary General in January 2018 informed the parties that he had determined that the matter should be settled by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Guyana then filed the matter in the court on 29 March 2018, asking that it determine that the 1899 Award is valid and binding on both Parties.
  7. On two occasions since the case was filed, both on 18th of December, 2020, and April 6, 2023, and in response to Venezuela’s attempt to derail the matter before the Court, the ICJ has confirmed its jurisdiction over Guyana’s claims, and announced that it would proceed to determine that question of the validity of the Arbitral Award.
  8. Two days before the Maduro Regime’s December 3 referendum, the ICJ issued provisional orders prohibiting Venezuela from annexing, occupying, or attempting to control the contested Essequibo Region.
  9. The matter is presently before the ICJ and the ICJ will issue a final, binding ruling withing a few years which Venezuela is expected by the Court and the world at large to respect.
  10. If Venezuela still refuses to respect the ruling of the ICJ, it will be violating several international laws and treaties, including the UN Charter.
  11. On December 14th, 2023, Venezuela signed a peace treaty with Guyana in St. Vincent and the Grenadines prohibiting both Guyana and Venezuela from escalating tensions or using force with regards to the ongoing border controversy.
  12. The ICJ is expected to rule in favor of Guyana as indicated by overwhelming evidence and worldwide popular opinion.
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