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Understanding the Venezuelan Rhetoric of the Border Controversy

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19th of December, 2023. Guyana, South America. GSA News. Guyana News.

Last updated: December 19, 2023 at 15:04 pm

For most Guyanese, the idea of a Venezuelan takeover of the Essequibo is as repulsive as it is unthinkable. That’s because Guyana has been administering the Essequibo territory for centuries. It’s hard to wrap our minds around the thought that Venezuelans actually believe that the Essequibo belongs to them. However, a practical approach to this showdown demands that we understand the Venezuelan rhetoric with regards to the border dispute, thus shedding light on why so many Venezuelans say, “El Esequibo es de Venezuela.”

The following is what Venezuelans were being taught in schools and through public speeches and literature for the last 50 odd years.

SINCE 1777 EVERYTHING WEST OF THE ESEQUIBO RIVER BELONGS TO VENEZUELA!!! (According to the Venezuelan Government)

1- IN 1777 SPAIN FOUNDED THE GENERAL CAPTAINCY OF VENEZUELA, AND ESTABLISHED THE ESEQUIBO RIVER AS ITS BORDER WITH THE DUTCH TERRITORY TO THE EAST. 

2- IN VENEZUELA'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE AND CONSTITUTION OF 1811, THE ESEQUIBO RIVER IS VENEZUELA'S BORDER TO THE EAST. 

3-IN 1814 THE DUTCH GAVE THE LANDS EAST OF THE ESEQUIBO RIVER TO THE BRITISH.THE BRITISH STARTED INVADING VENEZUELA'S LANDS WEST OF THE ESEQUIBO RIVER. 

4-IN 1822 SIMON BOLIVAR SENT EMBASSADOR REVENGA TO LONDON AND TOLD THE BRITISH: GET OUT FROM OUR TERRITORY!THERE BEGAN VENEZUELA'S COMPLAINT AGAINST THE BRITISH INVASION.  

5- TIME AFTER TIME VENEZUELA COMPLAINED AGAINST THE BRITISH INVASION INTO VENEZUELA'S LANDS WEST OF THE ESEQUIBO RIVER.

6- IN 1899 THE BRITISH AGREED TO GO TO MEDIATION IN PARIS, BUT WITH THE CONDITION THAT THE VENEZUELANS WOULD NOT GO. TWO AMERICAN LAWYERS REPRESENTED VENEZUELA.

7- ONE OF THE AMERICAN LAWYERS LEFT WRITTEN TESTIMONY:THE BRITISH ROBBED VENEZUELA'S LANDS IN PARIS 1899. VENEZUELA CONTINUED TO COMPLAIN AGAINST THE BRITISH ABUSE.  

8- IN 1966, ENGLAND, GUYANA, AND VENEZUELA SIGNED ACKNOWLEDGING THE PARIS MEDIATION WAS INVALID, NULL. GUYANA WAS GRANTED INDEPENDENCE. 

9 - IN 1966 IN GENEVA, GUYANA AND VENEZUELA SIGNED TO RESOLVE THE ISSUE PEACEFULLY. THIS AGREEMENT HAS NO EXPIRATION.

It is important to note here that the Venezuelan argument that the 1966 Geneva Agreement annuls the Paris Award of 1899, while Guyana maintains that the Paris Award is still in effect and will be reinforced by the ruling of the ICJ. It is also important to consider that, despite this highly bureaucratic rhetoric, the average Venezuelan does not care too much about the Essequibo and does not have a strong enough morale to go to war for it. They know in their hearts that the Essequibo belongs to Guyana.

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