This Friday the Vice President of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez, headed a meeting of the Presidential State Commission for the Guarantee of Territorial Integrity and Border Affairs, with the aim of dealing with aspects related to the territorial dispute of the Essequibo. After the meeting, in which she was accompanied by members of the country’s public powers and the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), the vice president stated on a TV broadcast that the government of Guyana seeks to undo the Geneva Agreement signed with Venezuela on February 17, 1966 to achieve a solution to the controversy over the Essequibo territory.
She reported that Venezuela presented to the United Nations (UN) a “practical” and “satisfactory” proposal to reach an agreement with Guyana in the face of the dispute over the Essequibo territory. “Venezuela has a negotiating proposal so that we can definitively reach, without delay, an agreement on this territorial controversy, consistent with the position of respect for the Constitution, International Law, and the 1966 Geneva Agreement,” she said.
However, the vice president denounced Guyana for insisting on violating the Geneva Agreement that defines all the commitments to preserve peace between both countries. “It is a strange, very strange position of the government of Guyana. Why this performance? In addition, in the midst of a difficult political situation derived from a potential electoral fraud that is intended to be committed against the Guyanese people,” she said.
She said that Guyana presented “a unilateral demand” before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), but the Venezuelan state “does not and will not recognize the jurisdiction of this court” in this territorial conflict.
She added that such actions led to an unprecedented and unusual scenario of international law, with which the Guyanese government seeks two “very dangerous” objectives that violate any context of legality. The intention of that country would be to validate the null and void arbitration award of 1899, which consecrated the dispossession of the territory of Guyana Essequibo from Venezuela by Great Britain, when Guyana was not even an independent republic.
Another objective is to favor the United States’ oil intersts due to the natural resources that are in the disputed territory. Specifically, Rodríguez said the government of Guyana seeks to favor Exxon Mobil with the lawsuit that it filed before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2018, about the controversy with Venezuela by the Essequibo. “Guyana is acting to satisfy the interests of transnational oil companies, led directly by Exxon Mobil and framed within that script of attacks by the United States against Venezuela,” she said.
On June 20, the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, stated that Venezuela will not attend “the unusual and irregular” hearing called for June 30 by the CJI.
#COMUNICADO | Venezuela informa que, conforme con su posición histórica y en estricto apego al Acuerdo de Ginebra de 1966, no asistirá a la insólita e irregular audiencia convocada para el 30 de junio por la Corte Internacional de Justicia, sobre la demanda unilateral de Guyana. pic.twitter.com/n1FLgyQjGc
— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) June 20, 2020
“We are going to respond with the Constitution in hand, with the law in hand and with firmness,” said Rodríguez, while stressing that President Nicolás Maduro urged the national union to defend territoriality.
National Assembly President: Defending the Essequibo territory is defending the Constitution and the Republic
The president of the National Assembly (AN), Luis Parra, emphasized this Friday that defending the integrity of the Essequibo territory is defending the Constitution of Venezuela and the Republic. “We have to be patriotic enough to defend the Claim Zone. To defend the integrity of the territory is to defend the Constitution. We cannot accept that our territory was violated (…) This is a challenge for the Republic and we have to act on it,” he said.
In this sense, he pointed out that the actions undertaken by Guyana not only represent a violation of the Geneva Agreement signed in 1966, but also seeks to attack the Venezuelan economy, since this area contains 80,000 million barrels of oil.
“There is a violation of the Geneva Agreement by Guyana to allow transnational companies to work in the territory, with an area that has more than 80,000 million barrels of oil. This conflict cannot be seen as some sectors are seeing it, because it is not a simple litigation to distribute goods,” said Parra.
He indicated the need to call for national unity, as well as to convene the Council of State for the defense of the Essequibo, remaining on the basis of the Geneva Agreement, as the only way to achieve a peaceful and satisfactory solution for both parties and in favor of the peoples. “We have to take a fundamental step towards this challenge. The National Armed Forces, the Executive Power, the rest of the powers. From the Legislative Branch we make a call for national unity to face this difficult moment in the country.
To this call for unity was added the president of the Judiciary and magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), Maikel Moreno, who asserted that Venezuela has never stopped claiming its right over the Essequibo. “Venezuela has never stopped claiming or losing the right it has over the Essequibo, it is recognized. The way is through the agreement that both nations signed,” Moreno stressed during the event.
The Geneva Agreement recognizes the sovereignty of Venezuela over the Essequibo, for which the Arbitration Award issued in 1899 in Paris, France, which illegally ceded this territory to British Guyana, was declared void.
The meeting was attended by the President of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), Maiquel Moreno; the president of the National Assembly, Luis Parra; the sector vice-president for Political Sovereignty, Security and Peace, general-in-chief Vladimir Padrino López; the Minister for Peace Frontier, Major General Gerardo Izquierdo Torres; and the first vice president of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), Tania Díaz. Also in attendance were the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs, Alexander Yánez; the Attorney General of the Republic, Reinaldo Muñoz; the head of Strategic Operational Command (CEO), Remigio Ceballos, and other representatives of the National Executive.
Regarding this issue, President Nicolás Maduro has ratified the Geneva Agreement, since Venezuela ratifies that it does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in the face of Guyana’s unilateral demand and reaffirms adherence to the Geneva Agreement.
In a statement from the Bolivarian government, published on June 20 of this year, it is emphasized that the Bolivarian republic of Venezuela reaffirms its historical and legal position of not recognizing the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in this particular case, to the once again reiterating the assurances to the Court of its highest appreciation and respect and, once again, sincerely invites the sister Cooperative Republic of Guyana to renew the negotiation to which both nations are bound by the Geneva Agreement under United Nation supervision.
The statement stresses that the Geneva Convention is the only international tool specially signed to govern the territorial controversy over Guiana Essequiba, with the purpose of reaching a friendly settlement, acceptable and satisfactory for both republics.
Featured image: Courtesy Venezuelan MFA