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News > Venezuela

Essequibo Is A Legitimate Venezuelan Territory: History Academy

  • A view of the Tapakuma Lake in the Essequibo region.

    A view of the Tapakuma Lake in the Essequibo region. | Photo: Twitter/ @AntroCanal

Published 13 April 2023

Historians explained that the Essequibo, an oil-rich area of about 160,000 square kilometers, originally belonged to the Spanish Captaincy of Venezuela.

On Tuesday, the Venezuelan Academy of History suggested drawing up a strategy to defend the rights of the country over the Essequibo, a region over which Guayana claims sovereignty.


Venezuela To Continue Defend Essequibo Region Sovereignty

“The Venezuelan State must prepare a well-supported defense with the help of a multidisciplinary expert team. This territory belongs to our country. Historical documents and maps corroborate this,” the Academy stated.

The dispute over the Essequibo region, an oil-rich area of about 160,000 square kilometers that belonged to the Spanish Captaincy of Venezuela, dates back to the late 19th century when the British Empire sought to expand its influence in South America.

In 1899, an arbitration tribunal in Paris awarded most of the disputed territory to British Guiana, which became independent as Guyana in 1966.

"Guyana based its claim over the Essequibo region in this arbitral award, which lacks motivation and legal foundation because it was signed on a politically-motivated basis,” the Venezuelan Academy of History stressed.

In 2018, Guyana unilaterally requested the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the main judicial body of the United Nations (UN), to resolve the dispute over the Essequibo region. Such a decision dismisses the 1966 Geneva Agreement, which sought to boost an amicable solution to this territorial feud.

On April 6, the ICJ rejected the arguments presented by the Bolivarian authorities to justify that Guyana's claims over this region are not appropriate.

"The ICJ ruling completely dismissed the Geneva Agreement, which is the only legal mechanism that Venezuela considered appropriate to solve this dispute,” said Carmelo Borrego, a law professor at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV).

“The ruling also refused to call the United Kingdom to testify in the court proceedings as a signatory to the 1899 Arbitral Award. The ICJ, however, agreed to review the U.K.'s unlawful and fraudulent conduct over the appropriation of the Essequibo region,” he stressed.

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