Get our newsletter delivered directly to your inbox
Delcy Rodriguez answers questions from journalists from Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Barbados and Belize, to learn more about the subject.
In an interview on Wednesday during the program 'Journalists Ask,' the executive vice president of Venezuela, Delcy Rodriguez, referred to the territorial dispute over the Essequiba Guayana saying that "the truth is that Venezuela was deprived of an important extension of its territory."
We were born with that territory; even, in the formation as Captaincy General that territory was part of Venezuela, it is Venezuela, and in our independence consolidated that territory, Rodriguez told the program hosted by Luis Guillermo García and Madelein García.
"Then, a territory very rich in minerals, mainly gold. As soon as the British Crown was informed of the immense natural resources in gold by explorers, remember the Prussian Schomburgk, who started to manipulate the maps in some way, who made those lines, and also English traders who were in the region illegally exploiting the gold, the British Crown set itself the objective of appropriating that territory, a territory that never belonged to it, never, because even when the Treaty of Tordesillas between Portugal and Spain was signed, Spain kept that territory. In the line fixed in that treaty, there is the territory."
She said that "Guyana (at the time of its independence) inherited that territory, but it inherited it illegally, it is inheriting something that has been stolen; they never, neither the United Kingdom nor Guyana have ever had titles over the territory, something that Venezuela has been able to demonstrate: its titles, its rights, everything that was the possession of that territory."
Vice President of #Venezuela ����, @delcyrodriguezv, is interviewed on #teleSUR to discuss the strategy and reasons for the defense of #GuayanaEsequiba in the face of the territorial dispute with #Guyana over the territory. pic.twitter.com/dCTiSqqrfG— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) November 9, 2023
She said that "Guyana intends to validate the fraud that was consummated in the Paris Arbitral Award of 1899, it intends to validate it as a title, but it is unusual that a fraud can generate a right. This is unusual in the legal world, in the world of international law, a fraud cannot generate law. Guyana's claims are really barbaric, rude, inexplicable, and the most recent one is the violation they are doing in the sea; It is the most recent scandal, and we have even talked about it with leaders, authorities of the whole Caribbean, which is to be disposing, giving concessions of a sea that is pending to be delimited because that sea has not yet been delimited between Venezuela and Guyana, which is what would correspond once the land controversy is resolved, I am referring to the land territory, and that is what the Geneva Agreement of 1966 is for."
Rofriguez said that "if there were so much certainty about the Award, the 1966 Geneva Agreement would not exist, which is in the year 1962 when the Foreign Minister Falcón Briceño of that time says in the Fourth Commission of the United Nations 'a fraud was committed against Venezuela', a fraud in an arbitration sentence where, in addition, Venezuela did not participate. The arbitration tribunal was made up of two Englishmen, two Americans and a representative of Czarist Russia; Venezuela never participated in the sentence, nor did it participate in the Treaty of Washington of 1897, which was the real political agreement, as the President explained very well. It was the political agreement between the United States and the Kingdom of Great Britain to take away Venezuela's territory."
She noted that the first Monroist consensus was on December 2, "one day before our consultative referendum, 200 years of the Monroe Doctrine. Dispossessing Venezuela, stealing Venezuela's territory was the first Monroist consensus with the British Crown."
Venezuela was living a very weak internal situation as a result of internal struggles. Venezuela was going through a process of real vulnerability and was asking for support from the international community, but that is where the empires found the best moment to take over.
A century later, in 2015, Obama's decree institutionalizes one of the most aggressive periods against our republic that our republican history has ever known, such as the illegitimate, illegal blockade against Venezuela to recreate situations of internal weakness, because that same year is when ExxonMobil announces a world famous oil discovery in that disputed territory.
The vicepresident said that "in 2014, we were watching a process of Good Offices, the good officiant dies, Venezuela addresses the Secretary General of the United Nations in 2015 with express letters both from President Nicolás Maduro and, at that time, from the Foreign Ministry, where it is requested to resume the Good Offices and Guyana at that time says no, no more Good Offices. Curiously, this coincided with the ExxonMobil discovery, and here comes this whole process that Venezuela has carried out with much wisdom, with much patience, insisting that the Geneva Agreement is the only instrument that will allow for a practical solution, as the nature of the agreement states, practical and satisfactory for both parties, not for one party."
That is why the nature and legal object of the Geneva Agreement is contradictory to a judgment of the International Court of Justice, because the International Court of Justice will not provide a practical and satisfactory solution for both parties.
Great Britain, the United Kingdom, the empire at that time, was the great despoiler, plunderer of territory all over the planet: The case of the Falklands, the case of Palestine, which is very similar; how 18 years after the fraudulent award of 1899, in the case of Venezuela, the Balfour Declaration was issued, where Great Britain gave Israel the territory of Palestine and you realize how the territorial dispossession of Palestine has been progressing, very similar to the processes that took place in the Essequibo territory, in the Falklands, and in other territories of the world.
The United Kingdom dispossessed territories and gave them to those who did not belong to it.
It is a doctrine and that doctrine is still relevant today, because if you realize the interests of the United States in this territory that is in controversy and in the sea that is pending delimitation, you realize that the interests there are those of the United States; and you know that the Treaty of Washington of 1897, which was the great political consensus to dispossess Venezuela, which was consummated in the fraudulent Award of 1899, implies that the Crown gives that territory to the United States, it says 'we give it to you.'
Likewise, the energy interests that are present, primarily, both in the disputed territory and in the sea to be delimited, are U.S. interests and are mainly Western interests. We are really in the presence of a global war for energy resources.
Since the founding of the International Court of Justice, Venezuela's position has been very clear that it does not recognize the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court. Only 70 countries in the world recognize compulsory jurisdiction, that is to say, they recognize the automatic jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice to settle matters of international interest.
In this case, Venezuela has never recognized compulsory jurisdiction and has not recognized it precisely because we had the precedent of the fraudulent Award of 1899 and this dispute. The only way that Venezuela could attend the Court is when it expresses its willingness to attend; and the Geneva Agreement is also very important because the Geneva Agreement assumes that both parties must agree on the means of settlement of the dispute. So much so that every time a good officiant was to be appointed, both Guyana and Venezuela had to manifest their will to agree, and the last event, which was the current Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, is that the personal representative that he appoints before taking the matter to the International Court, in violation of the Geneva Agreement, was appointed with the consent and the manifestation of will of both parties.
Venezuela cannot be forced to a means of solution that it has not given its expression of will, so this is a matter that is a historical position in not recognizing the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, and that is why it is part of one of the questions of the referendum.
Vice President, you just mentioned that there are interests behind it, there is ExxonMobil now, and that it seems that Guyana was continuing the history of dispossession of that territory started by the United Kingdom.
In Georgetown, we recently saw a photo of President Irfaan Ali in the area that Venezuela claims as its own and is very close to the limit or the de facto line, because it cannot be called a border line because it is not established as such, and we saw him dressed as a military man. Meanwhile, here in Venezuela we saw the Minister of Defense dressed as a military man, because he is the Minister of Defense, but with a leaflet of the consultative referendum in his hand, the complete map.
Rodriguez said that "it is very clear to the world who is the victim here in the sense that Venezuela has been a victim of the Government of the United States directly; year 2015 also, Obama decree. In 2015 there is a decree that lays the foundational foundations for the criminal and illegitimate blockade against Venezuela; there you begin to see the process and you also see a process in Guyana, where its president begins to have very aggressive attitudes towards Venezuela. We cannot forget when (David) Granger, in 2015, one of the most anti-Venezuelan presidents that Guyana has ever had, even declared that Simon Bolivar is the thorn in Guyana's throat, and there these authorities become agents of ExxonMobil."
She added that "When they decide to go to Court, it is because ExxonMobil orders them to go to Court. Let us not forget that ExxonMobil has paid the lawyers for Guyana's defense in the International Court of Justice. When we were there, precisely because a hearing was taking place, they arrived there in ExxonMobil airplanes, paid by ExxonMobil. There is an instrumentalization of Guyana by ExxonMobil, and its authorities are working as employees of ExxonMobil."
The decision of both the President of Guyana and its Parliament not to go to negotiations, of not wanting to dialogue, is part of a provocation script against Venezuela, what we have called 'the drums of war', and our Minister of Defense has promoted the consultative referendum to the Venezuelan people, which is a constitutional right, of our constitutional order, where Venezuelans have the right to be consulted on essential matters of the national life.
This request for provisional measures to stop the consultative referendum in Venezuela is one of the most tremendous cries of desperation we have seen from Guyana. They are really desperate because they have no grounds, the International Court of Justice cannot interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela, of the internal order of Venezuela, of the constitutional order of Venezuela.
They are really showing a lot of desperation by pretending that the Court can stop a consultative referendum where the Venezuelan Parliament, the Venezuelan National Assembly, decided, unanimously approved to call and consult our people. Then they went to the Electoral Power, a date was set, December 3, for our people to be consulted. How can an International Court of Justice come to stop a consultative referendum in Venezuela? This has no legal or juridical basis whatsoever. It is demonstrating not only Guyana's desperation, but that Guyana has become a true colonialist conclave, an imperialist conclave of those who are its allies. Who are Guyana's allies? Because they claim to be a victim, but who are Guyana's allies? With whom does Guyana carry out joint military exercises in this region threatening Venezuela? Nothing more and nothing less than with the United States Southern Command.
Who supports Guyana? Where did they go to ask for the consultative referendum to be stopped? To the Organization of American States, to which Venezuela does not belong because of its history of coups d'état, assassinations, invasions in our Latin America and the Caribbean. Those are Guyana's friends, the great powers are Guyana's friends and they threaten Venezuela, because every time they do a joint military exercise with the Southern Command, with the Pentagon, what they say is 'Venezuela'; that is to say, there is an open threat against Venezuela.
Their partnership, I have said it, their partnership is to attack Venezuela between the United States and Guyana.
This is an issue of national dimension, it is not an issue of the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, a nation-state, where in addition the Barbados agreements are signed by all the political factors, Government and opposition, assume this issue as a unique matter of national union, which is the defense of the territory of the Essequiba Guiana. There is a national consensus and the whole country, and therefore the importance, the relevance, of holding the referendum this December 3. The whole country is committed to this situation.
It is a common cause, of course, and the opposition, there we saw the statements, for example, by Gerardo Blyde, on what was the pronouncement of the disastrous Almagro. It is really a shame because Luis Almagro never ceases to make a fool of himself, let us say that he never misses an opportunity to show his ignorance because he completely ignores the history of our Latin America and the Caribbean, he does not know it, and every time he speaks he proves it.
Not only does he never misses an opportunity to show his ignorance, but he also never misses an opportunity to tell his masters, the United States Government in Washington, 'look, here I am, I am a good employee', as we once told him at the OAS, he is the best employee of the month at McDonald's, because he is always looking to see how to ingratiate himself with his owner.
Our Constitution is very clear, sovereignty resides in the people and the people also have the right, there is the figure in Article 71 of our Constitution, the people have the right to participate in a consultative referendum to address essential matters of national life, the protagonism, and here we are talking about the territorial integrity of Venezuela. We are not talking about just anything, it is the territorial integrity that is being consulted to the Venezuelan people.
What comes out of this consultation will be a mandate for the Venezuelan State; what comes out of this consultation will be a mandate for the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, it will be a mandate for all the institutions of the Venezuelan State.
It is a referendum to consult the Venezuelan people, to see what the Venezuelan people think about these five questions. When Genaro asks, what can Mexico do? We have to join voices to defend our Latin America and the Caribbean as a territory of peace, because there is really a threat from powerful transnationals, from the United States Government, from Guyana that are threatening. It is not Venezuela that is threatening.
There is a lot of money behind Guyana's campaign that they are poor little people, victims; they are not victims in the world. Their friends are not the people who are being massacred.
The Venezuelan Vice President denounced ExxonMobil, which pays and pays for the defense before the International Court of Justice; the Pentagon and the Southern Command, which carries out exercises against Venezuela together with Guyana. It is the imperialist position, it reproduces those colonialist methods against Venezuela, threatening this region.
The call is for our region, the countries of our region to raise their voices and ask for a negotiated solution. It is very serious that Guyana says it is not going to dialogue, it is very serious that Guyana says it is not going to negotiate. What is Guyana thinking? When they know very well that the International Court of Justice, the unilateral claim that they presented, is contrary to Venezuela in the legal way that denies the manifestation of Venezuela's will. They went without Venezuela's consent and they should have had Venezuela's consent because that is what is in the Geneva Agreement.
These are proposals that were even presented at the time of negotiations with Guyana, but the question is: who benefits from the exploitation of these natural resources?
When you analyze the data in Guyana, they begin to have income from oil production and exploitation from 2019, 2020, 2021, 2021, 2022, 2023. The social impact that these revenues have had has been zero in Guyana's social indicators; this is demonstrated in equality indicators, in human development indicators, they are the same as in 2015 and, above all, in the provinces, in the interior of Guyana, extreme poverty is rampant. There you realize, and we have shown it, that Guyana's oil tax regime is to benefit the big transnationals, two thirds of the dividends go to the big transnationals.
There you compare the oil tax regime of Guyana and Venezuela, the oil tax regime of Venezuela is much more noble for our people in terms of its benefits than what Guyana has. A concrete example, royalties paid to Guyana, 1 or 2 percent; royalties to Venezuela, 30 percent; there is a marked difference. So who is Guyana exploiting for? Why is Guyana going to a confrontation threatening Venezuela with the United States? Is it for its people? No.
These proposals have appeared at different moments of the negotiation, but Guyana was already very clear about its objective. Guyana was very clear that its objective was to benefit the large transnationals and not the development of the peoples, neither of Guyana, nor of Venezuela, nor of the peoples of the Caribbean.