Economic war (a real one)

193

DN-ST-87-09857What do you call it when a country throws its military assets behind a campaign to bully and intimidate a much smaller, poorer neighbour for the purpose of spooking away foreign investors and preventing it from carrying out strategic investments?

If the words “Economic War” are to mean anything, shouldn’t they mean that?

This post is a call to get real: what’s happening on Venezuela’s grandiloquently self-styled “fachada atlantica” (the eastern border it disputes with neighboring Guyana) is nothing but an attempt to give off-shore oil investors in Guyana cold feet.

This isn’t the prelude to a war, or an invasion, much less some adolescent fantasy liberation of a long-lost corner of the patria. It is just the mindless bullying of a tiny, poor country by its larger neighbour in some dick-swinging display of primate dominance. Nothing more, nothing less.

The problem is that we Venezuelans are poorly positioned to grasp this, because we approach the Essequibo dispute through two generations of hardcore, know-nothing chauvanist propaganda. A toxic mix of wounded pride and demagogic posturing pioneered by Acción Democrática made this claim so politically addictive even chavismo couldn’t jettison it overboard.

At its center is the idea that the 1899 arbitral ruling that set Venezuela’s eastern border is, in some real sense, “en reclamación”: subject to a live international dispute that could result in Venezuela “regaining” sovereignty over the Western Bank of the Essequibo River.

This is Grade A, industrial strength nonsense.

ciaGuyana

The story is long – 120 years long! – but here’s the gist.

In 1895, the British decided to make a play for the navigable mouth of the Orinoco River – all the way out to Curiapo and down through Guasipati. But the U.S. balked, realizing that losing control of the Orinoco’s shipping lanes would turn eastern Venezuela into a new, de facto British Colony in the Western Hemisphere.

People don’t realize it, but the UK and the US came close to war over this. War was averted, though, when the Brits, under US pressure, agreed to subject the dispute to arbitration through a panel convened in Paris and empowered to make a binding and final decision.

You’ll note Venezuela is largely missing from this narrative, and for good reason: in 1895-1899 Venezuela was more or less a failed state. Guzmanismo had collapsed, but the Andean dictators hadn’t come on the scene yet. The official government in Caracas controlled little beyond the customs house in La Guaira. Venezuela’s extreme weakness is one reason Britain was making a play for its territory. Either way, Caracas was largely a bystander in the Great Power maneuvering in the late 1890s, but it agreed to go to Paris nonetheless.

Now here’s the bit they don’t teach you at school: the panel, in effect, sided with the Americans. It granted Venezuela the strategically crucial control over Orinoco river shipping, then tried to mollify the Brits by awarding them a bunch of virgin jungle. Nobody wanted virgin jungle. That wasn’t the point. As far as anyone knew, it had no value.

Still, un mal arreglo es mejor que un buen pleito, so the Brits accepted the ruling, as did everyone else, including Venezuela. War was averted, case was closed.

For sixty-three years following the award, that was that. Official Venezuelan Maps showed the Essequibo territory as belonging to Britain, and if you know anything about international law, you probably know that accepting territory as belonging to someone else in official maps puts a serious dent on any attempt to convince people that, oh wait, that land is mine.

Venezuela in 1930
Estados Unidos de Venezuela, 1930

Years later, some evidence came out that suggested the Brits were up to some hanky-panky at the Arbitration Panel: specifically, that they cut a deal with the Russian judge privately to try to improve the settlement they would get. Only trouble is that by the time the memo in question came out in 1949, all the principals were dead. There was no chance to cross-examine them, to check and match recollections, to really make sure Severo Mallet-Prevost’s version held up.

But even if the allegations in Mallet-Prevost’s posthumous memo are right, by the standards of 19th century Great Power diplomacy the infraction is the equivalent of speeding up when you see a traffic light turn yellow – perhaps not exactly the way the rule-book says you should do things, but c’mon.

Think about the international context. At roughly the same time the British were settling the Western edge of their South American colony via undue influence between gentlemen in a Paris diplomatic salon, they were settling the Northern edge of their South African empire by wantonly machine-gunning Boers into smithereens and rounding the survivors up into concentration camps.

You want to talk about dodgy borders? Fourteen years earlier, sitting around a conference table in Berlin, a handful of European diplomats had carved up the whole of Africa, drawing random lines on a huge map over any number of places none of them had ever seen. That’s a dodgy border!

What’s staggering is how Venezuelans politicians act as though some enormous, unprecedented violence had been perpetrated against the homeland in the arbitration without the slightest sense of irony.  Guys, every 19th century colonial border was dodgy! 

Ours was, if anything, more kosher than most. At least we had a formal process, and a big power fighting our corner. If we hadn’t had that, Guyana would probably share a border with Anzoátegui State.

The posture -universally adopted in Venezuelan political circles left, right and center- that the 1899 decision can be reversed or revised is a childish fantasy, at best, and a threat to world peace at worst.

I’m not exaggerating. Just glance through Wikipedia’s page on international territorial disputes: there are hundreds and hundreds of them, and quite a few of them involve countries better armed, more geostrategically salient than Venezuela and Guyana, and certainly some with better claims than ours.

A world where the 1899 Arbitral Settlement is open to question is a world where a hundred other, far bigger and much wrigglier cans of worms are open. It’s a world where Turkey and Greece are at each other’s throats over Tenedos, where India and China are on an escalation path to nuclear war over half-a-dozen contested outposts, where Bolivia’s claim on some prime sea-side Chilean real estate looks like a slam dunk, where Cambodia and Thailand are on a trip-wire to conflict over the Preah Vihear Temple, and an etc. as long as my arm.

An international system where a 63-year old settlement, long accepted by everyone involved, can be undone over a dead man’s memo is a wildly unstable and insanely dangerous international system. A world where the 1899 arbitration can be thrown out is a world you do not want to live in.

And it’s a world no international court would consider leading us into. If you doubt this, ask any of the heavy-chested defenders of our claims over the Esequibo: say, why don’t we go to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to settle this? Watch them balk at the thought of trying to convince a panel of impartial judges that Venezuela’s rightful eastern border is the Esequibo River. It’s a preposterous claim, and they know it.

These basic realities have gone so long without being said out loud in Venezuela, they’re a complete revelation to most people. What’s most disheartening about the current spat is the way the entire opposition leadership, having spent years towing the traditional chauvinist line, is stuck having to tacitly support Maduro’s abhorrent economic war on Guyana. Posturing that seemed cost-free at the time now comes back to haunt them: support Venezuela’s cowardly bullying tactics, or be a flip-flopper as well as a vendepatria.

At some point, somebody grown up is going to have to put his or her head above the parapet and say the blindingly freakin’ obvious: el Esequibo es de Guyana. Siempre lo ha sido. Siempre lo será.

At most, we can sabotage their very poor economy. Wantonly. Pathetically. To no end. And I guess that’s the plan.

But is that something the opposition should be applauding?

193 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve always seen it a bit differently. As in, it doesnt matter if the Esequibo was wrongly grabbed by the British and Venezuela has reasons to claim it from them. As soon as Guyana became independent, the thing was settled.

    But yep, all the dodgy back-room dealings or the suspictions of them ammount to little now. Its too long and , for all that anybody could argue, it was settled in the correct way. That is – it doesnt matter if the arbitration panel was wrong, it was what they decided. You may think they were mistaken but you agreed to arbitration so…

    • A Petition from over 90,000 Essequibians
      We the people of Essequibo urge Mr. Maduro (our President) to please come and visit us and starts issuing us with the Venezuelan passports and id cards sir. We would cultivate the rice to feed our nation (Venezuela). We despise liars, cheaters, bullies, convicts, criminals (APNU/AFC) to rule over us. The Gold, Diamond, Oil, Fish, Forest, Rice are all Venezuela’s. Signed Sealed And authenticated by over 90,000 Essequibians. Now is the time to visit your providence Mr. President Nicolas Maduro. We anxiously awaiting on your arrival. Thank you.

      • That’s a lie. Essequibo does not have 90,000 people who would sign such a petition, and if so, there are free to leave and join the Venezuela. We the people of Guyana stand by our leader, the Hon. David A. Granger, and will fight for what’s our. Bryan.

      • Idiot. Your poor grammar and dictate is your dead giveaway as impostor and a poor one at that. If you really despise liars, etc then you must really hate yourself. Keep on dreaming about diamonds, oil and fish in the Essequibo, it is the closest you will ever get, you poor soul!

      • Andy, I very much doubt that you are a Guyanese. You have failed to put forward a reasoned argument and therefore cannot be taken seriously. Francisco’s article is both well researched and accurate. I only wish that there were more Venezuelans like him.

        However, even Francisco has missed an important point in relation to the Exxon-Mobil oil discovery. The discovery was made in the Stabroek bloc which lies 120 miles off the coast of Demerara County so it is a mystery how those waters can be included in President Maduros’s decree. Indeed the decree infringes at least partially the waters of other countries, for example Surinam. It is the extension of Venezuela’s claims that alarmed the CARICOM member states who previously had very good relations with Venezuela as a result of the generous petro-caribe deal. If President Maduros had turned up as previously planned to the CARICOM summit he would have received a polite but not friendly welcome.

        The claim on Essequibo has no validity either moral or legal and the extension of the claims to waters outside the original claim is sheer fantasy. It would be a very serious mistake to underestimate the resolve of the Guyanese people and we are not bereft of influential allies.

        Latin America and the Caribbean nations need good fraternal relations and economic partnership and integration. We need to develop a common political position that would enable us to achieve our destinies and protect our continent and region from too much North American domination.

      • Are you insane? Essequibo does not have a population of 90,000 people. Yal full of shit to just submit your self to tyrants! Get bullied out of what is already yours. If they want to give you IDs why dont they just issue you your paper so that you can live in Venezuela, on there soil? you ninckonfarts!

      • in the late 70’s the us removed the 7th fleet naval patrols off the south china seas (more or less to hedge off any inklings of a chinese invasion to retake taiwan). now decades later the chinese military is virtually claiming the south china seas for themselves and trying to legitimize it through the construction of man made islands. the point is, is that the 7th fleet was a deterrent. regardless of who holds the moral high ground for the disputed territory, politics will always trump morals no matter how unfair the situation may be deemed. it is pure folly for the venezuelan government to send troops into the disputed territory. even though this would not incur military intervention by the us or britain why even take the risk of having potential american or british troops on guyanese soil to eventually remain stationed (even temporarily) on the border? venezuela should consider the lessons of the straights of taiwan… they dont want their “7th fleet” to be american or british.
        interestingly during the 70’s the guyanese government employed a little known deterrent against any venezuelan incursions. jim jones, politically socialist, was looking for a country that would be the safest from nuclear attack – guyana was that place. the socialist country of guyana, at that time, permitted jonestown to be settled in the hinterlands near the venezuelan border. the thinking was, as little as an effective reason as it was then as it is today, that settling americans there would be somewhat of a deterrent against incursion or invasion.
        politically speaking this would have been the perfect time for venezuela to reclaim the land because us and british relations were at an all time low with guyana due to the cold war. and there was no way castro would have volunteered troops into disputed guyana when he was sending troops elsewhere in africa. win win for venezuela. everyone in that part of guyana would now be speaking spanish.
        but you know there still may be a reluctance of the british and the americans to commit ground troops into guyana to push back an invasion… there are some even in guyana that understand this. perhaps it is time for some guyanese to learn spanish… and may be the castro brothers would even volunteer cuban ground troops to help their socialist brothers in caracas. wow…times have changed. just imagine if the russians sent troops with the venezuelans… they would eventually claim guyana and probably take venezuela too (echoes of the ukraine)!

        forgive me for being flippant.

        in all seriousness, it is quite obvious (that since the economy in venezuela is in decline and with the discovery of oil anywhere in guyana) that the government in caracas is only making this move to 1) deflect from its own shortcomings and 2) oil is money.
        the sad reality is that even if venezuela reclaimed the disputed territory it would only mismangage it and further drap themselves and others down a path of a deeper quagmire. it seems that this part of south america will always have that in common on either side of the “border”. oh yeah… lets not forget that surinam has claims on the eastern side of guyana… the fun never ends.

  2. “an international system where a 50 year old settlement, long accepted by both original claimants, can be undone over a dead man’s memo is a wildly unstable and insanely dangerous international system” Funny story is that the system is unstable, that’s why we call it in International Relations theory a Anarchical system, where there’s not authority (as we see with China actions on south china sea or Morocco in SUb-saharian) and states can do whatever they want, if they’re stong enough to resist the heat.

    I disagree a bit with this post, because a high resource territory will always be a good asset to a country (and Essequibo is one ), but i agree that this diplomatic approach will just have the opossite effect.

    And even in XXI Century, Bismarck words speak some true: “The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood”

    • I disagree…! There is no need for “iron and blood” when the negotiating table will work just as well. Bring Maduro and the boys to the table, fill the water glasses with leftover ‘Jim Jones’ Kool Aid (I’m sure there’s still some left somewhere), shut-off the air conditioning due to a power failure (the Chavista’s would NEVER be suspicious of such a common day occurrence) and watch the bodies fall from the table. Simple. No need for Krupp canons when you still have some leftover Kool Aid.

    • A Petition from over 90,000 Essequibians
      We the people of Essequibo urge Mr. Maduro (our President) to please come and visit us and starts issuing us with the Venezuelan passports and id cards sir. We would cultivate the rice to feed our nation (Venezuela). We despise liars, cheaters, bullies, convicts, criminals (APNU/AFC) to rule over us. The Gold, Diamond, Oil, Fish, Forest, Rice are all Venezuela’s. Signed Sealed And authenticated by over 90,000 Essequibians. Now is the time to visit your providence Mr. President Nicolas Maduro. We anxiously awaiting on your arrival.

    • Citizenship by birth is irrevocable, period. Everyone knows the classic two ways to obtain it —birth in the country or inheritance from your parents when born abroad— but there’s an obscure third way to get it in Venezuela:

      If you immigrate as a child and stay in the country until adulthood and by that time your parents have already become naturalized citizens, you’re entitled to citizenship by birth. That’s MC Alonso’s case.

      Obscurantism comes in handy when needing false claims and distractions. Humberto, you’re welcome.

    • A Petition from over 90,000 Essequibians
      We the people of Essequibo urge Mr. Maduro (our President) to please come and visit us and starts issuing us with the Venezuelan passports and id cards sir. We would cultivate the rice to feed our nation (Venezuela). We despise liars, cheaters, bullies, convicts, criminals (APNU/AFC) to rule over us. The Gold, Diamond, Oil, Fish, Forest, Rice are all Venezuela’s. Signed Sealed And authenticated by over 90,000 Essequibians. Now is the time to visit your providence Mr. President Nicolas Maduro. We anxiously awaiting on your arrival. Thank you….

  3. Really good post, Quico. You excel at historical-political overviews. But please, can you limit the no-no multiple adverbs to describe one action (“..we Venezuelans are especially badly positioned to grasp this..”), and temper the melodrama (“A world where the 1899 arbitration can be thrown out is a world you do not want to live in”)? TIA.

    P.S. Love your imagery: “some dick-swinging display of primate dominance”.

  4. A while ago Juan wrote a post that I somehow equal to “cutting our losses at the Esequibo” by approaching this as pragmatically as possible, but always under the assumption that the Esequibo was a lost cause for us Venezuelans. It would be good to revisit this post.

    On why this arises now, it’s hard to venture a guess. On the one hand, the Government was always permissive of the dealings of the Caribbean nations, as a gesture to secure political points. On the other hand, it’s really, really hard to give free hand to Guyana on such a sensitive issue for Venezuelans, especially when it’s so easy to score political points by denouncing the passivity on the Esequibo issue.

    And now that we are on to that, I wonder if Isla de Aves (and the Navy base there) still exists…

    • I agree with the basics of Quico’s post. The next step, though, lies in the politics of this – of course nobody in the opposition will come out and say the obvious, because it’s political suicide.

      What needs to happen – and what Guyana needs to give us – is an exit strategy. Something that allows Venezuela to save face. Perhaps they can give us a tiny island somewhere and leave it at that. Or perhaps they should simply take us to The Hague (can they?). Regardless, there needs to be some finality on this issue if we are ever going to get along.

      • “Something that allows Venezuela to save face.”

        Internationally, Venezuela does not have much face left to save.

        Nevertheless, I am certain the Guyanese would negotiate and make concessions in return for some sort of finality, but only if Venezuela were negotiating in good faith. Currently, I don’t see this happening. The current questionable legitimacy of the Chavista government makes any deal achieved questionable, especially considering that Venezuela rejected a previous deal that stood uncontested for 64 years.

      • All due respect, Juan, but the Guayanese don’t have to do Jackk Diddly Squat.

        Which is what they have been doing since 1966.

        Possession is 9 tenths of the law, goes the old legal maxim, and in this case it’s more like 98%.

        As long as the status quo continues, It’s Guyana’s game to lose, not Venezuela’s to win.

        I mean, after almost 50 years of back and forth, they are still in Guayana and Venezuela still paints that part of the world in Candy Stripes. Why should Guayana change anything?

        Now, if somehow, somewhen, Venezuela could extract concessions in return for recognition, great.

        What a shame PDVSA isn’t what it used to be.

        Can you imagine the kind of deal Venz could have made with Guayana with that expertise to offer?

        Sadly, all we can do is give them rhetoric at this point.

      • This has been played up in Venezuela for so long, that I don’t see how it could ever be widely accepted. I had a yankee lawyer friend who researched the case, and told me point blank that Venezuela has zero case. One of the important points he highlighted was that since the arbitration both Guyana and Venezuela have been behaving like the Esequibo belongs to Guyana, notably including the granting of mining concessions. It took me many years to accept that the Esequibo was never ours, and I see a large number of Venezuelans who lose all sense of reason when this issue is even vaguely mentioned. This is not a good omen.

      • The only one trying to save face is Diosdado. As for Guayana, that’s U.S. Exxon my friend. This thing is being negotiated right now. We’ll know in a few days.

  5. Thanks for clearing this up. I always skipped the stupid Nationalistic school lessons on this, and took sides with the Britts for some reason..

    Typical case of what’s wrong with excessive “Patriotism” and many other “isms”. Regionalisms can also be incredibly stupid and even deadly. Especially when mixed with stupid Religions. That’s the bloody story of the Middle East, Africa, etc. Ignorance, outrageous religions, and retarded “isms”.

  6. Francisco has taken a common sense , balanced , pragmatic view of Venezuelas boundary dispute with Guiana , there probably was some hanky panky involved in how the settlement was arrived at , and that of course is irritating and humiliating , specially to people who see themselves as very proud of their swaggering manlines and never to be fooled or taken advantage of , least of all by ‘arrogant’ foreigners.

    The late discovery of that hanky panky determined the birth of a movement of passionate patriotic fervour against the boundary treaty and politicaly made it imperative that all Venezuelan govts denounce it as ‘unfair’ and invalid whatever the practicalities of any such initiative. The problem is more political than legal .(although it does have a legal side) Now all govts are stuck with it whatever the practicalities of advancing such claim in todays world.

    Usually those initiatives dont result in a substantive change in the boundaries themselves but sometimes if the cards are played right some advantages can be gained by the party making the claim as the price to be paid by the party keeping the spoils to settle the matter . For instance some sharing of the subsea resources found arround the disputed maritime area. Also where maritime boundaries are concerned the possibility of drawing jig saw lines is broader than were land boundaries is concerned ( if in doubt check on the Peruvian Chile maritime dispute ) .

    We all remember our history of confrontations with Colombia on the issue of maritime waters and how some resolute measures on the part of various past Venezuelan govt ensured that Venezuelas titles over those waters were preserved .

    If Venezuela was capable of taking those measures against Colombia ( at least its equal in size and military capacity) the fact that Guiana is smaller doenst give it any moral privileges . So the big country being a meanie for taking on a smaller country doesnt really work in this case , except if you appeal to primitive assesments of fairness . A midget criminal doenst get away for being smaller than their victims .!!

    I myself while simpathetic to understanding the boundary dispute as something rather irrational in this late stage of the game , am sensitive that there are sensitive political cum emotional issues which limit any govts capacity to settle the dispute .

    What we are really seeing is that Guiana sensing the current regimes current financial and political weakness , its impopularity on a larger international scene, its diplomatic vulnerabilities ( Caricom) is advancing a bold strategy to gain a de facto control over the exploitation of the disputed maritime areas without the regime being able to do very much to counter it. This is a case of Realpolitik more than anything else.

    The govt doesnt really want to face Guiana on this issue , it knows its weaknesses and vulnerabilities , at the same time to overtly abandon the claim could have a very negative internal impact on local public opinion which it naturally wants to avoid . So its locked between the horns of an irresoluble dilemma . !!

    What I find most revealing is that its phocused its initial attacks against Exxon rather than on the Guianese govt , impying that the would really want to avoid the latter .

  7. Actually stupid, uneducated Nationalism is one of the first things that Totalitarian Regimes invariably exploit.

    If you notice, every war, every Dictatorship, from the German Nazis, to the Serbs.. the Propaganda is geared toward ignorant notions of “Patriotism”, as if in the end, and especially nowadays, we weren’t all are recent immigrants from some other place.

    Beyond retarded, and deadly. In Guisolzuela, “La Patria de Bolivar” was from Day 1 the Main Flag for Chavismo. Ironically, the biggest Bourgeois, Super riich Sifrino Boliburgues, Simon Bolivar, who back-stabbed many of his friends for Power, is almost the God of this stupid Rebolusion..

    Every action and Disaster in Guisozuela is justified by “La Patria”, nuestra amada Venezuela, and all. Or the “injerencia” and Economic Wars on our Patria from Foreigh Imperialistic Invaders.. LIES, of course, geared toward the stupid, exacerbated populace, who have been Brain-Washed since birth about such robotic Nationalistic Crap.

    It’s ok of course to feel some Love for the country where you were born, grew up, the people,traditions, etc. El Avila, Los Andes, una Reina Pepiada or Pollo Rivera, Choroni.. great. But people get radicalized, embrutecidos.. especially the under-educated and those who hardly ever traveled or have not spent significant time in other countries, with different cultures, languages..

    As if Cubazuela was the center of the Universe, stupid crap like “el mejor pais del mundo, con la comida mas rica del mundo, blah, blah, blah..” (Same Crap as USA # 1 here, for those retarded red-necks.. or French retarded patriotism, etc)

    As usual the bottom line is Education, or lack thereof. This ignorant exacerbated Nationalism or Patriotism is constantly used and abused, ironically, to destroy whatever’s left of Venezuela.

  8. Years ago Robert Ardrey wrote about mens basic need for identity , a sense of beign distinct and somehow superior to the rest of mankind , a stong emotional drive that has us men feel proud of possesing a collective identity that sets us apart , that makes us feel special or better than the rest of mankind . This need for possesing a distinct identity can take the form of patriotism , but it can also become religious or ideological, political or racial , An important part of that enhanced sense of identity is feeling entitled to scorn those that dont share our collective identity .

    John Adams ( as quoted by Hannah Arent) spoke of mans ‘Passion for distinction’ as the foundation stone of politics. There is no man which lacks this passion even though the mask it wears is different for every one . Enhancing ones sense of collective identity can make many adopt irrational but highly exultant beliefs or causes , being a fundamentalist muslim, a politicaly correct liberal or progressive, a tea party militant , a leftist revolutionary , an ardent white supremacist, represent different ways n which this fundamental passion for identity , for distinction is expressed.

    Arguing about its rationality or irrationality is useless , its just part of what makes human beings what they are . The passion can be exploited many different ways by unscrupolous regimes or causes . Education doesnt touch it , it can make it less or more virulent , more pretentious or less pretentious , but it cant make it dissapear , it will always be there!!

    .

    • “Arguing about its rationality or irrationality is useless “. Of course not.

      It’s not only about demonstrating the sheer stupidity of exacerbated “Patriotism”, “Nationalism” or “regionalism”, — let alone senseless man-made religions — it’s about changing ourselves as individuals and collective societies through Knowledge and Common Sense, the least common of all senses, it seems.

      • Being a ‘Citizen of the world’ who despises all forms of patriotism’ is also a way of paying tribute to ones passion for an enhanced sense of identity , for distinction, The thing is to take whatever marks your collective identity naturally , without too much fuss, without advertising too obviously how proud you are of what makes you different and consequently scornful of others.

        Borges made fun of Lorca when he visited Buenos Aires attributing to him trying to be ‘profesionalmente andaluz’ during his stay there. In other words of being artificial and concieted about his Andalucian identity.

        Ortega criticized the definition of man as a rational animal , he instead defined man as being an endevour to be rational without ever achieving the condition in full . Modern psychology has borne him out .

        Nonetheless I share your view of Chauvinism as a harmful thing we should not encourage.

        • Don’t put words in other people’s posts. Not all forms of “Patriotism” or nationalist, or some sense of identity are ignorant, irrational and ultimately detrimental. That’s why I used several times the words “exacerbated” and exaggerated.

          And who called anyone “citizen of the world”? Your words, not mine. I also happen to think that our over-bloated, ignorant Egos often lead us to still think that this little Earth is the center of the Universe(s) and of every possible dimension we don’t even begin to comprehend. But that’s another story.

          As we continue the slow process from the Earth is Flat, Rome is the center of it, to Galileo and the Universe we do not understand at all is apparently expanding, at least one of its multiple dimensions in time and/or space, methinks a step in the right direction is moving away for the stupid “isms” I just described.

          • Your gratuitous inference is that when I referred to citizens of the world etc ( and their morally snobish condemnation ot patriotism and senseless religion) I meant you , someone whose name I never mentioned . Do you feel the reference describes you , ?? Now why would you think that ??

            In my prior blogs I was referring in the abstract to some beliefs or practices which are followed by morallly self pretentious purportedly politicaly correct people without realizing they are much closer in spirit to what they condem than (if they were more lucid) they would feel comfortable with . Personalizing all statements made here to treat them as pretexts for the making of insults is not my thing at all .!! I for one dont think Im the centre of the Universe , my egocentricity doesnt go that far. Also I dont particularly enjoy embroidering my writing with puerile vituperative insults against everything in sight , specially the kind of insults that would delight a 13 year old , of the Beavis and Butthead type. So you really shouldnt feel offended by what I wrote !!

            Now its clear to me that what you condem is not patriotism or religious beliefs but the exagerated manner in which it is used by people to inspire their most vulgarly bloated passions. I have no quarrel with that.

            I also sympathise with your view that men should progressively move away from parrochialism to a more universal view of things . I am however rather skeptical that even as we fool urselves that we have progresed to a higher stage of cosmopolitanism the tribalism in us is very much alive somewhere in our instincts , waiting to rise again at the smallest provocation albeit wearing a new mask. We think weve scaped it but are still in thrall to its seductions .

            I shall in future try to be more careful not to put thoughts into other peoples words just because to me they are suggestive of those thoughts. My apologies.!!

          • Suffice it to say that excessive “regionalism” “nationalism” “patriotism” and “religionism” — of any of the man-made popular varieties — are all born of ignorance and usually lead to conflicts, segregation, degradation, chaos, premature death and multiple other forms of stupidity.

            Some of us nameless monks just try to join alternative extraterrestrial dimensions while meditating, hoping to get away form the boring self and other Egos as much as possible .. trying not to think about what’s going on in Cubazuelita.

          • Trying through spiritual meditation to get away from a boring self must turn your ego into an exciting one !! Never give up, keep on trying , the rewards are inmense !! Beavis also had moments of methaphisical exultation in which he repeated again and again a mantra about ‘bungholes’ . The pursuit of inner enlightment and purity is one we all admire , after all , all things are one !!

  9. Some facts to keep in mind:

    1) The potential resource for the Guyana/Surinam basin is huge, ranked No. 2 in the world by the USGS:
    http://cgxenergy.ca/Operations/About-Guyana/Basin-Potential.aspx

    2) The ExxonMobil exploration indicates a light, sweet crude, just what PDVSA needs to mix with the heavy Orinoco stuff to make the final product more marketable.

    If there are any competent executive types left in PDVSA, they are surely advising Maduro and Co. that future Venezuelan hegemony in the region, and economic and political success on the homefront, will be greatly enhanced by getting control of the Esequibo.

      • I disagree with Quico on this one. I think we have the right to press our claim on Esequibo. Accepting the 1895 accord would be like justifying that because Libya cant defend its territory right now Libya should accept that the uk take 10% of its territory for expansion’s sake.

        It’s not that we need the resources to live well. But at least there should be a serious discussion attempt before full capitulation.

        • That ship sailed decades ago amigo. What you will be seeking to do is create a dispute where non exists other than in the minds of the agitators, and for which you will be placed squarely on the wrong sides of both history and the law. In case you didn’t notice, while Guyana only had the Brits on it’s side for the 1899 arbitral award, now has both the Brits and the USA in its corner. Go figure. How do you think the U.S. views the prospect of securing a viable alternative energy supply from a grateful small state, which is decidedly right wing? Good luck with your fantasy claim!

          • history have a way of turning like a wheel, the fact that we are in a bad negotiating position right now doesn’t mean that that will be the case in the future. It is an issue that will remerge every now and then forever, I don’t think it is a good idea to capitulate now.

    • The issue of oil is kind of nonsensical. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, and most of them lie unexploited thanks to PDVSA’s inefficiency. Do we *really* need to be robbing our neighbors of their pitiful reserves? I mean, the year PDVSA has the technical know-how to drill for oil in the Esequibo’s Atlantic basin is the year I eat my hat.

      Part of me thinks that this is all payback from Venezuela to Exxon Mobil for being dicks to chavistas, and to the new Guyanese government, for being close to the Americans.

      • From above:

        ” 2) The ExxonMobil exploration indicates a light, sweet crude, just what PDVSA needs to mix with the heavy Orinoco stuff to make the final product more marketable.”

        Plenty of reason right there.

    • Lorenzo,

      So, are you saying that should pursue this claim on the basis of economic benefit and “because we can?”

      Would it not make more sense to acknowledge Guyana’s find, and look for ways to bring them into a partnership to make the best use of the new resources for the benefit of both countries?

      • No, I am only pointing out that the temptations are huge. Way beyond national pride. Huge enough, in fact, for a not-too-bright administration to try something stupid.

        Absolutely, a partnership would make more sense. The other route will be decided 100% in favor of the country that has friends with aircraft carriers.

    • I’m in favor of anything that prevents Venezuela from getting more of the very thing (oil) that has provided easy money for corrupt, big government administrations. Call me apátrida or whatever, I couldn’t care less.

      #GoGuyana

      • I do understand your point and agree with it in some sort but I would like to ask yourself a question: how come Venezuela has had access to oil money since the 1920s and for 50 years we had been doing fairly good?

        • Sorry, but producing nothing significant besides what’s coming from punching the ground you happened to be born in, throwing money at every problem you face, and treating citizens as children in need of care from pappa-state, is not my idea of doing fairly good.

          • Being the first tropical country in the world to eradicate tropical diseases is not significant. Then Arnoldo Gabaldón was a jerk. I don’t think you’re seeing the whole picture yet.

          • A venezuelan lady who is an excellent cook once experimented with preparing for the first time a british mutton dish , the experiment unfortunately was not a success , thereafter she said she would not repeat the experiment because ‘mutton was not fit for cooking’ . People who complain about the curse that oil has represented for Venezuela sound like that lady , they blame the oil for their ultimate incapacity (after decades of relying on it to feed themselves ) to handle the resource wisely !!

          • In a few years, I built about 80% of Venezuela’s current infrastructure, and how much was my oil income in the 50’s?

          • El perezjimenizmo efectivamente construyó gran parte de la infraestructura del país pero haciendo honor a la verdad y sólo hablando del marco económico:

            a) Las contrataciones laborales eran en régimen de semi esclavitud, ya que la mano de obra importada ganaba muchísimo menos de lo que cuesta la mano de obra ahora y era mano de obra que tenía que pagar su derecho a estar en el país, condición del reclutamiento en Europa.

            b) El ingreso petrolero era bastante menos que hoy, pero la población también lo era, y mucho menos, de tal manera que las demandas tanto en servicios como en infraestructuras eran mínimas, Venezuela entonces era un Emiratos Árabes pero con agua, selvas, sabanas, tierras fértiles y minerales.

            c) No existían prácticamente demandas fiscales para el mantenimiento del Estado, el aparato público era el de un país de apenas <3 MM de personas.

            d) Con una producción agraria ridícula Venezuela se autoabastecía de alimentos, no había la cultura de consumo de bienes importados que se implantó en la sociedad años después ni había necesidad de importar los alimentos que se consumían.

            e) La fiscalidad funcionaba diferente, los municipios tenían una cultura fiscal más fuerte pues la administración no dependía tanto como hoy del modelo de reparto impuesto por la constitución del 61.

            No negaré que la Venezuela de hoy desde hace 40 años despilfarra los recursos fiscales, pero llevando los ingresos fiscales per cápita y los ingresos petroleros per cápita a precios actualizados de hoy, la comparación pierde sentido y uno se da cuenta de que en aquella época también se manejó una cantidad grandísima de dinero y además con muchas menos necesidades que hoy.

          • Mira, me gustaria ver un estudio serio..

            Pero si comparas los ingresos de MPJ y las obras que hizo en menos de 7 años, con el ingreso de los Adecos/Copeyanos mas Chavistas en 70 años, es para llorar. Y nadie nunca ha cobrado impuestos en Guisozuela, osea que olvidate de eso.

            Wild guess:

            MPJ, en 7 años hizo 10 VECES mas en Vzla que adecos/copeyanos en 70 años, con un DECIMA parte del ingreso comparativo.

            Do the math, robo o no robo, impuesto o no impuesto, ahi estan las autopistas, Sidor, y todo los demas.

            Y sin 25000 Muertos por año..

          • You think that MPJ built HALF of what you see today in Venezuela, in less than 7 years, with the meager oil production/prices of the 1950’s, and, yet, he stole more than Chavismo or Adecos/Copey who have built nothing in 70 years?

            I wonder where you learned basic math.

            Comparing the pocket change I stole to what they steal these days is… beyond retarded.

          • Of course there was not enough public income with the meager oil production of the 1950s. That is why MPJ burned through the entire Venezuelan sovereign wealth fund (US$100 billion).

            The lame smart-ass just got lamer.

  10. The BBC article left out some key facts/context (like the ruling was actually favorable to Venezuela at the time and the unwanted virgin jungle was just thrown in to save face for the Brits).

    Also: “Venezuela never accepted the ruling, arguing it was unfair.”

    From your post it sounds like Venezuela did accept the ruling for a long period. BBC needs to step its game up.

    • I am no expert on international law, but I think there exists a legal precedent that in order for a territorial claim to remain valid, a country must assert its claim on a regular basis in some active manner.

      I learned this in Thailand, when I tried to take a river trip into an area controlled by a group called the Red Karen (famous for its women wearing neck rings that elongate their necks). This territory is in Burma (Myanmar) but is effectively controlled by the Red Karen Nationalists. Every year, a couple of weeks before the rainy season, the Burmese army makes its annual effort to defeat the Nationalists. For a couple of weeks, they crash around in the jungle, and blow up some trees, and generally make a ruckus. When the rains come, having re-validated their territorial claims, they call it a day and go home. My planned trip to visit a Red Karen village was prevented because I inadvertently arrived exactly when the Burmese were reestablishing their claim.

      As I said, I am no expert on this, but how can a country assert a territorial claim after 64 years of accepting the adjudicated borders? For this, and all the other reasons elucidated by Francisco, this claim is even less valid than Argentina’s claim to the Falklands/Malvinas.

      • Actually, Argentina’s claim to the Falklands/Malvinas isn’t even valid anymore. They went to war with the UK over the issue and lost it. Add to that the results on the Falklands sovereignty referendum of 2013.

      • Nice anecdote. Before I do a Friday afternoon Tribe research (why not?), allow me to venture a wild, wild guess: this endless conflict between the “Red Karen Nationalists” and the Burmese army has a lot to do with:

        1/ (Dumb) Religion differences
        2/ (Dumb) Regionalism/patriotism/nationalism

        or both, as always.

        Of course, the Real reasons behind this and 95% of worldwide conflicts is quite another:

        Money, Greed and Power.

        • Well, since you mention it… The Red Koren produce opium as their cash crop and want to be left alone to do so, other than entertaining and dressing up for tourists when needed. The armies of Burma, Thailand, and Laos are involved in the distribution and trafficking (ever hear of the “Golden Triangle”?). Pretty much everyone is satisfied with the status quo, but the annual pro forma incursion to assert sovereignty is required.

  11. Thanks, Quico This is very helpful. I’ve asked many people about this over the years and learned very little.

    I imagine that Guyana could go to the UN for support in asserting it’s basic rights.

    Meanwhile, if chavismo intends to say this is some continuing colonial abuse against Venezuela instigated by a greedy IOC, the Guyanese, it seems to me, could trump them easily at that game[1]. … a country of Black slaves and transplanted indentured Indian laborers that only gained its independence many decades after Venezuela is being bullied by a big oil-rich neighbor that itself has always done a lucrative if often inept and corrupt business with the International Oil Companies and now objects to the poor Guyanese finally making a little bit of cash from oil.

    I suppose Guyana could try to co-opt the anti-colonial narrative if they were so inclined! However, there are limitations, considering the role of the US in it’s early years [3]. (On the other hand, one could get into the details of how the US State Dept., with an eye to larger matters regarding Cuba and the Middle East oil producers] favored Venezuela’s nationalization of oil versus IOC interests, but I digress.)

    -=-=-=-=-=- Notes -=-=-=-=-=
    [1] Wiki: Guyana was originally colonised by the Netherlands. Later, it became a British colony, known as British Guiana, and remained so for over 150 years until it achieved independence on 26 May 1966 from the United Kingdom. On 23 February 1970, Guyana officially became a republic. In 2008, the country joined the Union of South American Nations as a founding member.

    [2] Wiki: The largest ethnic group is the Indo-Guyanese (also known as East Indians), the descendants of indentured labourers from India, who make up 43.5% of the population, according to the 2002 census. They are followed by the Afro-Guyanese, the descendants of slaves from Africa, who constitute 30.2%. Guyanese of mixed heritage make up 16.7%, while the indigenous peoples (known locally as Amerindians) make up 9.1%. The indigenous groups include the Arawaks, the Wai Wai, the Caribs, the Akawaio, the Arecuna, the Patamona, the Wapixana, the Macushi and the Warao.[1] The two largest groups, the Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese, have experienced some racial tension.[30][31][32]

    [3] Wiki: Guyana achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 26 May 1966 and became a republic on 23 February 1970, remaining a member of the Commonwealth. The US State Department and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), along with the British government, played a strong role in influencing political control in Guyana during this time.[11] The American government supported Forbes Burnham during the early years of independence because Cheddi Jagan was identified as a Marxist. They provided secret financial support and political campaign advice to Burnham’s People’s National Congress, to the detriment of the Jagan-led People’s Progressive Party, which was mostly supported by Guyanese of East Indian background.

  12. Imagine this scenario:

    The Chavistas fall and we are all celebrating, the MUD finally takes over. People are happy because they know that prosperity and peace will come. The hopes and spirits are very high. Everyone is investing in Venezuela. To buy Venezuelan “prime sea-side real state” is one of the hottest investments in the world you can do. PDVSA’s bonds are being bought like there IS a tomorrow for the first time in years.The expats are returning from all over the world to help rebuild the country. They start crying already when the plane lands, because they have their country back and that just seems too good.

    And amid all this, what is first thing the new government does? They invade Esequibo!

    What is depressing is not the lunacy of the bad guys — that’s what we already expect from them –, but of the good ones.

    • Haven’t we learned what always happens when you give oil-infested territory to “indigenous people”? The Oil Curse!

      • Talking about the oil curse , there is a video where Moises Naim makes some intelligent observation on the subject , Its a video where he appears in ha panel of people discussing a new book on oil to cash transfers which ex torres kindly referred to the readers of this page . What Moises has to say about the practicalities of the oil to cash transfer idea is also worth listening to . He is certainly lucid about seeing the problems of underdevelopement as inevitably tied to the need of creating functioning public institutions . Good old Moises always on the mark. !! The panel video was made last june 10th .!!

        • Bill Bass, I’m not sure what is worse, how far over his head the book was for Moises Naim having read the book, or that you would think highly of his views on it without even having read it.

          Moises Naim failed to see the difference between giving people cash, universally and unconditionally so they feel entitled and empowered, versus how chavismo has used cash, giveaways, and pretend giveaways to render its citizens dependent and submissive while only the handful of thugs maintain complete control of the money and the power.

          And his head was so far up his ignorance that he sidestepped, like you do, all the studies that demonstrate how well poor and “indigenous people” manage cash when it is theirs to do as they will, counter to the baseless misconception that giving cash has negative effects.

          • Ex dont get sore at me for the opiniond of Moises Naim , he is a smart well informed fellow and deserves to be heard even if you dislike what he had to say. After all It was you who touted Moises Naims presence at the launching of the new book . I myself have great respect for the man from way back , long before he became famous or an intellectual world figure . Dont attack the man if you think his ideas are wrong , attack whatever you think is wrong about his thinking by using arguments and reasoning. If you think your ideas are right then his opinions dont have to change yours unless you feel there are reasons for it. !! Easy my friend !!

          • Bill Bass, if you read without prejudging as you usually do, you would see that I attacked what I thought was wrong about his thinking, with reasons, namely:

            He claimed that the proposal of the book was the same as what chavez and chavismo have been doing. He continued to espouse that claim not only after supposedly reading the book, but after his first mention of his idea was countered. The differences were spelled out in the book, and at the event. He, like you, wasn’t willing to adjust his thinking to reason.

            The same thing happened with the volatility issue. Even after it was pointed out to him that the proposal was not a proposal to fight volatility, and even after it was pointed out how volatility was addressed with smoothing methods, he, like you, did not adjust his thinking to reason.

            The same thing happened with the spending of the cash by the poor. He, like you, because of baseless misconceptions, continue to think that the poor waste any non earmarked cash that they receive. The numerous studies shows otherwise, and not a single one can conclude the opposite. Again, he, like you, did not adapt to reason.

            He also showed great disrespect. Arriving late, he did not realize that they did not invite him for an interview to critique the book, or for editorial comment; they invited him as guest speaker to a book launch. It seems he didn’t know his role.

            As to my being sore at you, you must have missed the part where I explained that because you have not read the book, you are considering his opinion about the book a good one merely based on your respect for the man, not based on the very reasoning you claim is the way to make judgement.

            By the way, a person’s history only helps estimate the probability that an opinion may be good, but does not offer any guarantee. At any moment, even those with the best of resumes, one can fail to adapt to new paradigms, as seems to have happened to Moises Naim, and often is demonstrated by you.

            So, it is you, oh friend, who needs to look in the mirror and see that you are the one ignoring the facts and reasoning. Read the book.

          • Damn, Moises Naim failed to sell the book. Horrors! The authors failed to vet their invited spokesman, never laid down the ground rules. Now extorres attempts to show that Naim didn’t know his place. Como que les salió el tiro por la culata.
            That’s why extorres makes yet another bid for people to read the book, a.k.a. buy it, Ka-ching!

          • syd, damn him for being a lousy guest speaker at a book launch, whether he sells the book or not; he was quite simply a terrible guest speaker for a book launch. The authors, like Bill Bass, probably vetted the speaker based on the resume, which is how you often imply we should decide if an opinion is good or not, not based on the ideas presented. We don’t know if the authors laid down the ground rules, or if Moises Naim was the one to disregard them. I would have thought the authors were to blame if Moises Naim had not gotten there so late, then been so oblivious as to think that the proposal of the book is what chavez and chavismo had been doing in Venezuela. Boy, was he off! I can bet Naim did not know his place because it is more unlikely that the authors would have asked him to argue against their proposal at the book launch, than Naim’s deciding to argue against the proposal on his own. Yes, les salió el tiro por la culata.

            I think people should read the book, but I had only made the bid for those who wish to form educated opinions on it, on its proposal, or on the related opinions of others. If you really want to trash it, you should read it.

          • I have seen this video. I have also seen the book launch event. I have also read many of the working papers leading to the book, as well as read many of the studies discussed in the book. I have even been in communication with one of the authors of the book.

            I can tell you with as close certainty as one can without having read the final book that Moises Naim was way off.

          • Ex you sound as if your sore at me and against Moises Naim for not being convinced by your ‘arguments’, Dont be !! Its just that people sometime will interpret another arguments as so unconvincing that they are like noise , lacking in congent meaning , the same as hearing a babies babble . This is unkind to you who are absolutely convinced of our position !! I apologize for that .

            Moises I thought very politely sympathised with the UCT idea in general but felt that more work needed to be done to it before it could be considered practicable , To my surprise the authors in the panel were very defensive and apologetic about the shortfalls which Moises was mentioning . As if they did see merit in what he was saying .

            For example they mentioned that the cash to be distributed should never exceed 20% of their recipients income so that they would not be tempted to abandon their jobs to live of that cash and that more concretly the idea was ( apparently based on the african studies on which much of the idea was based) that no one should recieve more than 40$ a year.

            Moises point about the fluctuability of resource prices was that if prices fell the political establishement would in any event make use of the fund gathered to pay the cash transfers to make up for the resulting shortfall in the govt finances . He correctly assummed the govt would not shut down schools , or the hospitals or stop paying the civil servants or the army in order to continue paying every dick joe and harry their cash supplement and that sounds very real ..Saying the UCT wasnt designed to confront that kind if problem is very unrealistic and pie in the sky.

            I would suggest you pay attention to Moises comments and try and improve your UCT to make it more realistic and practical . For example Iran used something like it to get rid of subsidies after some 4 or 5 years . Thats a good precedent . This week they announced the end of the cash transfers but meantime it allowed the govt to do away with subsidies which helped the public finances a great deal. Of course it didnt change one bit the Iranian fundamentalist regime which continues to be as authoritarian as ever.

          • Bill Bass,

            I am sore at you for claiming to base your opinions on reason, yet you gave an opinion on the quality of Moises Naim’s opinions without knowing if they were well founded or not since it seems you have not read the book. You even explained that your opinion was based on his resume, not on any reasonable study of the matter directly. That is hypocritical.

            I am also sore at you because you accused me of attacking the man and not his ideas, which is incorrect since I explained –twice already– *why* his opinions were incorrect. Just because you don’t agree with my explanations does not mean I’m not providing them.

            Moises touched on some items that seemed to be sympathetic and even helpful, such as the upper limit for distribution, and the volatility issue, both of which you mention. The problem is that he later shed light on the framework in which he was making his apparently sympathetic and helpful remarks. The framework was that of equating the book’s proposal to chavez’s and chavismo’s conditioned giveaways. Within that context, it became clear that he had not been trying to be sympathetic nor helpful, but attempting to put down the book’s proposal. Looking back, the first indication was his attempt to impose the rule of no mention of Alaska or Norway allowed. Though his rational seemed reasonable when he first put it forth, once we put his the whole of his intervention together we see that it was an unfair and unreasonable rule if the book presents observations and learning from the Alaska and Norway experiences.

            In your mention of Moises Naim’s point about “fluctuability” you failed to mention that the authors replied to it, and this is the *third* time I am explaining this to you. The reply by the authors was that the proposal is not about mitigating volatility, but that they nevertheless took it into account and insisted that the proposal required some form of smoothing (i.e., 5 years, 10 years…) and that they recommended that even the spending budget should incorporate smoothing mechanisms for emergencies. Moises Naim even mentioned an extreme scenario of going from 200 to 80, which no alternative to UCT would pass, either, and the authors even replied to that. He insisted in that speeches would have to be made that would be politically impossible, and implications of riots were made. The irony is that, if he truly believes that what chavez and chavismo have been doing is exactly cash distribution as what has been proposed, then Venezuuela is a case study for the lack of riots in such a scenario. Venezuela is proof that cash distribution passes the level of fluctuation that was Moises Naim’s acid test. He can’t have it both ways: either Venezuela is proof of UCT’s success, or Venezuela has not been using UCT. Either way, Moises Naim is wrong.

            I did pay great attention to Moises Naim’s comments. And I always try to improve on the UCT proposal. And it is very realistic and practical. Iran, again, differs from the proposal of the book, and mine. They did successfully eliminate subsidies, and, as you know, it is by eliminating subsidies that I would begin the implementation of UCT so that it would be a smoother transition, not only for consumers away from the subsidies, but also for the politicians away from that money. It is funny that you mention the lack of improvement in the authoritarian-ness of Iran because to those of us who see that much of the government’s power resides in its control of money it is clear that one way to reduce its power is by reducing its control of money. The subsidy replacement by cash distribution should have been permanent. One reason to believe so is that now the government will have to either take action to indirectly and with greater overhead improve the lives of those who now receive less income, or let the lives of those people worsen. Cash distribution is simply more efficient.

          • what I get is that a one-size-fits-all theory by well-wishers who can’t even contemplate reality poking its head into said theory, is as silly as the Lego pantomime to show, no, to push that generalized theory in order to sell books on the topic.

          • syd, one can calculate the average of a group of numbers by dividing each of them by how many numbers there are in the group, then adding each of the results. That implies N divisions and N-1 additions.

            Another way to calculate the same average is to add the numbers first, then divide the sum by how many numbers there are in the group. That implies N-1 additions and 1 division.

            It doesn’t take any kind of special intelligence to realize that the latter method is more efficient than the former. Computer algorithms save a lot of time by choosing the optimal algorithms. All it takes is a willingness to consider the math.

            In the case of a nation of N citizens, and getting a certain value of goods and services to them one can do so by injecting money into institutional purchases and spenditures that will consequently generate value that hopefully reaches the N citizens, as you and the status quo seem to profess.

            Another way is to inject the money directly at the citizen level, letting each citizen be responsible for obtaining the equivalent value in goods and services from market purchases and spenditures.

            In both cases the money cycles back to the government in the form of taxation. The difference is that, in the former case, some of the money goes to overhead, the value is not evenly distributed (does not even reach some of the citizens), some of the money is lost to corruption, and some of the money is misused into generating submissiveness, while in the latter case, there is hardly any overhead, the value is very evenly distributed (without exceptions), corruption is all but eliminated, and the submissiveness is reversed with the people now empowered.

            Whether the concept is presented in Legos or published economic papers, by a child or nobel prize winners, by an idiot or a genius, the concept is still the same, and still correct. It’s a pity that someone with your education has not been quite able to grasp such a simple concepts.

        • Yes, I presented that Oil-to-Cash theory a couple months ago, if memory serves under “Floyd” or some other alias, it makes quite a bit of sense, with proper supervison and a solid Tax program. (Builds accountability, and all that)

          • If Palante recognizes being Floyd then he is an inflitrated troll , Francisco Toro himself discovered Floyd to have been a troll and took him out of these pages some two weeks ago , he referred to the Chinese Govt custom or rewarding their mercenary trolls each time they deflected a blogs discussion to another topic.which is what Palante ( a reincarnation of Floyd) continues to do today.

            Ex has been very adept and intelligent in presenting the case for UCT , the starting point for wanting to have a UCT s a realistic one and deserves recognition , what some of us find unconvincing is the chosen method to counter the basic problem it seeks to fight .

            There are people in this blog who are mere tira piedras , who join the discussion just to create dissent and confusion by hurling insults and blames every which way. This is not the case of Ex Torres who has a legitimate point to make, people may disagree with him , but he is honest in his positions. Ihave learned much from my discussions with Ex Torres and nothing from Floyds/Palantes spureous interventions .

          • Oh grow up son. You just can’t stand being proven wrong with facts, data and concrete links, as I’ve done multiple times on specific topics, like the Oil Curse. You call that “trolling” I call it sticking to the point and bringing the ammunition to prove a point. I sometimes do agree with you, under any name, paranoid papa. But I don’t bitch at your convoluted dissertations which at time obviously bore everyone. Lighten up, kiddo.

    • Guyana.org is not unbiased since it is written and maintained by the Guyanese. But it is true the Spanish was out of the area and the reason behind it is spectacular:

      They were killed because of the war of independence. Remember “War to the Death”?

      The patriots took over Guayana Province from the royalists in 1817, just 3 years after the Dutch ceded their three inland colonies (Demerara, Berbice and Essequibo) to the British. You see, it’s no wonder why the president of Great Colombia got reports of British settlements in the area and later denounced it to no avail.

      The government of Great Colombia should have stopped those invasions right then but their rationale deemed more important to send all of their troops and money to the Campaign of the South.

      No official history school books will ever tell you that freeing Ecuador and Peru from Spain did have negative consequences for us.

      • There’s one big reason for the mutism. As England was financing the rebel’s war, setting a diplomatic denounce would be detrimental for the Bolivar quest (or megalomaniac personal agenda) by leaving the republic-on-arms without the weapons and supplies that came from the britts.

        The government of the 1820’s-last-years Colombia settled a note over the disputed territories to the britts, but only after the spaniards were expelled and the government was consolidated. England military support was then not needed so the country was able to set the lines to their allies when in war.

        At that time, as Codazzi’s map drawn it, there were a de-facto line on as farther to the west as the Moruca mouth and cape Nassau point, the Colombian claim stated that the settlements between Esequibo and Moruca were illegal, but they unofficially accepted to grant britts they possession of the western bank chunk to guarantee their support. A thesis that proved to be plausible in the closer future during the 1840s but rejected by the whole-or.nothing policy of the XIX congresses.

        When more oil pleasures were discovered by the britts in the lower Cuyuní basin, and in order to control the expanse of the brasilians from the south and reach the Yuruari’s basin gold mines, the britts saw a chance in a weakened Venezuela to expand their possessions, and that was the Schomburgk geopolitical cause.

        • Good post except for one small thing: oil couldn’t have anything to do with greed in the first half of the XIX century.

          • Sorry not oil, gold was what i meant. The gold pleasures in the Yuruari’s and Venamo’s basin.

      • And in order to fix your comment:

        Spaniards were not killed by the War-to-Death moment, Guayana fell into the republican influence very later than the revocatory of the War-to-Death decree (1815) in 1819, Guayana was loyal to Spain during the whole period, and just shifted to the emancipation movement after the republicans seized the territory by war not by convincing the population.

        • Man, you should have learned this in school: War to the Death ended after Pablo Morillo and Simón Bolívar met and agreed to sign the 1820 War Regularization Treaty.

          • Yeap, my mistake.

            Even that the absurd decree didn’t had a strong consecuence over Guayana, as its population was mainly of criollos, frenchs, and aborigins. An most of the massacres committed by the rebels was into a propaganda scheme, so the missions population wouldn’t be not greatly affected.

            And the demographic basis related to the control of the territory doesn’t see a difference between spaniards and criollos in the sense the Esequibo issue talks about.

  13. Excellent post. One detail which the government doesn’t mention, or doesn’t know, when it directs its anger at the imperialistic Exxon, is that China, in the form of CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana, is a partner with Exxon in this project, and has a 25% stake. Or are we now fighting two empires?

  14. The point is that Mr. Maduro needs a political distraction, This in my mind is a political maneuver known by many as “The tail wagging the dog”. If he detracts Venezuelans and other countries from the political/social problems that affects the country he has won. That regardless of the outcome!

  15. Years ago I wrote in the now defunct VHeadline.com that Venezuela had no done much with the territory it already had, so why should it be seeking more? I suggested that the area in dispute with Guyana should become an ecological sanctuary, administered jointly by the two countries and the U.N.
    Now, the situation is worse, due to the oil issue. To claim territory because it could be oil rich is immoral. Venezuela is sitting on a huge oil basin, the Orinoco Belt, and doing nothing or close to nothing to develop it. It could negotiate a partial joint ownership of the light oil deposits in Guyana in exchange for partial ownership of the Orinoco Belt deposits, tking into account quality considerations on both sides.

    • So, Venzuela has not done much with the current territory not in dispute; so, why should it seek more? Gee Gustavo, on that account why don’t we just give up the entire country? Really, maybe all of the nonindustrialized nations should follow suit. Brilliant!

      • What a leap into the void, Hgdam. I did not suggest giving up the territory we already had. I suggested using it properly instead of spending energy and time and money trying to grab more. It happened to us in the Guajira peninsula because we were “vivos” and wanted it all. Now it is happening to us in Guyana. No hay nada más estúpido que la viveza criolla.

        • Gustavo, it is not grabbing more. It is reclaiming what is rightfully Venezuelan territory. By claiming we should give up on Guyana, you are de facto suggesting we give up something that belongs to Venezuela.

  16. I think Qucio’s picture is a bit too simplified. Here’s a more complete description of the Essequibo dispute: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guayana_Esequiba.

    Clearly, if there was no merit to the Venezuelan claim that the arbitration was rigged (and it does seem from the historical record that the Schomburg Line was arbitrary and not in accordance with historical precedent), then there would have been no Convention of Geneva (1966) , and the Port of Spain protocol (1970).

    I am not claiming that the Venezuelan government since the Port of Sapin protocol has handled the dispute well. I am claiming that the 1895 arbitration was not really the end of the matter. Arbitration is not binding if the process is corrupt.

    • I could claim that I am the heir to the Holy Roman Empire. But, it would not get me any farther than Venezuela will get with the Esequibo.

    • I understand that there is a strong legal tendency to treat benefits obtained from fraud as voidable , there is no statutee of limitations on fraud , if the argument can be made that fraud played a role in the guiana boundary settlement then in law the claim is still capable of being brought forward. That doesnt mean that as practical matter that claim will ever prosper to the extent of getting those territories restored , but sometimes some kind of restitution is agreed to finally put an end to a difficult dispute. Assuming that the Chavista regime will not last forever and that some time in future Venezuela will be restored to its people , then the giving up of those legal titles ( however difficult to enforce) can on the long term be seen as regretable. If Chavez had been accepted to play in a big league team in his youth and we had now a more normal govenrment (one we could identiy with ) would we be so incensed about Venezuela preventing Guiana from exploiting those reservoirs. maybe not !!

  17. The Geneva Agreement recognizes that there is a “legitimate claim”, and urges parties to start negotiations. If the Geneva Agreements had not occur, Quico would be right. But this Agreement explictly gives life to Venezuela’s claim, and is the basis under which we must negotiate the exit strategy with Guyana

  18. I post this in the 10/06 articule, but it is still valid to this fray:

    It is sad to read such a comments like this one, worst the one from Juan Nagel who opened the fray. As it proves two of the biggest mistakes in the Esequibo file of the Venezuelan State foreing and internal policy guidelines.

    It is not true that spaniards didn’t had control of the coasts between Orinoco and Esequibo rivers, as well as it not true the effectively controlled the whole coast. When neerlanders stablished Stabroek about mid s.XVII they were occupying no farther than Esequibo as their main post was at Paramaribo, and the plantations covered the mouths of the Surinam, Corantijn, Demerara and Berbice rivers. They struggled to advance over Esequibo but they were expelled several times by the spaniards, besides that, they were able to settle an outpost at the mouths of Moruca, a point that became the de-facto border between the neerlanders and spaniards all over the s.XVII and XVIII.

    The Munster treaty of 1648 recognized the situation, and it is one of the older proofs of the brittish overtaking of territory at the margin of the recognized treaties and borders.

    When the brittish purchased the neerlander settlements of Demerara, Berbice and Esequibo, they recognized the western border as the Esequibo itself, since the spaniards trough away the neerlanders from Moruca at the end of s.XVIII when the last governors of Guayana exercised the policy of expanding the settlement farther than the Santo Tomé environs. In fact the Centurion governor’s policy followed by his succesor drawn the current settlement pattern of Guayana, with the consolidation of the towns and the stablishment of many villas de españoles in the Cuyuní basin and the Imataca slopes (Utapa, San Félix, Guasipati) as well as the rest of the Orinoco midlands and highlands Borbón, Carolina, Barceloneta, Cabruta, Atabapo, San Carlos de Río Negro, La Esmeralda and Güirior.

    In the coasts between Orinoco and Esequibo there were two stablishments from that time, San Carlos de la Frontera at the very mouth of the Moruca (the de-facto border) in the same altosano that oversees the plains the neerlanders were expelled from at the end of s.XVIII, (the fortress was erected to prevent a resettlement of neerlanders in the area); and Santa Rosa Mission from the Capuchinos Order, the same that organized the mission towns of the tribes in the Delta and Cuyuní’s basin. The first one didn’t survived after the independence, but tracks of it remained long after the emancipation, as it is recorded in the surveying diaries of both brittish and venezuelans in the first half of sXIX. The second settlement still survived and is the one of the catholic missions in a country from non-catholic ascendancy.

    The brittish adquired the Demerara, Berbice and Esequibo settlements from the neerlanders after the Napoleonic Wars about 1815, and they recognized the Munster Treaty limits with Spain, then they never tried to extend farther than the Moruca until 1840’s when they started to stablish a policy of control of the Orinoco mouths. Even at 1900, the british settlement in the Esequibo county of the colony, didn’t extended farther than Moruca, and the reason was the lack of a legit way of occupying the territory.

    At the current time, the sociodemography of the coast between Moruca and Barima (at whose mouth was fitted the border by the 1899 Paris laudo) is very very different from the one between Moruca and Esequibo as well as the between Esequibo and Courantyne one. The population between Barima and Moruca is mainly native amerindians, arawaks to be precise. They represents about a half of the amerindian population of the Guyanese administered territories, the other half (talking in gross terms) inhabit at the southern savannahs and forest inland, (the Rupununi savannahs and the Mazaruni-Cuyuni highlands and basin). Guyanese afro and indostanic population are the major ethnic group in Guyana, about the 90% of the population, almost all of them living in the coastal plains between Moruca and Courantyne and in the Cuyuni and Esequibo junction (the inlandmost settlement from the neerlandaise period) and in the Brazilian-Esequiban border of the Tacutu basin west of the Rupununi’s savannah. As you can check in the census data from the Guyana administration, the population in the Guayana Esequiba is not more than a fifth of the country as they see, and most of it apart from the amerindian ethnic part, is concentrated at the coast between Moruca and Esequibo and the junction spots in the way between the brazilian border and Gerogetown, a traffic-line used by the brazilian Roraimenses to do their exports by reaching a seaport.

    The regional adminstration in Guyana recognized this reality and separated the Guayana Esequiba coasts between three districts with in a gradation of the afro-indostanic compound in the demography. From Barima to Moruca there’s the first one with a amerindian population of about the half of the district total, from Moruca to Supenaam another one with a lesser than 20% of amerindians and a total population of about 60K people, and the easternmost one that spread in the both sides of the Esequibo mouth and on its islands with about 100K people, being the most populated of the districts, with half of the population laying in the eastern side and the islands.

    The negociations between Venezuela and the Brittish in the middle of the sXIX recongnized unofficially (and almost fixed it) in the Moruca, this could be checked in the files of the Alejo Fortique representation of Venezuela in the negociations. Sadly the same way it happened with the Guajiran border, a line in Moruca, leaving the coast to Venezuela until Cape Nassau, and the whole inland basin of the Cuyuní and the south savannahs were not accepted at first by the Congress, and when the Congress finally said the yes, the brits started to push the line inland with the Schombrucks triying to reach both, the Orinoco mouth and the Cuyuní’s spings. By the way, the recorded reasons for the rejecting in the Congress were at first, the fixation of the line in Moruca and not in Esequibo, the whole-or-nothing game was bad everytime for Venezuela, remember the effect of the Cabo de la Vela, Guajira and San Faustino issues that destroyed the possibilities of a wester border with Colombia; the second reason, the imposing by the brits of a-no -cessation/exchange-of-the-territory-to-another-country clause, a one the Congress rejected fiercely (the sovereing rethoric), maybe as they were seeking a possibility to finance the public debt by selling it to the germans. (Venezuela tried to offer to the germans a possition in the Caribbean, the known possibility was Margarita, maybe the brits foresee an exchange of the coast to the germans and tried to prevented it).

    I guess no one in the forum can’t locate none of the places i mention in this long post, and that is the biggest fail in the venezuelan policy about the Esequibo, not incluiding it in the social knowledge or studying it; so as the people didn’t see it as more than stripes in a map, they can’t value the importance it represents to the country.

    The Geneva’s Agreement was a recognize by the brits that the Paris laudo was not fair, and was biased towards the brittish expansionism. It is the pressure instrument to a negociation and the Chavez’s policy send it to the trash container by allowing the Guyanase administration create and negociate licenses in the territory for the exploitation of resources. We never understand where our enemies were, the brazilians were pushing since the mid 80’s to reach the Caribbean and after the negotiations with Venezuela failed they started the Boa Vista Bomfim Lethem Gerogetown seaway. The current issue of the oil exploration blocks not only affects the Esequibo resources, but the Deltane Platform basin, and the Atlantic facade.

    The free access to the Atlantic is not a mere fashion need in our geopolitics, in the moment Venezuela loses the freeway to transit in and out the Orinoco, the feasability of the mineral industry of the Guayana compund will be threathend as we’ll have to pay transit rights to the guyanese administration. The oil exploitation in front of Esequibo will affect the biota of the Orinoco delta because of the currents orientation, and that could be detrimental to the mangroove equilibria that allows the consolidation of debris carried by the Orinoco and the access from Boca de Navíos and the expanse of the delta towards the Atlantic.

    Speculating about solutions, i guess there are many, as well as it is absurd to expect the retrocession of the whole territory is the total resingnation, maybe a solution could be the retaking of the Moruca line, maybe the enforce of the dry coast between Esequibo and Barima letting the land to Guyana and the sea resources to Venezuela, maybe the condominion solution is not too absurd (this one is the de-facto solution implied in the Geneva Agreement by the bilateral-agreement-for-the-authorization-of-resources-exploitation clause in the territory in dispute).

    Giving up is the worst solution, Venezuela had given up so many times, and it seems with this goverment venezuelans started to be accomplished to give up in every fight they have to do. From the stupid queue to access corn-flour, to the true sovereing rights of liberty and integrity of the territory, venezuelans started to get a taste for give-ups.

    Final note to the Francisco Toro research over wikipedia:

    Not all the territorial disputes are recognized by an all-involved-parts agreement as the Geneva’s one of 1966. And The Hague has stablished a sort of principle of not whole-or-nothing in this issues, just remember the Nicaraguan-Colombian sea/island dispute, where The Hague recognized the islands to Colombia but the sea to Nicaragua (weird but true San Andrés and Providencia are now colombian enclaves inside nicaraguan sea) a solution that affected limits with Jamaica, Cayman, Costa Rica, Panamá and maybe Haití, as parts of the sea passed from Colombia to Nicaragua. The Bolivian-Chilean dispute depends on the free access to sea, something that don’t need to be reached by physical coast on an ocean but with free and unrestricted access, as it is stipulated on the treaties signed between the parts (Perú, Chile and Bolivia) that produced the Arica’s bolivian free port in territory gained by chileans from Perú, and the railroad and freeway that the chilean state has to upkeep to guarantee the bolivian access to the Arica free-port.

    • Congratulations on the rich research appearing in your text , thank you for sharing it , the good thing about FT’s pieces is that it incentivates people to learn more about the issues he writes about making many of us better informed …even where someone disagrees with what he is writing !!

    • Polluxccs & Quico:
      This comment by polluxccs deserves a post of its own in CC — in polluxccs’s native language, Spanish – perhaps?

      • Excellent point Syd . Polluxccs without meaning to and with great intelligence has made FT’s post the vehicle to create a different post , one which goes much further in delving on the issue of our dispute with Guiana than the original post intended. We have to thank FT for bringing the subject up in terms which allowed it to develop into something richer thru the contributions of a well informed blogger.

  19. I do not understand why Severo Mallet-Prevost specified that his letter describing the irregularities in the 1898 arbitration should be opened only after his death in 1949. He was a lawyer and was hired by Venezuela to represent the country’s interests, yet he deliberate withheld information of vital importance to his client until a time that his allegations were almost entirely worthless(from a legal point of view). Is there any reasonable scenario where his behavior makes sense?

    • Diplomacy has her twisted roads, and at the time maybe that could cost a career. I don’t know.
      And remember the issue was inscribed into a pact between the US and the UK in order to settle the red-lines in America. Object it at that moment could open risky ways in a time of colonial conflicts and be detrimental for a policy of controlling the access to the continent of another powers than the ones already installed (brits and frenchs).
      Venezuela was a very weak country and that weakness and unstability was perceived as a thread to US interests as it could open the chance for germans to set a foot on the American continent in a time when Germany was spreading as fungi all over the oceans.

      • OK, granted. But he presumably would have known that his allegations would have virtually no legal merit, but managed to turn a healed wound between Venezuela and Guyana into a festering sore. People’s motivations are sometimes difficult to understand, but as a lawyer he should have either brought up his allegations much sooner or just kept them to himself.

        • Remember the state of the geopolitics of the two times, when the laudo Germany was seeking to set a foot on America, and Venezuela was flirting with the idea as we was in backrupcy.

          Later when Germany was not an issue after WWII, and the brits became to fade as a world power, and Venezuela had became an stable country; the geopolitic sense could have changed, as well as his perspective about how the issue could affect the US interests and the political stability in the region.

  20. Para su enriquecimiento como venezolanos, mediante algo de historia científica y no las banalidades que se enseñan en la escuela recomiendo:

    Perera, M. (2005) “El Orinoco Domeñado.Frontera y límite.Guayana siglo XVIII Ecología cultural y antropología histórica de una colonización breve e inconclusa 1704-1816.” UCV-CDCH.

    Hay otros libros de investigadores venezolanos, los cuales se pueden consultar pesquisando en google.

    Para guía de las fuentes originales empiecen por aquí, que tiene una buena relación de los hechos que sustentan el ejercicio de la administración española sobre las costas atlánticas venezolanas y el cómo se establece la línea de-facto en la boca del Moruca (Morocco) y la confluencia del Cuyuní y Mazaruní (Bartika), los cuales son los puntos de máxima penetración holandesa hasta que ellos traspasan los establecimientos y plantaciones del Berbice, Demerara y Esequibo a los ingleses al final de las guerras napoleónicas de Europa.

    Para idea de qué representa ello en el territorio remítanse al mapa guyanés posteado junto al artículo, y nótese que dichos puntos corresponde a grandes rasgos a los linderos de las regiones West Demerara-Essequibo Islands y Pomeroon-Supenaam, en las cuales como ya he indicado se concentra la mayor parte de la población afro-indostánica al oeste del Esequibo.

    Como otra nota: Alguien comentó acerca de consultarle a los aborígenes, pues esa consulta se dió a finales de la década de los 60, cuando luego de que asumiera la administración del novel país guyanés masacrara a una centena de aborígenes arawaks lo que generó el episodio de la Rebelión del Rupununi, en la que las tribus del sur de la Guayana Esequiba solicitaron la incorporación efectiva a Venezuela; evento que fue frustrado por la presión brasileña el cual constituyó históricamente y constituye un enemigo geopolítico del país.

    Y sobre el comentario de la aceptación del laudo, sí los gobiernos de Cipriano Castro, Juan Vicente Gómez y López Contreras aceptaron el laudo, pero:

    a) la política de Cipriano Castro era más del tipo aferrarse a la silla mientras pueda tratando de lidiar con los caudillos locales, manteniéndolos tan lejanos a Caracas como fuera posible, de modo que la frontera no era de su interés, y de ello tenemos como prueba el pobre desempeño del diferendo limítrofe colombo-venezolano

    b) la política del gomecismo era palabras más palabras menos: “éso es monte, no me interesa” muy parecido a la habida con el petróleo de “eso es mierda, que se lo lleven”, su única preocupación por el ejercicio del control sobre las fronteras fue el de acabar con el monopolio del comercio del caucho que fue la causa para exterminar a Funes del Alto Orinoco y por fin emprender una colonización efectiva del sur, que empezó con la fundación de Puerto Ayacucho por la misión geológica de Aguerrevere en 1928.

    c) López Contreras tenía por interés estabilizar un país salido del feudalismo gomecista, así que tampoco dedicó mucho al tema de fronteras. A su gobierno y al de Angarita debemos la pobre demostración de dedicación ofrecida por la comisión de límites que fijó el hito 1 de la frontera en Castilletes, a pesar que el mismo se identificaba como el Mogote de Los Monjes, más al norte, no en Cocinetas. El tema de “que la raya empiece aquí, no importa” ahora le supone a Venezuela tener que lidiar con el tema de la costa húmeda o seca para dirimir con Colombia si ésta tiene o no derecho a controlar la entrada al Golfo, gracias a que en el momento no existía la consciencia de lo que implicaba el derecho del mar ni cómo ello evolucionaría de entonces para acá.

    Finalmente no hace falta ninguna guerra que en ningún caso Venezuela no va a ganar, por el simple hecho de que tendrá la oposición de medio mundo empezando por los brasileños que siempre han ejercido su interés en alcanzar el Caribe por allí. Lo que se debe alcanzar es un compromiso tal que Venezuela no pierda el control del tráfico sobre el Orinoco, cuestión indiscutible y que ha sido la tesis que ha defendido la Armada venezolana siempre. Y ese control no sólo implica un corredor abierto y recostado al tratado de límites marítimos suscrito con Trinidad y Tobago y con Barbados, el cual es lesionado por la aspiración guyanesa de ampliación de su mar territorial y plataforma continental; sino que debemos controlar qué y cómo se hace frente a las costas entre Esequibo y Orinoco porque ello afecta la dinámica geomorfológica del delta con sus implicaciones sobre la navegabilidad del Orinoco.

    Vale decir que la propia intención de Guyana de ampliar su plataforma continental no tiene asidero dentro de lo que origina dicha posibilidad de reclamo, ya que la plataforma continental frente a ambos países ha sido formada principalmente por la deposición del Orinoco con materiales procedentes de los Andes, los ríos guayaneses como el Demerara, Berbice, Corantijn y Maroni no tienen la misma capacidad sedimentación que el Orinoco ya que el escudo guayanés no aporta casi materiales, la propia forma de los desaguaderos lo indica, el Esequibo, el Demerara y el Berbice desaguan en estuarios, y apenas el Esequibo logra alguna influencia en el mar con la formación de bancos e islas gracias a su mayor cuenca y a que ésta recibe los aportes de sedimentos de Imataca vía el Yuruari y el Cuyuní.

    Y porque me sigue rondando en la cabeza, pero la idea chavizta de Juan Nagel de “repartir a los pobres lo que no aprovechas porque ya tienes bastante” es absurda. En todo caso el día que a él le sobre puede crear un fondo pro-alimentación de los pobres, pero un país debe administrar y velar con celo por todos los recursos existentes, potenciales y por haber dentro de su territorio, independientemente de que hayan otros países más pobres, eso no es excusa para que Venezuela ceda su potencial de desarrollo a otros países. La cooperación al desarrollo es un mecanismo válido y loable; la cesión de derechos y recursos es una estupidez.

    • No wonder Chavistas have stayed away fron the Guyana issue. They would have to go to school and read all of this stuff. It’s much easier to deal Coke, steal Oil profits or buy used power plants at 3000% mark-up from Derwick..

  21. Aparte de contruir un 80% de toda la infraestructura existente hoy en Cubazuela, calles, autopistas, escuelas, ciudades enteras, hospitales, represas, etc en pocos años, mi Gobierno estaba ya listo para recuperar el territorio de la Guyana Inglesa en 1958. Se lo perdieron.

    http://laguayanaesequiba.blogspot.com/2013/01/en-1958-venezuela-se-preparaba-para.html

    Con los años que que esta dictadura Chavista en el poder, y el boom petrolero despediciado, yo hubiera transformado en Venezuela en la primera potencia Latino-Americana, por encima de Brasil, pareciendose a Dubai o Singapur o en dia. Chupense esa mandarina!

    • Rubbish. Pérez Jiménez squandered huge amounts of money, not just the 23 million dollars. Infrastructure started to develop BEFORE Pérez Jiménez came to power.

      • I was a thief, much like Adecos and Copeyanos, but we didn’t steal everything like Chavistas do.

        the FACT remains I constructed about 80% of Venezuela’s infrastructure. Highways, Damns, Hotels, entire Cities, Hospitals, you name it.

        Name it: I constructed or started the plans for it.

      • Algunas de las obras realizadas por Pérez Jiménez fueron:

        Construcción de los hospitales: J.M. de los Ríos, Rísquez, El Valle, Catia, Maiquetía, Clínica Santa Ana, J.M. España, Eudoro González, Centro Pediátrico de El Valle, Centro Pediátrico de Salas, Pediátrico de Catia, Vargas, Universitario y el Banco de Sangre.

        Edificación de viviendas y urbanismos, tales como: Urbanización Diego de Losada, Barrio El Calvario, Barrio Ciudad Tablitas, Los Jardines del Ávila, Barrio El Manicomio, Bloques 2 de diciembre (23 de enero), entre otros. Cero Ranchos.
        Construcción de: Autopista Caracas – La Guaira, el Círculo de las Fuerzas Armadas, la Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas (la obra arquitectónica más importante del planeta para la época), los teleféricos de Mérida y el Ávila, viaductos y los túneles de la autopista Caracas-Guaira, el Helicoide (la estructura más importante de Latinoamérica, en aquel entonces), Cota Mil, Autopista Francisco Fajardo,,, entre otros.

        Pérez Jiménez ordenó la construcción de una Plaza Bolívar en cada rincón del país.
        Las principales avenidas, autopista y distribuidores del país se construyeron bajo su mandato, como por ejemplo: autopista Regional del Centro, autopista del Este, carretera Panamericana, avenida Bolívar, avenida Andrés Bello, la avenida Soublette (La Guaira), carretera de los llanos Barinas-San Cristóbal y Barinas-Apartaderos, entre muchas más.

        Se fundó la Represa del río Guárico en Calabozo, se realizó el dragado del Orinoco y la Barra en Maracaibo. Se construyó el Parque del Este, el Hipódromo de La Rinconada, el Hotel Tamá, el Hotel Bella Vista, Hotel Cumanagoto, Hotel Tamanaco, Teleferico, Hotel Humboldt, etc.Siderurgicas, Sidor, Electricidad.

        Wanna add to the list?

        If only Chavismo had done 5% of what I did in a quarter of the time and nowhere near the Oil revenue. Or 2$.

        Heck, if only Ad and Copey had built in 40+ years 10% of what I built in just a few.

        • You also ensured democratic groups were reduced to clandestine groups or forced into exile. You made good people disappear off the face of the earth and murdered many more. Despite everything, your regime ended up targeting the private sector, the Church, civil society and eventually even the military.
          If we’re going to condemn Chavistas for this behavior, then we certainly can’t accept it from the right-wing, no matter how much progress is made under a dictatorship.
          Perez Jimenez could have invented the cure for goddamn cancer, it still wouldn’t have excused him from being a murdering, power-starved bastard that hit the reset button on what little had been achieved towards turning Vene into a fully democratic republic.
          Praising Perez Jimenez is just as ignorant as praising Chavez.

          • Yes. But if you don’t get the drift… as I’ve admitted before, I stole my share but not every single bolivar, dollar or euro. And I built in a few years Half of what you see in Venezuela. Adecos/Copeyanos and especially Chavistas steal a THOUSAND times more, obviously.

            You talk about oppression, political prisoners and stuff? Sure, mine was a Dictatorship too, but Twenty Five Thousand People did not DIE violent deaths every year, did they?!

            All I am saying is that my brief Government at least built more than Half of what you see still standing in Corruptzuela today in a few years, and 25000 or even 2500 did not die every year. Economically, Vzla was about to join the “Paises Desarrollados” with schools, hospitals, highways, mining, oil, electricity infrastructure, and would be like Dubai today, at least. Or Singapore.

            I’m just wondering what’s worse, Cuba or Singapore, that’s all.

          • And if you didn’t quite get it, of course I don’t like Dictatorships, this is Jim Luers’ FBI Blog, and I’m with the White House too, also a spy playing a part.

            I’m just showing you how bad Chivismo is, even compared to other Dictatorships. To give you an idea of what Venezuela could be with a half-decent Government, in just a few years. If only they didn’t steal everything, every cent. There’s corruption everywhere, and actually MPJ didn’t last because he probably didn’t grease and bribe everyone around.

            Plus, as much as I hate dictatorships, look where Chile is now, after some years of right-wing regime.. look at Singapore.. Some countries apparently could benefit, on the long run, of some hardship that way.

            And as much as MPJ was a thug and, indirectly a murderer, I don’t dislike him anywhere Near as much as I hate Chavez and Masburrismo. Check this out:

            Será la madrugada del 23 de enero de 1958, cuando aproximadamente a las 3:00 de la mañana será ametrallada la residencia del presidente ubicada en El Paraiso, Caracas, y la de uno de sus más fieles amigos el General Llovera Páez. Esa noche en la residencia se encontraban sus niñas y su esposa a quienes les ordena empacar para cualquier contingencia.

            Según relatan testigos como el Mayor Victor Maldonado, el presidente se presenta en Palacio y con él los comandantes de unidades que le informan que se ha sublevado la Academia Militar con los cadetes más jóvenes:

            “Entonces llegaron allá al palacio, los comandantes de unidades quienes le dijeron al presidente que ellos podían atacar a la Escuela Militar y solucionar el problema, y el presidente, yo creo que con buen criterio, les dijo, “yo no mato cadetes”.
            Mayor del Ejército nacional Venezolano Victor Maldonado, Director de la oficina de estudios oficiales 1953-1958.

            Casi a las 4:00 de la mañana los motores de la “Vaca Sagrada” roncaban con el sonido de la metralla rasante saliendo apresuradamente de La Carlota con destino a la República Dominicana.

            Contrario a lo que se cree el movimiento del 23 de Enero triunfa no por la acción de civiles, ni mucho menos por una huelga de prensa, pues es en horas de la madrugada de ese jueves 23 de enero, a juicio de quien escribe, la razón de la pronta salida de Pérez Jiménez desde el aeropuerto de La Carlota en Caracas, fue la sublevación de cadetes, donde los generales rebelados hicieron salir a jóvenes entre 17 y 20 años a tomar las armas.

          • En realidad la caida de MPJ viene precedida por un hecho anterior , despues del alzamiento de la aviacion el 1 de enero del 58, El alto mando exigue a MPJ un cambio en la orientacion de su gobierno , el cese de las torturas , la destitucion de Pedro Estrada y de Vallenilla Lanz y en general un cambio de gabinete. Este movimiento lo lidera el Gnral Romulo Fernandez , Jefe del Estado Mayor . MPJ finge acceder , aparece en la TV acompanado del alto mando anunciando cambios y varios dias despues hace el contragolpe, llama a Miraflores al Gnral Fernandez , lo destituye con el argumento que ‘no puede haber un presidente en La Planicie ( sede del alto mando) y otro en Miraflores’ y lo envia exiliado a Santo Domingo , paso seguido desmantela el alto mando y nombra de jefes algunos oficiales que considera de su maxima lealtad.
            Desmantelado el alto mando sin embargo los mandos del ejercito quedan desarticulados y MPJ pierde el control de la situacion . Al alzarse los cadetes lo que le queda es apelar a algunos guarniciones aisladas y de lealtad dudosa. El se da cuenta que la partida esta perdida y decide el abandono del pais.
            El alto mando militar se reune para decidir quien debe encabezar la junta de gobierno que sutituira a MPJ y elige a Larrazabal , no por sus meritos o credenciales pro democraticas ( su fama era de alguien mas bien ligero y frivolo) sino por que era el de mas alto rango y antiguedad entre los militares presentes. Algo que contaba mucho entonces entre los militares de profesion . Los civiles entraron despues. !!

          • Chavism does enough ill on its own. You don’t need to try to show how “tame” MPJ was in comparison, because it’s unimaginative and immoral.
            MPJ will not nor should he ever receive any sort of recognition as a man of progress. It’s extremely low and shameful to imply otherwise.

      • I havent seen any serious study of the MPJ years on whether its management of the countries public resources and economy was better or worse than that which came inmmediately after , every thing is clouded by the fact that he has epitomized the personally corrupt dictator who destroyed a popular democracy in the bud by using the traditional coercive methods of all the dictators of his time . Because we disliked his politics then we feel we must condem his handling of the states finances and economy,

        And yet there is this persistent image , deeply engraved in the conscience of great many people that his was the golden age in which great works of lasting importance was built , in which there was general prosperity and security from crime , in which the economy was handled with some degree of competence ( despite the personal corruption of the dictator and his entourage) . This is not said of any other following presidential period . I wonder whether there might be any reason for this golden Vision . Whether is it possible to asses the competence of his handling of the govt if we could mentally separate that area from that of his authoritarian politics and personal corruption .

        The only thing that stands out in my mind is that whatever the achievements generally attributed to his administration , there was one big flaw in his neglect of education below the university level. The liceos in Caracas were fine but outside Caracas it was hard to come by a liceo in the smaller provincial cities . Betancourt really dealt with that in an exemplary way which I admire.

        Maybe another 20 years must pass before his achievements or flaws as a govt administrator can be objectively assesed by economic historians of the future.

        Somehow MPJ reminds me of the current Chinese regime , were a heavy handed authoritarian system of rule , well seasoned with corruption in high places. still manages to increase the living standards of people and creates a geopgraphy of monumental works such as the country never saw before .

        • Bill, I was a crook, but not a NarcoPetro Cleptomaniac like all Chavistas and most Adecos and Copeyanos. In a few years I built most of the infrastructure you see today, with much, much less oil revenue. And without people in colas, getting killed every year to the tune of 25,000 dead, and building NOTHING for the future.
          Destroying everything instead.

          • Very clever, “Gen. Perez Jimenez”. You get high marks for building infrastructure. As dictators go, you weren’t all that bad, and did quite a bit of good. But still, Lee Kwan Yew, you were not. You left Venezuela with an institutionalized legacy of corruption that festered in the Adecos and than flowered in the Chavistas, growing into the all-consuming cancerous tumor that is destroying all that you built. Creating a culture of transparent and honest government would have been a far more valuable legacy for Venezuela. R.I.P.

          • So you are going to blame the 70 years of Hyper-Mega-Corruption of the Adecos/Copeyanos and even worse Chavistas on me? And on some “culture” I instilled? Heck, I was trying to build school, built the foundations of the UCV, and Colleges everywhere.. I built just about everything you see, in 7 years, without anywhere near the resources they’ve had in the past 70 years, not even close!

            Dude, I was corrupt, sure. And a dictator sure. But who built your entire country’s stuff??!!

            And I killed and jailed some people, but 25,000 every year?! Twenty Five Thousand??

            I am a freaking SAINT compared to thugs like the Adecos/Copeyanos, not to mention the Genocidal Chavistas.

          • Absolutely right, PJ. You plus a handfull of high military /ministers stole, but most others who stole were risking jail. Publc works contractors who didn’t finish public works on time also risked going to jail. Oil was at $1-2/bbl. and you did wonders for the Country. Massive generalized corruption started with the Adecos, even under Romulo, when a get-out-of-jail free card was an AD carnet. And, as for returning massively-indebted/corrupt/lawless Venezuela quickly to any kind of normalcy with a Venezuelan uncultured/uneducated/corrupt populace depending on $50-60/bbl. oil, forgeddaboutit.

    • La verdad que prefiero un país pobre y miserable pero libre a una autocracia de derechas militarista como la que hubo durante el perezjimenizmo.

      La única diferencia entre los militarotes de entonces y los milicos de hoy es que antes dejaban hacer en economía mientras ello no implicase molestar sus agendas personales; la verdad nada muy distinto a lo que hay ahora, sólo que ahora se emplea al entramado burocrático para prevenir el ascenso y movilidad social.

      Sé que el usuario “Perez Jimenez” tiene tan poca valía de sí mismo que habla del chaparrito en primera persona, pero apuesto a que es menos viejo que yo mismo que recién cumplí 33 pero que tengo en mi familia historias ciertas de personas que arriesgaron su cuero para sacar al país de la dictaruda, una tan parecida a la de Trujillo en Dominicana que los cuentos de raptos de carajitas eran frecuentes, así como los de confiscaciones de bienes cuando al militar fuerte de la zona se le antojaba algo que no era suyo.

      Por otra parte, tú jamás hubieras ni podrás transformar Venezuela en nada mejor que lo que es hoy, porque ni siquiera tienes las bolas ni la creatividad para inventarte un seudónimo propio, sino que te amparas en el lastre del mesianismo y paternalismo crónico de la sociedad venezolana para atraer la atención sobre ideas caducas y remembranzas del pasado aquél en el que “la gente dormía con las puertas abiertas” no sólo porque no había inseguridad, sino para no tener que cambiarlas cuando la Seguridad Nacional entrara a la casa de uno a llevarse a alguien por los moños a un calabozo o de turismo no consensuado pa’ La Orchila.

      Jaula de oro es jaula, no hay más que decir sobre el asunto.

      Y papito te cuento, durante el perezjimenizmo sí hubo corrupción, y burda, porque de otro modo el chaparrito no hubiera podido vivir como vivió en Madrid asilado por el franquismo, en uno de los barrios más caros de la ciudad dejando una buena fortuna para sus herederos. El mismo Chávez como parte de esa “pesca entre recuerdos del pasado” que cautiva tanto a los pendejos en Venezuela, se tomó unos cuantos cafés/cafeses en su mansión.

      • Que prefieres, 16+ años de Dictadura Chavista, con 25,000 muertos violentos cada 12 meses, escasez, colas, falta de medicos o medicina, pais endeudado hasta la medula…. y la Mision Vivienda?

        O unos pocos añitos de mi dictadura, donde no se roba todo ni se mata tanto, y se construye el 80% de las misma infrasestructura que estas usando hoy? (sin el Boom y los precios del petroleo Chavista)

        Nostros claro que robabmos, como me jacto de repetir, pero menos que los adecos/copeyanos, y muchisimo menos que los Chavistas desde hace ya casi 2 decadas.

        Y cuantas Autopistas a la Guaira, Sidores, Torres delSilencio o Parques del Este te han dejado los Chavistas, Adecos y Copeyanos JUNTOS, en 70 años?

        • “infrasestructura”.. parece que no termine la escuela secundaria tampoco, como nuestro gran Dictador Masburro.

        • No se trata de un mero blog, se trata de la médula del peo societal del venezolano, que es terminar de una vez por todas de destruir el mesianismo, el paternalismo y el vivismo criollo; las tres características que hacen que el venezolano deba conformarse con el menos malo de los regímenes.

          De nada va a servir unos diez o 15 años de dictadura sea del tipo que sea, si le sigues cultivando a la masa la idea de que necesitan un papá fuerte que les dirija sus vidas, sea uno comunista, marxistoide, neoliberal, cristiano ultraortodoxo, o ayurveda. El tema es que, sin hacer evolucionar la masa hacia ciudadanía no hay país decente.

          Ahí está la España franquista con su dictadura viciada y cómo ese país dejó de ser del tercer mundo cuando asumió un proceso de institucionalización democrática. Uno que le permitió dejar de ser tan país como la Venezuela de los 80, por cierto líder latinoamericano muy a tu pesar, en medio del bipartidismo guanabanero, a uno bastante mejor, al cual yo al menos quisiera que en términos de institucionalidad y nivel de bienestar se pareciera Venezuela.

          Yo no voy a dejarme seducir por esa trampa de que cualquier vaina distinta al chavizmo es mejor que el chavizmo, porque hay aún vainas peores que el chavizmo. Todas ellas nacidas de la exacerbación de las taras culturales ya mencionadas.

          Y el tema del artículo aquí más allá que la retórica de que si un gobierno fue bueno o fue malo, es que la historia en Venezuela siempre se ha enseñado o vendido tergiversada, nada más para prueba aquella ridiculez de falta de autoestima que cunde en el imaginario colectivo de que:

          “Venezuela era una simple capitanía general, porque no fue un virreinato”
          “Venezuela nació cuando se hizo independiente”
          “El Venezuela no hay monumentalidad porque era una simple capitanía”
          “Bolívar es el padre de la Patria”

          Todas esas son sandeces, que se han repetido para modelar un ánimo subnormal en la sociedad, además de fortalecer la idea del Estado Padre a través de la figura de Bolívar y los demás megalómanos acomplejados que le siguieron.

          El pobre conocimiento que se tiene de la historia del país y su tergiversación y descontextualización es justamente lo que indiqué como una de las grandes fallas de la política del Estado en el manejo de la cuestión Esequiba.

          Cuando haya otra oportunidad ya se discutirá si efectivamente el perezjimenizmo fue tan bueno o tan malo, yo soy de la idea de que económicamente fue bueno, llevó a Venezuela al modernismo; no fue gratuito tampoco, quizás fue más doloroso y dañino socialmente de lo que se lo cree. También considero que a Venezuela efectivamente le hicieron falta unos cuantos años más de dictadura en su momento, porque el venezolano común poco valora lo que es el principio de libertad.

          Cegado del mismo modo en que una mujer se niega a dejar al marido golpeador porque éste le brinda estabilidad; el venezolano teme perder las migajas que el estado populista le brinda cediendo por ello su libertad, y dejando tranquila su conciencia con aquella tontería de que otros (el gobierno) son los que rigen su destino y no ellos mismos.

          Y para tí, ni pelluxccs ni pelucón, porque los insultos chaviztoides no me van, para tí que te hacés llamar Perez Jimenez adjudicándote hechos que no son tuyos, es Luis Antonio Camacho Agüero.

  22. And I was only getting started, getting ready to recover the Esequibo too!

    Transcurre el año 1957, Venezuela figura como la principal nación latinoamericana próxima a declarar su desarrollo y unirse a la fuerte contienda económica de las naciones del primer mundo, posee un ejército capacitado en tiempo record y con excelentes instalaciones y armamento para la época. Aunque la educación nacional se encuentra en auge, dado el abandono de medio siglo, se hacen los correctivos posibles en las políticas de un período presidencial tan corto y se construyen grandes obras en escuelas, liceos y la Ciudad Universitaria que dará sede a la antigua Universidad Central de Venezuela.

    El sistema de avenidas e interconexiones viales ya está construido en un 60% según el plan del MOP y el Plan Ferroviario que plantea cruzar a Venezuela por trenes desde San Cristóbal y Puerto Ordaz para conectarse con el Metro de Caracas que tiene tiempo planificándose, siendo el ferrocarril de Barquisimeto a Puerto Cabello la primera expresión de la idea ferroviaria moderna venezolana.

    El puente sobre el Lago de Maracaibo tan solo inicia su proyección en primera etapa, las obras de Pequiven I Etapa y Sidor I Etapa ya están en funcionamiento, mientras el reactor nuclear RV-1 del IVNIC, primero en el continente junto con el argentino, ya trabaja a toda capacidad de la mano del nuevo ministro de educación, el Dr. Humberto Fernández Morán, quien lamentablemente será perseguido por el nuevo gobierno y desechado su talento que será aprovechado por la NASA.

  23. Y no pana, 10 destructores no eran capaces de destruir el poderío inglés en alta mar. El país que resistió a los nazis en la II guerra mundial y que controlaba además posiciones clave en frente de la propia costa venezolana, además de ser copartícipe de la explotación petrolera del país, no iba a caer con simples destructores y aviones de guerra.

    El episodio asumiendo que no iban a inmiscuirse los brasileros, por ejemplo, hubiera sido tan patético como fue la Guerra de las Malvinas 30 años después, de repente eso le hubiera hecho pensar mejor a Gualtieri antes de tomar la acción desesperada de invadir militarmente las islas.

    Y no sesgues la historia, Leoni también apoyó la idea de incursionar en el Esequibo, solo que la amenaza brasileña pudo más, ni falta hizo que los ingleses dijeran, quítame-esta-pajita.

  24. “Yo no voy a dejarme seducir por esa trampa de que cualquier vaina distinta al chavizmo es mejor que el chavizmo, porque hay aún vainas peores que el chavizmo.”

    Nombra una.

    Un pais, un regimen peor que el Chavismo:

    ZERO obras, 25000 Muertos por año. Pais en Triple Quiebra.

    Nombra un Regimen peor, porque la vaina esta mejor hasta en Cuba o Korea del Norte, camarada.

    • Precisamente cuba y norkorea están no mucho, si no muchísimo peor que Venezuela.

      En Venezuela por el momento (sí, por el momento, haría énfasis pero no sé poner formato en el texto en este editor) el perraje tiene acceso a internet (yo soy parte del perraje y estoy escribiendo esto desde mi propia computadora), en cuba te cogen a coñazo limpio y te tiran un mes en una celda llena de mierda y ratas si eres perraje y te llegan a sorprender usando el internet, o como me dijo una colega que es nieta de una cubana exilada, “por vender pañuelitos para resolverte la quincena”. Eso es sólo para mencionar una única cosa, de miles.

      En norkorea, bueno, parecerá hiperbólica y exagerada la cosa, pero, busca algo llamado “Campos de concentración de Onsong”, te dejo algo que dijo alguien al respecto:

      https://youtu.be/5EDqlAti3vM?t=10m34s

      • En Cuba y Korea del Norte no matan a 25000 ( veinte y cinco mil ) personas violentamente todos los años, o si?

        • El solo hecho que tú puedas conectarte a internet para escribir tonterías sin conocimiento de causa prueba que la cosa en esos países está peor que en Venezuela.

          • Tipico: cual es el ultimo recurso de algun patan que no puede justificar sus argumentos con datos, estadisticas y hecho concretos? Attaques ad-hominem, por supuesto. Tranquilo chamo, que estas hablando nada mas con el fantama quien contruyo 3/4 de los que ves hoy en Cubazuela, y rapidito.

          • y perdona, que los fantasmas, al igual que millones de venecubanos, no sabenos escrivir muy bien

          • Hecho concreto, la posibilidad de que puedas ir a CANTV con todo y su ineficiente servicio de 1Mb en banda ancha y contratar el acceso a internet prueba que tus libertades de acceso a la información y a la comunicación son mayores y amplias que las que goza un cubano, el cual por ejemplo para acceder a internet, al menos al momento en que estuve en la isla en 2011 debía optar por:

            a) comprar una tarjeta de la red Avila para acceder por el astronómico precio de 5 CUC/15 min a los cybercafés del Estado, obvio a través de la red de filtros cubana.

            b) trabajar en un hotel de una cadena extranjera y emplear allí el acceso a un internet menos supervisado del que gozan los turistas

            c) trabajar en una sede diplomática lo que equivale un poco a la opción b, pero sólo para los más ilustrados

            d) conseguirse un novio, marido, machuque o rejunte que fuera extranjero y con dinero para que le consiguiera un celular con acceso a 3G y un chip internacional con el cual poder usar internet.

            No todos los hechos se traducen en números, pero como veo que te encantan los números, traduzcamos la penetración y acceso a esa libertad:

            Siendo Venezuela un país con unos 30 MM de personas, y con una penetración del acceso a internet bastante amplia, de las mayores en América Latina por cierto, digamos en torno al 50%, eso implica que la libertad de acceso cubre al 50% de la población. En Cuba el acceso a esa misma libertad no alcanza siquiera al 10% de la población. Por lo tanto, los venezolanos gozan de 5X la misma libertad que goza un cubano. En Corea del Norte si acaso hay acceso a internet? No lo creo.

            Otro hecho concreto, y no quiero que me caigan los opositores furibundos encima por hacer de abogado del Diablo aquí, pero hay mucho fanatismo con el tema de Venezuela-está-sumida-en-la-mierda y la-culpa-de-todo-es-de-los-chaviztas.

            En Cuba para usted obtener un pasaporte, debe hacer trámites que van más allá de nuestra imaginación y pagar un precio de si mal no recuerdo 200 CUC como tasa no devolutivos en caso de rechazo del permiso de viaje. En Venezuela por más que les duela a los opositores furibundos, el trámite se reduce a meterte en internet (libertad de la que se goza, aún), entrar al sistema, llevar tu planilla y hacer tu cola en la oficina del SAIME de tu elección, y lo que se paga luego del incremento insólito aún sigue siendo nada en comparación con lo que debe pagar un cubano.

            Dejando de lado que existan restricciones de acceso porque el ancho de banda del internet sea un asco, a veces no haya sistema o más que de vez en cuando se vaya la luz o caiga el servidos; o de que hayan restricciones de disposición porque no hay material, no llega a las oficinas o la funcionario de turno no le da la gana de trabajar; el derecho está y mira cuánta gente lo ha ejercido. Si quieres un número, has una encuesta en el foro de cuántos tienen un pasaporte válido.

            En Corea del Norte la gente podrá optar a un pasaporte? Mmm, no lo creo.

            Libertad de tránsito, cosa que a mucha gente le tiene trastornada, el no poder viajar, cosa que es mentira porque los aviones y los asientos están; que no tengas real para pagarte un pasaje es otra cosa, pero el derecho está, si Ud. tiene dólares puede comprar un pasaje. En Corea del Norte la gente tiene esa posibilidad, nope.

            No voy a seguir con Corea del Norte que es el sitio más infame sobre la Tierra, aunque tenga una tasa de homicidios por delitos ínfima, porque una de las ventajas de las dictaduras es el temor que genera ser acusado de un delito, cosa que se aplica a la Cuba de hoy también. Allá no hay mayores traumas de delincuencia pese al hambre y la miseria porque líbrese que te acusen para que vayas a parar a un calabozo, y allí, no habrá PROVEA que valga (otra libertad de la que se goza en Venezuela aún, la de libre asociación) para que vele por tus derechos (el debido proceso, otra libertad que aún siempre y cuando sean un don-nadie en términos políticos gozas), a muy poca gente se le priva de libertad en Venezuela por delitos comunes, solo hace falta que te muevas y tengas un buen abogado para que, si te detienen, te dicten una cautelar sustitutiva.

            Veamos cosas más interesantes, sabía Ud. que en Cuba no puedes escoger líbremente tu domicilio? (libertad de elección de residencia), yo a nadie lo he visto tener que ir a pedir un permiso en Venezuela para mudarse donde se le antoje, allá sí se requiere un permiso para residir en una ciudad o provincia distinta a aquella en la que estás registrado. Es más, en Cuba para un nacional (gente de cuarta categoría) movilizarse de digamos Santiago de Cuba a La Habana debe tramitar un pasaporte interno (libertad de tránsito en el territorio nacional), necesitas un pasaporte para llegar a la República Independiente del Zulia? No, y no precisamente porque haya un tratado tipo Schengen de movilidad de personas entre los gobiernos de Caracas y Maracaibo.

            Y hay otros países en peor condición de acceso a derechos que Venezuela, países en estado de excepción por guerra, países con restricciones mayores al acceso a derechos básicos, igual plagados de corrupción, delincuencia y además guerra, fanatismo religioso, hambrunas. Siria por ejemplo, donde una tiranía nepocrátrica rige desde que el país dejó de ser uno de los más civilizados de Oriente Medio, y hoy es un Estado fallido donde cuatro facciones se disputan el país, y nadie sabe a ciencia cierta cuál es el menor de los males, se sabe que el Estado Islámico es el peor, pero de ahí, nadie sabe.

            Otro hecho de que las cosas en Venezuela no están tan mal, es que cuál es la emigración venezolana?

            Venezuela no es un país aislado como Cuba. Para cruzar a Colombia por ejemplo lo que se necesita es arremangarse los pantalones y quitarse medias y zapatos para no mojarse con la quebrada que hay que cruzar para pasar de Cúcuta a Ureña o de Villa del Rosario a San Antonio? Por qué la emigración venezolana sigue siendo gente del estrato C (la misma que hay desde los 80’s)? Por qué no se está yendo la gente del estrato E, D y sorpresa tampoco la del A y B? Ése es un dato. En Siria, Libia, el África Subsahariana donde la gente sí se muere de hambre la emigración incluye los estratos pobres. En China la emigración incluye también estratos pobres de la población. Por qué en Venezuela no?

            Pana sé que es triste que tus miguis se tomen las foticos pajúas en el pasillo de Maiquetía y que por eso nos creamos que la vaina es el-acabose, que ya los dolaritos subsidiados de cadivi para viajar a Orlando no rindan ni para la entrada. También es más triste que por instagram tengas que ver las fotos de los miguis que se fueron en las megacarreteras o megaedificios de las ciudades arrechísimas del norte, de Europa o del parque de la 93. Pero si bien es cierto que Cubazuela es un mal episodio en la historia del país, por innumerables razones, ninguna de esas vainas se traduce en asumir que estamos en el fondo del pozo (todavía se puede estar peor), ni en aceptar que porque venga otro militarote a salvarnos como ofreció Chávez en 1992 ello vaya a pasar.

            Hay por ahí un artículo, un poco socarrón para mi gusto para tratarse de un tema serio, pero bastante atinado. Va sobre 10 pistas de que eres chavizta y no lo sabes

            Acuña, L. (2015) Top 10 señales de que eres chavista y no lo sabes. http://www.panfletonegro.com/v/2015/06/11/top-10-senales-de-que-eres-chavista-y-no-lo-sabes/

            Warning porque creo que cumples con todas, excepto con la 7 (por un peo tuyo de tipo depresivo-disociativo a consultar con un psicólogo), aunque de seguro que eres de los que vive retuiteando esa pendejada de que la arepa es el mejor desayuno del mundo, los tequeños son la vaina más ñomi que hay, y el videíto gafo de Signs you’re venezuelan [not minnesotan] de Joanna Hausmann.

          • “videíto gafo de Signs you’re venezuelan [not minnesotan] de Joanna Hausmann.”

            Menos mal que no soy la única que pienso igual acerca del videíto de otro/a narcisista, entre tantos.

  25. Fantasma de Perez Jimenez

    En efecto, deberia decretarse algun dia un Dia de Gracias a MPJ por mis innumerables obras.

    Cuales? Mira alreadedor, cada vez que te montes en tu carro, vayas a un parque, un hospital, una escuela, un hotel, cualquier gran edificio, cuando veas un barril de petroleo o prendas un bombillo: es sumamente, altamente probable que esa autopista, parque, escuela, hotel, hospital, o infraestructura electrica o petrolera la empece a construir yo, si es que no la termine tambien.

    Y no habia 25000 muertos todos los años como tienen hoy, sin hacer absolutamente nada aparte de robar.

    Prendan sus velitas, y sepan agradecer todo lo que les deje. Es practicamente lo unico que tienen.

    http://noticiasdiarias.com.ve/2015/04/reportaje-especial-101-anos-del-nacimiento-de-marcos-perez-jimenez/

      • Nope. NarcoCabello is not my type of Thug. I prefer the dictators in Singapore. They build things, like I did.

        • Any chavista will tell you that chavismo built mission vivienda houses, so, the point stands, dictatorship is a dictatorship, I don’t care about the ridiculous and stupid idea that “left” or “right” is better than the other one, the point is that any good thing that the management has achieved is instantly countered and topped by any bad thing it did.

          • HIstory and observation teach us that human life is full of faustian bargains , the use of motorcars causes thousands of deaths and injuries a year and yet that doenst stop mankind from the massive use of motorcar transportation because at some point the benefits of such use outweight its disavantages . One such bargain has been struck in certain places were people have discovered that the kind of full democracy they want to have is one which they are in practice incapable of achieving without incurring in a radical populist destructive form of governance so they reluctantly or passively conent to having an authoritarian form of governance which focuses on the achievement of a greater level of welfare for all thru economic growth made possible by a functionally competent use of public measures and resources. Singapore even China may be a case in point .

            Another take on the incompetent democracy issue is possible , Fukuyama has studied the issue of competent govt throughout the ages and he has discovered that there is fatal menace to totalitarian govts even when they are institutionally and economically competent, a flaw which he calls the bad emperor problem , the govt at some point in time is headed by incompetent and corrupt elites that fall into bad practices and because there is no democratic accountability they cannot be replaced as rulers . At the same time he has discovered that young or institutionally inmature democracies almost inevitably fall victims to populist clientelar vices that make them very incompetent and corrupt in ways that harm the people that its meant to favour.

            He has also discovered from history that the most functionally competent democratic states are those that developed good functional state institutions before democracy appeared because young democracies are almost always prone to the corruptions of clientelism and radical populism preventing those kind of institutions to develop. In other words as a practical matter he suggests that some form of benign or enlightened authoritarism may contribute to creating good functional state institutions which when full democracy is later instituted are already endowed with well functioning public institutions. Otherwise chances are that such kind of functioning institutions never develop.

            Fukuyama does allow for the chance that a democracy can somtimes develop good functioning state institutions despite having populist kinds of governance thru the intiative of very enlightened political elites but that its a very difficult process and may never happen . He includes the US as one of the countries that started with a populist and clientelar system and developed functional institutions thru political reform sometime in the late XIX century . The process to achieve functioning state institutions was completed he estimates after some 40 years and has now backslided somewhat because of some exceptional features of US political life and culture.

            The MPJ discusion, if taken a step further , and looked at without the historic passions that commonly surround the subject , could lead to a better understanding of the issuess that Mr Fukuyama explores in his studies .

          • The issue in the perezjimenizmo if I’m understanding the Fukuyama’s point you Bill Bass are bringing, is that there was no other institutions that the military who got strengthen during the MPJ rule.

            So, as a clientelist regimme, having invested another or two other decades under his rule, would not had traduced in a more strengh democracy. The democratic institutions were developed during the first decade of the democracy, and many of them replied the vices of the former regimme.

            I do believe the people forgot very quickly the value of the principles of freedom and the liberties the democracy offer, as the tyranny last too few, and the modernism and opulence hit so quicky the country. As the people got more and more utilitarists, grasped by the populist way of doing politics, they forgot how important the liberties and the guarantee of access and exercise of those liberties are.

          • Polluxccs me temo que a veces el ingles me queda corto y por ello no pude seguir muy bien tus palabras de arriba , Dispensa la molestia pero podrias darmelas en castizo vernaculo , creo que decias algo interesante pero no supe entenderte. !!

          • Bill,

            Decía palabras más palabras menos que si entendí el punto de Fukuyama que traías a colación, acerca de que los autoritarismos pueden generar institucionalidad, a mi entender no se aplicaría a la Venezuela del perezjimenizmo ya que para entonces la única institución que se fortaleció durante la Junta y su gobierno fueron las Fuerzas Armadas.

            El resto de instituciones mantuvieron los vicios de las administraciones anteriores, así hubieran empezado a modernizarse, cosa que realmente empezaron a hacer ya con la democracia en la primera década, durante los gobiernos de Betancourt y Leoni.

            Luego, admito que la dictadura en Venezuela duró muy poco y ello fue deletéreo para la percepción de la importancia de la democracia, sobre todo porque con la velocidad con que los cambios de la economía y del estado de bienestar golpearon a la gente, a la generación de mis padres en particular, le hizo rápidamente a la sociedad olvidar la importancia de las libertades, más por cuanto la sociedad se volvió políticamente utilitarista, gracias a la manera populista de hacer política y a la percepción de riqueza que dieron los años de bonanza petrolera de la Venezuela Saudita.

  26. Are you suggesting that the few Chavista “Mission Vivienda” miserable block units, rotting in Venezuelan barrios, are anything close the the massive construction projects, entire towns, buildings, highways, damns, etc that MPJ built in just a few years.

    Even remotely comparable? It’s like comparing a couple of small ranchito barrios to New York.

  27. Independientemente de las sandeces expuestas por el compañero autoproclamado Perez Jimenez, cuya única relación con el tema del artículo es una elucubración fatua acerca de que quizás se pudieron haber usado unas corbetas y destructores para invadir el Esequibo.

    En el texto del Acuerdo de Ginebra de 1966, el cual sigue vigente, aunque débil en su forma y a veces ambiguo como todo texto diplomático consensuado están dos consideraciones importantes que son:

    a) Reconocimiento de las partes de la contención o disconformidad por nulidad del laudo de 1899 (art. 1)

    Cuya interpretación guyanesa es la piedra de tranca en el sentido de que ellos indican que lo que se acepta en el acuerdo es que hay inconformidad venezolana, no que el laudo esté viciado, lo que es la causa de inconformidad. La postura venezolana ha sido que estamos inconformes porque el laudo estuvo viciado, y reconocernos la inconformidad y aceptar que hay algo que solucionar es aceptar que la causa es real. De otro modo no te habrían aceptado buscar una solución al tema limítrofe.

    b) Ninguna acción por parte de ninguno de los estados implicados mientras esté vigente el acuerdo supondrá cesiones ni generación de derechos sobre el territorio, si no están aprobados por las dos partes directamente implicadas. (art. 5.1) Aquí se hace la salvedad de que el Reino Unido transfiere su participación a la República de Guyana y se lava las manos de la historia, en un “ese muerto es de ustedes”.

    Lo cual quiere decir por una parte, si entendemos que el contexto era el de mantener mientras estuviera vigente el acuerdo al statu quo, que Guyana puede administrar los recursos pero ello no implica que Venezuela reconozca tales derechos otorgados a terceros, lo cual es lo que había frenado toda participación de terceros países en inversiones de gran envergadura y riesgo en el territorio, sobre todo si se avizoraba algún atisbo de solución a corto o mediano plazo.

    También quiere decir que haber decretado la ZODIMAIN Atlántica (decreto 1787), en lo que puedo entender, dado que el mar territorial forma parte del territorio, no genera ningún efecto desde el punto de vista del derecho internacional (en el entendido de lo indicado en el propio acuerdo) y no fue más que una respuesta exagerada y mal calculada (además de mal efectuada dado que a los dos días de publicados tuvieron que sacar otra gaceta para enmendarlo) por parte de la cancillería. Esto no solo porque interviene aguas reconocidas a Surinam en un laudo internacional entre Guyana y ese país, sino porque nosotros reconocemos como guyanés todo aquello más allá del talweg del Esequibo, y ello incluye el mar al oriente de las islas Hog, Leguan y Wakenaam.

    El texto del acuerto en la base de datos de la ONU está en https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%20561/volume-561-I-8192-Other.pdf

    Como otro apunte sobre los derechos históricos de los que sí hay rastros físicos aún hoy, Fort Zeeland, una fortificación construida por los neerlandeses durante el s.XVII en el río Esequibo yace en una isla al este del mencionado thalweg, En un punto donde el estuario se estrecha, no se localiza ni en la ribera oeste del río ni en las islas próximas a ella.

    La horqueta del Cuyuní, otro de los puntos reconocidos de penetración y asentamiento de neerlandeses durante el período español, yace unos 30 Km aguas arriba y sí sería un sitio, a mi entender al oeste del río, con asentamiento registrado por los españoles, como lo fueron los establecimientos hasta el Moruca de donde los neerlandeses fueron explusados a fines del s. XVIII.

    Cuando se observan las fotos aéreas y satelitales de la región, se evidencia que la aportación de sedimentos que genera la expansión hacia el noroeste de las islas del estuario del Esequibo proviene del alto Cuyuní, lo cual en el entendido de la definición de la plataforma continental es algo a considerar al definir el ángulo de quiebre de la divisoria en el mar.

    • O conseguirse un dictadorcito como yo o los de Singapore, para desarrrolar su infraestructura, les constryan un Sidor como el mio en Guisozuela, y asi se conviertan en el Dubai de Latino-America en menos de una decada. Despues eligen a alguien mas cool, como en Chile, y todo el mundo a bailar Reggae en el nuevo paraiso Guayanes.

  28. The best that could happen is for the Chavistas to go medieval and take the esequibo back. You’ll see how in less than a week, the Chavistas are gone.

  29. Regarding the meeting in Haiti yesterday (Sunday). It’s going to be a day or two before we know what’s up. It was a surprise for many. What little I dare say is that it seems Diosdado made the overture. Our U.S. ambassador does not look good in those pictures. I know may ambassadors that would frown being seen photographed like that.

  30. Polluxccs gracias por resumir tu comprension sobre lo de Fukuyama y tienes razon de que MPJ a pesar de todos los logros que se le atribuyen en cuanto obras y adelantos, no alcanzo a crear una institucionalizacion perdurable en el funcionamiento de la cosa publica , como senalas, quizas por falta de tiempo. El punto de Fukuyama es que las democracias jovenes o inmaduras tienden a hacer mas dificil las institucionalizacion de un aparato estatal efectivo y competente por que son muy vulnerables a la tentacion de recurrir al populismo y al clientelismo para mantenerse en el poder y que tal institucionalizacion de la operacion competente del Estado suele ser mas facil ( aunque no inevitable) bajo estados autoritarios que bajo regimenes democraticos de modo que lo ideal es que ese Estado competente lo cree un regimen autoritario de forma que cuando el regimen en algun momento se democratice las instituciones ya esten operando en base tecnica efectiva y moderna . Con todo y esto Fukuyama si cree que es posible a una democracia alcanzar a formar un Estado Efectivo y Competente pero ello reclama la voluntad politica de una elite que se aboque aun proceso para la creacion de ese tipo de estado funcional a pesar de las tentaciones populistas que abundan en las democracias jovenes o inmaduras. Ejemplo de esto para el , el proceso de institucionalizacion del aparato estatal que arranco el ultimo tercio del siglo XIX en los EEUU, cuando ya este pais era una democracia.

    Ahora bien , para Fukuyama tener un estado moderno y competente no basta , hay que tener dos cosas mas , un Estado de Derecho que ponga coto a las acciones sectarias o arbitrarias del Estado cuando esta se presenten y tercero un sistema democratico de rendicion de cuentas del desempeno del Estado que permita reemplazar los gobiernos cuando empiezan a fallar . El buen gobierno descansa en un triptico de condiciones concurrentes . El problema es que las democracias a veces se corrompen y degradan y dan lugar a regimenes que no solo se tornan dictatoriales sino que destruyen la base institucional del Estado de Derecho y al mismo tiempo toda posibilidad de una governanza efectiva y honesta como es el caso del Chavismo en Venezuela .

    • Bueno, justamente, el problema de la evolución política de Venezuela durante el s XX no ha permitido la cristalización de una institucionalidad fuerte y transparente por el problema sociocultural del venezolano. Esto me remite de vuelta a lo que comenté a uno de los comentarios de propaganda barata de PerezJimenez que hay que erradicar de la sociedad al vivismo, al mesianismo y al paternalismo; y con ellos el clientelismo; que son las virtudes venezolanas que proliferaron durante las dictaduras e impidieron construir instituciones fuertes distintas a la Fuerza Armada.

      También hay que considerar que muchos de los ejemplos de dictaduras que generan institucionalidad son en culturas ajenas a las nuestras, el caso de las dictaduras de los tigres asiáticos (Singapur, Taiwán y Corea del Sur) son paradigmas muy trillados de cuán bien puede hacerlo una dictadura pero el tema es que se fundamentan en sociologías ajenas y con valores muy distintos a las de Occidente. Singapur es un país islámico, allí el robo y el defraudar al prójimo tienen un alto costo social, es lo contrario al vivismo criollo donde se aplaude al que logra enchufarse o al que coge mientras haiga.

      En América Latina no hay ningún caso de dictadura institucionalizadora, como tampoco lo hubo en Europa. La institucionalización vino después o sobrevivió a las dictaduras, pero no ocurrió un proceso de creación de institucionalidad; ni siquiera Chile la democracia ibérica más fuerte del continente creo instituciones distintas a las FFAA con la dictadura, las instituciones sobrevivieron a la dictadura y se reinventaron con la democratización, lo mismo en Uruguay, en Brasil y en España y Portugal.

      En el caso de los Estados Unidos no sé si lo que hubo fue una asimilación del modelo institucional por parte de algunos estados o un fortalecimiento del conjunto; allí la dinámica regional hace suponer que estados más avanzados fueron marcando la pauta, por la razón, el ejemplo y/o la fuerza a los estados menos progresistas, cuestión que se sigue viendo hoy en día. Además allí hubo un proceso de fortalecimiento del poder nacional que no es lo que experimentó ningún país del continente, el resto del continente más bien fue a la inversa (salvo Argentina durante el s.XIX) donde las provincias obtienen poder de un centralismo que por centrífugas o por desgaste tuvo que ceder poder a las regiones.

      • Segun Fukuyama las institucionalizacion del funcionamiento estatal es mas una creatura de dictaduras que de democracias , aunque hay dictaduras que nunca las producen y democracias que con mucha dificultad ( por las tentaciones clientelistas) alcanzan a hacerlo , para el lo normal a nivel mundial es que las dictadura las constituyan y una democracia posterior las reciba de legado. Aunque en Venezuela hay factores historicos y culturales que hacen la institucionalizacion de la operacion estatal mas dificil , el problema es comun a todas las democracias inmaduras del mundo .

        Ahora bien para el tener un Estado eficiente no basta , hay que crear un Estado de Derecho que refrene las arbitrariedades y abusos en que incurren los gobernantes autoritarios y democraticos y al mismo tiempo crear institutiones POLITICAS democraticas que tambien funcionen . (El Estado efectivo es el que se ocupa de tareas como la educacion , la salud, las obras publicas, las finazas publicas en forma a politica pero tambien hay un Estado o Gobierno que cumple tareas de ordenacion politica y que necesita operar en forma estable y predecible.

        El gran pelon de MPJ ( asumiendo que se le reconoce haber obrado con eficiencia en la administracion de la cosa publica a pesar de las corruptelas) es haber creido que una dictadura militar podia durar para siempre , en nuestro mundo la unica forma estable de vida politica es la que se enraiza a alguna forma de democracia . Le falto vision , lo ideal hubiese sido que hubiese negociado una transicion hacia un sistema democratico que conservara los logros de su administracion y los hiciera parte de la forma de operar de la democracia . Hubo gente en el alto mando que le sugirio algo parecido ante del plesbicito , su respuesta ‘uds ocupense de los cuarteles y dejenme la politica a mi”.!!

        Ahora hay una guerra y todos los esfuerzos estan en ganar la guerra pero para ganar la paz hay que pensar en la necesidad imperiosa de abandonar populismo y clientelismos y asumir la tarea de crear una forma de funcionamiento estatal eficaz y moderna , que separe la actividad estatal que requiere de un principio tecnocratico o meritocratico disociado de la politica ordinaria de la actividad que se conjuga con la dimension propiamente politica de la vida social .

  31. Excellent comments over the sick idea of the Messiah leader as a father figure for the citizens of a country, but I’m still impressed that after over a decade and a half of rule of a goverment exclusively to the benefit of a military elite, there’s people blind enough to want MORE military rule, even to the point of doing this ridiculous roleplay session. I just can’t take ideas that seem to come from high school kids on social media seriously.

  32. I may be a little late to the party, but this situation always brings to mind the Falklands War. Regardless of who you believe is the rightful owner. The Argentine invasion to take the islands was a last ditch effort by the military junta to rally the population and distract them from a failing economy. This of course was a disastrous miscalculation that led to the collapse of the junta. Let’s hope that the Maduro government doesn’t make the same mistake. However, never underestimate the possibility that rational parties may make irrational decisions out of desperation.

  33. This article although well written is flawed. First, Venezuela does have loads of treaties from colonial times where it is clearly stated that Essequibo is ours. The first of them is the Treaty of Munster which clearly puts the Dutch dominions on the east of the Essequibo River. Subsequently, there were many other treaties signed over the years that confirm this fact. Finally, for those who think that the Spanish never occupied that territory then let me tell you that built eight forts in that land to assert their sovereignty and expel any Dutch settlers that would illegally cross the river and try to occupy their lands. However, if you don’t believe that then know that the border treaties between Spain and the Netherlands do exist and that not being able to physically occupy a land does not give another nation the right to take advantage of its weaker neighbor and steal his land. That land is the nation’s property and it can do, or not do, with it whatever it pleases. If the case were otherwise, then Essequibo and Guyana would have both been already overrun by their much more populated neighbors Venezuela and Brazil. The purpose of signing a border treaty is precisely to prevent that scenario from happening. And in any case assuming there were not any Spanish settlements, can you show me how many Dutch settlements there were that give Guyana the right to a land so vast as Essequibo.

    Second, although it is true that nineteenth century diplomacy was controlled by the European powers and was largely unfair to any nation that did not have the industrial capabilities that they had we need to remember that many of the principles of international law that are valid now were also recognized back then. Venezuela asserts that the arbitral award of 1899 is null and void because of the Mallet-Prevost memorandum detailing how the US judges were coerced by Feodor de Martens into accepting his compromise line. This story is also retold from the British side from Lord Russell, one of the British judges, in a letter dated October 7, 1899 to the British PM. His story was essentially the same: either the British accepted de Martens’s compromise line or he would side with the US judges (i.e. Venezuela) and give us all the land up to the Essequibo River. Thus, Mallet-Prevost’s memorandum is not just some story he made up to cause trouble later but a recount that is confirmed by his counterpart in court.

    In addition to the proof of coercion, Venezuela also declares that the award is illegitimate because it failed to provide explanations for its verdict, failed to fulfill its duties and blatantly exceeded its powers. To this day, the Arbitral Award of Paris of 1899 is perhaps one in a few cases, if not the only one, where the court simply did not provide reasoning for reaching its decision. They just said “the border goes here” and that was it. The rule of providing a document explaining how the decision was reached has been in place literally since the time of the Romans and back in the nineteenth century and even today any court that works properly explains how and why it reached its verdict. Second, the Treaty of Washington of 1897 says that that court had to establish where was the border back in 1814 between the newly founded colony of British Guiana and the Captaincy General of Venezuela. Nowhere in the verdict is that even mentioned. Finally, and perhaps the most flagrant proof that this court was a sham was the fact that it exceeded its powers so much that almost immediately after Britain had in her hands two new border disputes with her neighbors in South America. The court just willy-nilly decided to supersede the border that had already been established between Venezuela and Brazil in 1853 and effectively took and from them. As if that were not enough, it also awarded to Britain the land of the New River Triangle that was part of Dutch Guiana. In 1903, when Brazil and the UK went to court, the King of Italy who was the arbiter declared that Brazil could not possibly be expected to accept the new border of a tribunal of which they were not even part, and rightly so. To top it all off it designated that the rivers located at the new border between Venezuela and British Guiana were open to free navigation and nowhere in the Treaty of Washington does it say that they had the authority to do that.

    All these irregularities deem the verdict of an arbitral award an absolute nullity and yes, even by nineteenth century standards. So when Francisco Toro says that Venezuela accepted it and now they are screwed he is wrong. We have every piece of evidence needed to prove that the arbitral award is null and void and in fact, we already did that which is why the Geneva Agreement of 1966 exists.

    Why do we not go to the ICJ and solve the matter? Good question. The answer is that despite the fact that in that tribunal international law and principles are supposed to be the only arguments that prevail, that is not the case. In practice, the ICJ will take into account that Guyana is a poor, underdeveloped and scarcely inhabited country with the world’s highest suicide rate that is plagued with so much corruption, emigration, insecurity and suicides that their population growth rate is negative. You read that right: NEGATIVE population growth rate, in other words, there are less people year after year. In consequence, they will say something like “well, Venezuela has the treaties signed by Spain and the Netherlands proving that Essequibo is theirs and the Arbitral Award was a sham…but if we say they are right then Guyana will be even worse off than before. So, let’s not screw them but instead side with them.” This is known as the Principle of the Weakest. At best they will make a Solomonic judgement and decide to give each country one half of the land in dispute. That is not the way to go and we should not accept “un mal arreglo a un buen pleito” simply to avoid confrontation and put this issue to rest. We as Venezuelans need to protect and preserve our territory because nobody else will do it for us.

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