Recovering the Esequibo, one cédula at a time

Meet Pompeyo Torrealba, the new “Esequibo Czar”

The Esequibo rift is getting more complicated than ever, especially after last week’s events in Brasilia.

Even if Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez went on State TV to claim victory using not-so-diplomatic language (“…las nuevas autoridades de Guyana salieron con las tablas en la cabeza”) the fact that UNASUR will have a special meeting next month to discuss this issue isn’t good news for Venezuela.

Those developments have not slowed Maduro’s brand new “Esequibo strategy”, which will have its own quasi-ministry to implement it: the Esequibo Rescue Office, to be led by the former Army Coronel and expert on the issue, Pompeyo Torrealba. So Maduro’s strategy for the Esequibo is more bureaucracy!

Years ago, Torrealba wrote ago the book “A un siglo del despojo: la historia de una reclamación, in which he makes the case that Venezuela has legitimate rights over the claimed territory. He’s also the head of the NGO National Movement for the Rescue of the Esequiboano and the Esesquibo (MNARDEE), in order to rally Venezuelans around the Esequibo cause.

Now, he will lead the central government’s efforts to win the hearts and minds of the Esequibo’s inhabitants. One of his first initiatives is to give them Venezuelan ID cards (cedulas de identidad). Months earlier, he said that at least 200,000 residents have the right to get our documentation, even if they end up having double nationality.

But Georgetown isn’t pleased with the idea, and Guyanese Minister of State Joseph Harmon said that Guyana “…will stoutly resist any effort to have our people issued with cards…”.

Meanwhile, Guyanese Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge rejected the UN’s offer of retaking the Good Offices process, which the administration of Granger’s predecessor Donald Ramotar dropped out of back in March. In his view: “The only option that is left would be for a judicial resolution of this matter.” Of course, Maduro doesn’t like it one bit.

Torrealba’s work will include pushing the Esequibo issue in schools, colleges and the mass media. But he faces many challenges, including sometimes the words of his bosses, like what Delcy Rodriguez told VTV over the weekend:

“There hasn’t been in the history of that country a government … that has favored the development of the Cooperative Republic’s of Guyana’s people like Venezuela has done, specially in the last ten years.”

She basically called Guyana “ungrateful bastards.” Way to go, Delcy.

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  1. “Torrealba’s work will include pushing the Esequibo issue in schools, colleges and the mass media.”

    So, a propaganda barrage. That should solve things.

    • Matter of fact, Torrealba has been quite busy in the last few weeks with conferences and interviews before he was named as “Esequibo Czar”. So, maybe he’s enjoying his time in the spotlight.

  2. Can’t let those pesky English speaking rascals have their own oil. Then Venezuela can’t control them anymore with oil handouts. Can’t let the gringo monster (Exxon) make any money. Better check with Papa Fidel when he gets back from Washington to see what to do. Wonder if he is trying to get Exxon to drill in Cuban waters?

  3. que confusion. pense que loj del gobielno pol fin noj tomaron en cuenta, de verda verda. hablo de nosotraj laj mujerej venezolanaj, cuando Maduro desia cosas lindas como millonej y millonaj. tan bello mi bigote. pero resurta que laj mujerej del esequibo no meresen er mijmo rejpeto. eso no ejta bien. O sera a proposito? A laj mujerej se rejpetan, no impolta la nasionalida. A mi no me gustaria sel mujel del esequibo. Que se agregue otra E a MNARDEE, para que lea Movimiento Nasional Al Rejcate Del Esequibano y De la Esequibana, y el Esequibo. Y pol que no? acaso no existe el CCCCT, puej?

  4. To try and understand the geography of this dispute, and how much of the country of Guyana the disputed area is I started searching via Google. One of the images I saw displayed nicely how much of the Guyanese territory is in dispute. I clicked on the image, and then view source page, and surprise surprise it took me to an earlier post on this topic on this very blog. What surprised me is that according to that image the area of Guyana that’s in dispute seems to be about two thirds of the country. I think that the percentage of the country in dispute was in the single digits giving up the disputed territitory might be something that the country could go along with. But seeing as how much of Guyana is in dispute I am sure they are going to pursue every avenue and make every effort to not lose that dispute.

    It also seems very heavy-handed of a country the size of Venezuela to be wanting to take so much of Guyana. I suspect that any arbiter or court that is involved in the resolving this dispute is going to have a hard time finding fully in Venezuela’s favor and giving Venezuela the entire disputed area regardless of the underlying issues and historical claims to the area.

    • Underlying issues and historical claims should be the deciding factor in jurisprudence, not the relative size of the claimants.

    • Risking to sound a bit too facist for my liking, Guyana has less than 0,75 million inhabitants while Venezuela has more than 30, so almost all of Guyana is uninhabited land, so talking about Km2 alone is very relative.

      No one on this forum is in favour of some Lebensraum? what a vendepatria people.

  5. I cannot wait to see this propaganda effort–


    Dear Esequibians,
    Esequibo will become part of Venezuela along with the crime, poverty, lack of freedoms, lack of food, lack of medicine, lack of the rule of law, lack of jobs, along with Venezuelan style massive corruption that will control your lives every second. Moreover, all income from the oil we steal will go to Cuba and to support bad regimes around the planet; you will get nothing from it.

    Signed your friendly dictator- Nicky Maduro

  6. The Esequibo is just theater, a smokescreen, misdirection —- LOOK OVER HERE — NO! LOOK OVER HERE AT THE ESEQUIBO THAT IS WHERE THE PROBLEM IS –NO NO NO DON’T LOOK AT WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE COUNTRY – WE WILL SPEND ALL OF OUR EFFORTS TO MAKE YOU THINK THAT THE ONLY PROBLEM VENENZUEL HAS IS NOT HAVING THE ESEQUIBO. IT HAS OIL!! – Of course what would they do with it if they had it? They are incompetent and financially incapable of developing the oil resources they already have, but PLEASE don’t tell anyone that. They can’t do anything right. Why would residents of the Esequibo even want to be part of Venezuela when the Venezuelan’s are leaving their own country by the droves. Desperate little children hoisted on their own petard.


      Pretty much… Forget the ‘economic war’, the ‘sanctions against Venezuela’, the opposition in Miami trying to use tucanos to bomb Miraflores, etc, etc. That’s obsolete. It’s all about the Esequibo now, if only Venezuelans only had that piece of land, prosperity would be possible.

      So nauseating and predictable. Sigh…

    • Which is why I said much earlier that the Hollywood equivalent to this “teatro Goldoni” is the movie Wag the Dog.

      President gets caught in pedophile delicto, Robert de Niro’s character creates a war with Albania.

  7. I don’t understand this administration’s deal with appointing the shabby and uncouth as foreign ministers. Hope these guys man up and take it to court once and for all.

  8. I don’t understand how this Cedula plan is supposed to work in practice.

    Are they going to set up módulos de cedulación inside Guyana’s territory?! Wouldn’t that be – erm, what’s the word I’m looking for? – AN INVASION?! Or are they going to ask Guyanans to physically travel to a country where they don’t speak the language to stand in line at a public office to do a tramite for a document they don’t need!?!

    I’m so confused…

    • Exactly. And they also want to implement an information campaign to make the Guyanese people “understand” that that territory is Venezuelan. HOW. DOES. THAT. WORK?

    • And how are you going to prove you are Venezuelan as a Guyanese? Can a Colombian or a Peruvian or – OMG – a gringo pretend to be Guyanese and ask for her Venezuelan cédula?

    • A couple of years ago everyone I was in Santa Elena de Uairen and crossed to Pacaraima. Talking to the locals one explained that in a ‘operativo de cedulacion’ anyone in Pacaraima could cross to Venezuela and get a cedula. Hence most were bi-national. The guy I was speaking to was Peruvian!

    • Sorry to show my age *se me cayo la cedula* but didn’t they try this already in la 4a (giving Veneuzlean citizenship to Guyanese people from the Esequibo……and by the way, my memory is not that good but didn’t this song come soon after ‘Viernes Negro’?

      Goes to show the 4th and the 5th are so alike (well the 5th is the 4th on steroids)

  9. Será por esto que hay que estar en una puta oficina del saime antes de las 7 de la mañana para poder renovar una mugrosa cédula, una vaina que se hace en menos de 10 minutos…

  10. The regimes popularity is against the ropes , being now accused of neglect in defense of Venezuelas territorial sovereignty ( an always, a very passionately popular cause among average Venezuelans) really can hurt them , thus the regimes need to be seen as doing something patriotic and assertive to defend the esequivo claim ( even if it hurts it standing with the Caricom countries) . Even though they may use the claim to distract attention from the internal crisis , I think they are mostly acting on the defensive , trying to do things that will not make ordinary venezuelans see them as betraying the sacred soil of the fatherland , that would be the last straw for them , they cant scape peoples anger at the shortages insecurity and inflation thats now struck their lives , they will do anything but their heart is not in it but in surviving the coming economic debacle !!

  11. “…las nuevas autoridades de Guyana salieron con las tablas en la cabeza”

    Tan linda Delcy. Que Dama tan fina y bien educada. Por eso noj apoya er mundo entero, menos los USA, Europa, la OEA, Caricom y Cuba.

  12. “A un siglo del despojo” sobre la Guayana Esequiba pidió al Ejecutivo que otorgue la cédula venezolana a 200 mil habitantes de este territorio.

    “Están en tierra venezolano y están indocumentados”, reclamó Torrealba quien argumentó que esta zona pertenece a Venezuela desde la Capitanía General en 1777. Acotó que estos habitantes pueden tener la doble nacionalidad “¿cuál es el problema? (…) que ellos decidan al final cuál será su nacionalidad, pero la cédula hay que dársela”.

    Ay siiiiii !!! Y que impriman de una vez millones de cedulas para los Chinos, los Colombianos y los Cubanos, vivos o muertos o de comiquitas. Aqui en el CNE vota quien sea, como sea, pero por el PSUV.

    Vamos a buscar Haitianos tambien, los traemos a votar por barco. Regalamos 1 pollo entero bien fresco y 2 harina pan mas 10 dolares con todas las cedulas nuevas!!

  13. Whatever happens, it will take a few years to settle this matter.
    The courts will eventually drag Trinidad and Barbados boundaries into the discussion.
    I hope it is settled once and for all this time.

  14. Back in the day, IIRC, there was a business called Casa Guyana- don’t recall if it was a cafe, or a store- in the mountain town of La Puerta in Trujillo. The owner was from Guyana. He never said he was from Esequibo. If that business is still around, perhaps it is now called Casa Esequibo.

  15. Cooperative republic of Guyana ..
    V.S Naipaul wrote a fantastic account of the post Jonestown tragedy called Back and white ..
    He gives a great synopsis of how Forbes Burnhams socialist cooperative government destroyed the country , opened the racial devide and allowed for the likes of Jim Jones to be given land in the Essequibo , for his utopia, where over 900 Americans in 1978 were forced into mass suicide and a u.s congressman was murdered .
    In the first chapter Naipaul descibes while arriving at Georgetown airport the Guyanese on the plane start taking all the toilet paper and soap from the planes bathrooms to take home ,and at customs all the luggage is full of food and medicine ..
    History repeating itself

  16. This is all nothing more than campaign rhetoric. They will beat their chests. They will make bellicose speeches. They will make a hairy nuisance of themselves in international forums. But, they will do nothing.

    • Yep, purely for domestic consumption. But you don’t know to what degree these crazy folks will go with this Esequibo brouhaha. I mean, nobody in their right mind thought Argentina would actually invade the Falkland Islands.


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