Photo: The Washington Post

A lot has happened since the last time we took a look at the situation regarding the historic dispute between Guyana and Venezuela over the Esequibo. Recently, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced that it will, for the first time, address whether if it has or not jurisdiction over the case and set dates for both countries to present their written arguments in full.

The Co-operative Republic of Guyana must present its Memorial by November 19 this year, while the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has until April 19, 2019 for its Counter-memorial. Guyanese Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge said his legal team is already working on it.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced that it will, for the first time, address whether if it has or not jurisdiction over the case.

But the ICJ also says Venezuela is formally declining to participate in any proceedings. A letter sent by Nicolás Maduro (delivered personally by VP Delcy Rodriguez and FM Jorge Arreaza) argues that there’s no formal consent from Venezuela to move on with the case.

A couple of weeks earlier, a written statement from the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry opened the door to participate in the ICJ; but the government went back to avoiding The Hague at all costs. Instead, they pushed for bilateral talks that could be… eternal.

Guyana’s response to the Venezuelan refrain is that they could ask the ICJ to rule in their favor by applying the Article 53 of its statute, which reads:

“Whenever one of the parties does not appear before the Court, or fails to defend its case, the other party may call upon the Court to decide in favour of its claim. The Court must, before doing so, satisfy itself, not only that it has jurisdiction in accordance with Articles 36 and 37, but also that the claim is well founded in fact and law.”

In the meantime, Georgetown released a couple of new videos to continue promoting its position and educate its population about the controversy. One is above and the other is below:

It’s easy to mock them for their production values or their simplistic approach, but it’s more than what the Venezuelan government is currently doing. The closest I found online are a couple of videos made by State broadcaster VTV back in 2015, when the issue heated up. Even if they are more succinct, their main theme is “We lost the Esequibo because of U.S. imperialism.”

And there’s this documentary by PDVSA TV, which fits right on the same page:

It’s curious how both governments approach the PR dispute: For Guyana, it’s a matter of the highest national interest (for a good reason, the Esequibo makes the majority of its territory), while the ideological aspect dominates the Venezuelan perspective.

And before you blast your keyboards in the comment section, let me explain myself.

For many Venezuelans like me, the Esequibo issue is one that we’re somewhat aware of just by looking at maps of the Zona en Reclamación. But let’s not fool ourselves, it hardly gets the same level of attention that similar claims have in other countries, like the Malvinas/Falklands issue in Argentina, or the access to the Pacific Ocean in Bolivia.

Even if the subject unites our political spectrum at some degree, many Venezuelans cannot see beyond the geopolitical jargon. Whatever the position on the Esequibo (and the chance that the ICJ could end the dispute) may be, more has to be done to expand Venezuelans’ core understanding of the issue.

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57 COMMENTS

  1. It is too late to do anything about the issue.Regardless of the government in charge, Venezuela waited 60 years to even really bring the issue up.We have enough oil and can;t get our shit together anyways so let them have it.

  2. The first time I encountered the issue, I did my own research and decided that Venezuela’s claim was so weak as to be laughable. Yet, when I spoke with any except for the very educated Venezuelans, I encountered a brick wall. They don’t want to examine facts. I soon learned that it is an issue best left alone.

    So, hell yes, Venezuelans need to have better understanding of the core issue. But, good luck getting them to listen!

  3. We are good at fighting for a piece of land but very bad at fighting for our souls. While the Esequibo remians a “patriotic” bone of contention and everybody – chavistas and non-chavistas – struggle to be more patriotic than the others, we have lost our natuional dignity in silence and resignation to mediocrity, to corruption and to inefficiency. We have even lost our self-respect to Castro’s Cuba. Many of the same peole who claim to die to get the Esequibo back are prepared to grant amnesty and lesser charges to the chavista bandits who destroyed Venezuela. This double standard is despicable.
    The current territory called Venezuela is in ruins. And yet, many want to add more square kilometers, so we can destroy more? Of course, to get the Esequibo back is already politically imposible in today’s geopolitical balance. Just to mention that one of the oil companies in the new exploration of Guyana is Chinese.
    But we keep playing the patriotic game, like in a piñata greedy children try to grab more candies knowing that they already have more than we can digest.

    • My thought exactly, and it came to mind.

      Also, it’s worth noting that….

      A: I am not wedded to some kind of idea that Esquibo is always and forever Guyanese soil. History hasn’t worked like that and I don’t expect it to start. So I could see a case where Esquibo would become Venezuelan and I would accept it.

      but…

      B: It has to be done the right way. After all, modern political theory is based on the idea that the people have the right to determine their form of government and who is sovereign over them. So Venezuela would have to work hard on the charm offensive.

      I remember reading this one comment about the Falklands conflict and Argentina’s pants on head stupid and (under the Junta) indefensible approach to it, where a poster said that Argentina SHOULD have embarked on a charm offensive to gradually woo the Kelpers away from the Mother Country and associate them with Argentina.

      http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?589417-Falklands-War-of-Words-The-Empire-Strikes-Back&p=12668966&viewfull=1#post12668966

      And I was like “YES, YES, YES! SOMEBODY ELSE GETS IT! THAT THERE ARE MORE FORMS OF POWER THAN JUST GUNS!”

      But no.

      El Proceso had to try and conduct strongarm robbery on one of the world’s great powers and a crucial anchor of the Western Allies, in spite of how unlikely that was to ever work and how it would harden the resolve of the UK Home government, the Kelpers, and NATO.

      Because if El Proceso understood the vale of soft power and planning to seduce rather than trying to rape, they wouldn’t have been tinpot monsters that hurled people out of bomb doors.

      C: Let’s face it: the only way such a change to a Venezuelan Esquibo works both to the people there and the international community (or at least the parts that matter in this case, like the Western Allies), is WITHOUT the Chavistas. Because nobody seriously trusts the Chavistas to follow through with their promises or govern justly.

      So I think that following the old regime’s propaganda and obsessing over Esquibo is the exact inverse of the good approach.

      First focus on junking the dictatorship and the other communists.

      Then once Venezuela has gotten its house in order and restored freedom, it can start trying to figure out how to win Esquibo in a PR and Legal campaign.

  4. The chaverment only plays when it can choose the rules, choose the opposing players, choose the referees, and retain the right to reject the outcome!

  5. Como es Usual, este “Medio” apoyando a Guyana en el tema Esequibo…

    • Yeah, your “mapa de Venezuela” includes Esquibo.

      And this is supposed to mean something to us?

      A government can make whatever maps it damn well pleases. ESPECIALLY when they are totalitarian dictatorships.

      For instance: this abomination.

      https://digital.library.cornell.edu/catalog/ss:19343254

      Am I supposed to believe that this means Germany had some kind of justified right to Switzerland? Farq No.

      And furthermore, YOUR map of Venezuela may incluye Esquibo.

      But this one doesn’t.

      https://i.pinimg.com/736x/c2/4a/00/c24a005a2c67c59ea2f0b92cee2b757b–stamp-collecting-cartography.jpg

      And crucially, it was a Venezuelan government one. Thus showing that Venezuela accepted the results of the arbitration and recognized Esquibo as part of Guyana.

      The government doesn’t get to rewind the clock, pretend this didn’t happen, and ignore these maps just because of the one you own.

      • Well said.
        That map is been there since I could remember about 60 years.
        Venezuela can even maintain or support his own people. Can not even handle his own laws and delinquency is all over the territory.
        VENEZUELA rich at the time and not needing abandoned the Esequibo but now when they see there is oil, minerals and more $$$ They wanted.

        Is like you left or abandon a son for 60 years and now you wanted because have money. The culture is differnt. Guyana people are honest and drive on the left. Speak English not Spanish and it is and belong to Guyana.
        I am a VENEZUELAN/USA citizen and been in both counties.

  6. “It’s easy to mock them for their production values or their simplistic approach, but it’s more than what the Venezuelan government is currently doing.”
    ——

    I can’t believe I’m reading this. You’re actually ridiculing the Guayana piece for low production values and simplistic approach?

    That was VERY well done in all respects. A home run. (Doing it in English doesn’t hurt their cause internationally either.)

    Are you KIDDING!?

  7. By the way, there is no Falklands issue. It’s British.

    Call it The Malvinas if you want, but that’s as far as it goes.

  8. Understanding that most people don’t wish to study facts in this case, I would like to point out a couple of them:

    1. The famous Mallet-Prevost Memorandum was dictated to a Judge Otto on 8 February 1944.

    2. In January of 1944, then president of Venezuela, Isaías Medina Angarita visited U.S. President FDR in Washington and also visited New York.

    That the close timing of these two events is merely coincidental beggars disbelief. Which is not to say that Mallet-Provost’s account of events is inaccurate. But, his production of the memorandum of those long ago events was nearly certainly connected to Medina’s visit.

    Now, ask yourself… What was Mallet-Provost’s motivation for dictating this memorandum so long after all of the other participants were dead and in a manner designed to ensure that he personally would never have to be questioned about it?

  9. If a decision is taken thru the use of fraud , deceit or coercive threats there is usually some room to call for its anullment whatever time its taken to discover it. Dont know much about the factual details but wouldnt discard the possibility that some grounds might exist to query the decision ……….at the time the claim for its anullment was initially made. In practice what one should do in these cases is to push the claim and then enter into a settlement which the other party may accept to get rid of the claim … for example to split the oil discovered in the disputed area…… One thing I seem to remember is that Venezuela formally agreed with Trinidad to a maritime boundary which extended to part of the disputed zone , by implication that would mean an implicit recognition of Venezuelan rights to the zone adjoining the said boundary, whether such area included places where oil deposits have been discovered havent a clue , but if they did , that would make exploitation of such deposits under a Guiana license tricky !!

    • There are several problems with this approach. Venezuela accepted the results of the arbitration from 1898 until after the death of Severo Mallet-Prevost(SMP) in 1948. This included the issuance of official maps and stamps showing the Esequibo as part of Guyana, which legally translates into official final acceptance of the results and is very difficult to take back. And if SMP really did believe Venezuela had a legitimate claim, why did he stay silent all those years and only make a legally worthless accusation in a letter that was to be read only after his death? Remember that Venezuela was a weak country in 1898, and the Brits also wanted the mouth of the Orinoco. The arbitration result may have been a result of Realpolitik, in which the “impartial” parties got for Venezuela the best result that was available at the time

    • Yeah.

      And the Indians want to return the $24 in beads and get Manhattan back. The problem?

      Those were the Dutch, but it’s now the USA, not Holland.

      The problem with history is that ancient history is pretty irrelevant in the real, modern world. And you sure can’t apply today’s moral and legal standards to those of that time.

      This is a big problem for historians, as that term is generally used:

      It’s what they’ve studied, know, and many make a living from, so they have to use it. And it’s natural they use it to defend their positions, which are OPINIONS, based on their INTERPRETATIONS of that history.

      But there’s a point where it just isn’t relevant to the modern day.

        • @Ira….they pretty much already have it back…..they call it the reconquista. Southern half of Texas the same.

      • “Yeah.

        And the Indians want to return the $24 in beads and get Manhattan back. The problem?”

        Well, besides the fact that ironically, we’re pretty sure that the people the Dutch paid the 60 Guilders to had no real claim to Manhattan island even under modern law. Except maybe grazing rights. They were non-natives who roamed around and went down to the seaside for fish. While not bothering to tell the ACTUAL natives.

        So it’d be a bit like Ireland paying the UK a few thousand pounds to annex Iceland.

        “Those were the Dutch, but it’s now the USA, not Holland.”

        Well to be fair thee US would be the current title holder and inheritor of the Dutch claim, due to the Dutch cession of New Amsterdam to the UK and the following British recognition of American independence.

        “The problem with history is that ancient history is pretty irrelevant in the real, modern world.”

        Honestly, I disagree with this quite heavily. I do think ancient history (and frankly as someone who has studied old kingdom Egypt, I dreaaally don’t view 19th century stuff as being “ancient history”) is of great importance. Especially since the development and codification of legal precedent for cases like this.

        And I do think it points to the Chavistas looking a bit at this like the Argentine Juntas looked at the Falklands in 1982.

        ” And you sure can’t apply today’s moral and legal standards to those of that time.”

        Eh, you can, I just agree it isn’t the most conductive.

        “This is a big problem for historians, as that term is generally used:

        It’s what they’ve studied, know, and many make a living from, so they have to use it. And it’s natural they use it to defend their positions, which are OPINIONS, based on their INTERPRETATIONS of that history.”

        Well sure, but while everything I stand taken as a whole is an opinion and an interpretation, and so are many subsets of it (such as my idea- controversial as it is- that WWI was a just war), many other positions and facets are not.

        For instance, when I say that the Venezuelan government issued documentation recognizing Esquibo as Guyanese (in maps, stamps, and so on), THAT AIN’T MY OPINION. THAT AIN’T AN INTERPRETATION.

        That is Objectively provable, irrefutable fact.

        And I try to build my interpretations and opinions off of said foundations of empirical truth. So that even if my stances may not actually BE empirical truth, they are as close to it as possible.

        “But there’s a point where it just isn’t relevant to the modern day.”

        Eh, agreed cautiously.

    • “In practice what one should do in these cases is to push the claim and then enter into a settlement which the other party may accept to get rid of the claim … for example to split the oil discovered in the disputed area…”

      OK Bill, I claim all your possessions and wealth. Therefore give me half of your money, investments, personal property and half of your house and real estate and we’ll call it even.

    • @Bill Bass “If a decision is taken thru the use of fraud , deceit or coercive threats there is usually some room to call for its anullment whatever time its taken to discover it.”

      A: Usually, but not always. There’s a reason why the African Union continues to adhere to old colonial boundaries.

      But more importantly…

      B: Then it is incumbent upon the party asking for a revision to PROVE that the outcome was tainted to an actionable degree. Burden of proof and all that.

      And frankly a single solitary bit of hearsay after everybody else was long dead is pretty weaksauce as far as this goes. Particularly since the result at the time was guaranteed by neutral observers like the US.

      I’m not saying it is not possible. But it’s gonna be Hecka hard to prove to a point that it is worth overturning over a hundred years of peoples lives.

      And of course any revision must wait until after the end of Chavismo.

      “Dont know much about the factual details but wouldnt discard the possibility that some grounds might exist to query the decision ……….at the time the claim for its anullment was initially made. ”

      Sure, there’s some. And I’ll freely admit that UK commisioners (and other great power ones in the Victorian age) often did act in a very, very biased fashion.

      But so did other parties, including a US that was motivated both during the late 19th century and the FDR years to limit and minimize the justification for British administration. That’s why you held arbitration like this with multiple parties.

      So that everybody’s ulterior motives and biases would balance each other out, division of powers style.

      “In practice what one should do in these cases is to push the claim and then enter into a settlement which the other party may accept to get rid of the claim … for example to split the oil discovered in the disputed area…… ”

      Honestly, there’s something I find distasteful about this, even knowing how cynical and self-interested the law (including international law) can be. I can certainly understand the national interest in it. I for one would not be greatly saddened if I woke up tomorrow and the US really was at “54-40” in the old Oregon Territory.

      But factually speaking, this particular baby was split a long, long time. And frankly I think rescinding it decades after the fact in order to try and extort concessions smells of lawfare. If not an open invitation for the world’s bad actors to play Shicklegruber, always demanding A Bigger Slice of the Pie.

      I think we see something similar to this with Vlad Putin and his sudden interest in the spposed rights of ethnic Russians outside of the country…and those of his allies (because goddamn it, paying attention to Kazakhstan’s persecution of ethnic Russians would be too damn inconvenient). Similar to the bullocks rejection of the Budapest Memorandum in Ukraine in 1994.

      I have zero doubt Chavismo would do this too if it could. I only doubt its capabilities.

      There are some sleeping dogs it is better to let lie.

      “One thing I seem to remember is that Venezuela formally agreed with Trinidad to a maritime boundary which extended to part of the disputed zone , by implication that would mean an implicit recognition of Venezuelan rights to the zone adjoining the said boundary,”

      And the Trinidad-Venezuelan claim was a bilateral treaty, not a multinational one. And there are plenty of cases where two parties will negotiate on the basis of each others’ stated positions rather than what the international community is likely to enforce.

      ” whether such area included places where oil deposits have been discovered havent a clue , but if they did , that would make exploitation of such deposits under a Guiana license tricky !!”

      Sure, but I chalk that up to politics more than I do much of the law.

  10. I was ignorant of the claim and had to brush up on the history of it. From what I understand after reading opinions of people much more knowledgeable of this situation, I don’t think Venezuela has much of a claim.
    Why are we even having this discussion? There are so many other issues that are much more urgent.
    This just seems like another distraction that is irrelevant compared to everything else that is affecting the people of Venezuela.

    • “Why are we even having this discussion?”

      “This just seems like another distraction”

      You answered your own question, John.

    • John, I think the main reason is that CC needs content, but too often than not, that content isn’t that substantial or appropriate.

      I can’t blame the site, because it’s gotta be a bitch coming up with content EVERY DAY, especially since any relevant new content is just fucking depressing these days. They need a minimal of new content EVERY DAY, if it’s just one one piece, in addition to Naky’s…

      Whose comprehensive reporting here, every freaking day, is just unbelievable. I don’t think there’s a single reporter from The New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters or elsewhere who could do a better job at covering all of the various issues, at one time, as well as she.

      With a special recognition to Javier who does an INCREDIBLE job at the translation! Not only outstanding English, but at giving us native English speakers the feeling and spirit of what she wrote in Spanish.

    • What Ira said. It’s hard to overstate how difficult a 24/7 news cycle is to find content for, and while I periodically disagree with many CC staff members and contributors- quite heavily and frequently honestly- I can appreciate their efforts.

      In addition, we also are hearing it because it tells us about the actions of both the Guyanan and Venezuelan states. And that is important, because it keeps us in the loop. And frankly I get a chilly reminder of the Falklands around 1982 or so…

      • Good answers guys. I did take the time to brush up on the issue when it first came to my attention.
        I just wish there was a way that we could put our interests and our concern for the people of Venezuela to a better use than pounding away at our keyboards. Almost everybody that comments on here wants this crisis to end and is concerned about the suffering so many people are enduring.
        One of my recent projects is trying to find a supplier for antiretroviral drugs for the HIV / AIDS patients. Anyone that has suggestions or may know of an organization that can help with supplying the medicines, I’d appreciate the help.
        I have written to the Elton John Foundation as well as other HIV / AIDS support groups and contacted people that do fundraisers for AIDS patients that I contribute to. So far no luck obtaining the medicines.
        The regime is practicing genocide against these patients and perhaps collectively we can find a solution. Although many people feel that these patients lifestyle choices are the reason for their illnesses, I don’t care how someone got where they are. I’m concerned that they are human beings that are suffering.
        An issue that has arisen in previous discussions with groups that provide humanitarian relief is that I am not a registered charity or a non profit. I do offer to supply shipping receipts, receipts for purchases, contact information and copies of correspondence to prove that my requests are legitimate.
        The regime’s refusal to allow humanitarian aid into the country makes my ability to “fly under the radar” that much more valuable, if I can just get some people to work with me.

      • @Ira You don’t want to know what the Kurils are, you say?

        TOO BAD!

        The Kurils are a bunch of subarctic, Volcanic islands off the Northeast coast of Hokkaido. Before WWII they belonged to Japan, much like Southern Sakhalin (or “Karafuto Prefecture”).

        Actually they negotiated a compromise where they recognized Russian claims over Southern Sakhalin in exchange for Russia recognizing theirs over the Kurils. But then the Russo-Japanese War happened and they took control over Southern Sakhalin too.

        Anyway, in the dying days of WWII the Western Allies were eager to get this over with. Perhaps too eager. But anyway, they were certainly going to defeat Japan, but that would take time and blood. Especially if they had to deal with the Japanese forces nestled in Northeastern Asia, the Kwantung Army and the small empire it had carved out of Korea, Manchuria, and China.

        So the Western Allies made a deal with Stalin. That if the Soviets entered the war on Japan before a certain date, they would get Southern Sakhalin and the Kurils.

        So the Soviets did. And the Kurils were the sight of one of the last amphibious battles of WWII (and a a rare one involving the Soviets).

        There was some difficulty, but ultimately the Soviets conquered it, kicked all the ethnic Japanese out, and annexed the islands to the RSFSR. Which after the fall of the Soviet Empire devolved into Russia. And the cession was recognized in the treaties that ended the Pacific War.

        But a lot of Japanese are still salty about this and there’s some interest in finding a way to get them back.

  11. This strikes me as basically the Falklands issue for Venezuela. And frankly the fact that the Esequibo issue “unites our political spectrum” in Venezuela worries me, precisely because I get the feeling that it could lead to a similar result. Particularly because desperate tyrannies tend to do crazy things.

    I fear it also helps explain why Chavismo has managed to be as successful as it has in Venezuela; because like MRubio said so many in the opposition are not willing to call out a vast amount of its bullocks.

    (Also, this may be a strange thing for me to notice, but why the heck did the Guyanese video have an old video of the UN flags that included the old, pre-1994, Hutu supremacist flag?

    In Rwanda ‘s pretty much like the freaking Parteiflagg with the “cartwheeling addition sign” is in Germany. Surely SOMEBODY could have gone to the UN and gotten a reccent video of it? Or are they actually still hanging that rag outside?)

  12. Lots of things happen in the world which are the result of fraud and deceit or covert intimidation , in the business world , in politics and in diplomacy, many people learn to live with it , but the more you keep quiet the more you encourage that kind of conduct . I am not a fanatic but I do think that when someone does something wrong even if due to circumstances you cant set things totally aright they must be made to face some consequences , i.e. leave a shred of their skin in the tussle ……, I dont know that the Ezequibo claim is that crazy , for smaller causes Ive seen the victimizer see the consequences of their actions follow them into the future , you dont always go for the whole hog , but you do want to see at least a piece of an ear or the tail. Look at all the old sexual harrasment cases now flourishing in the developed world , people are paying for old misdeeds with their careers even after they paid money to get it settled . So even if because english is our native language and we automatically tend to sympathyze with people who are closer to us in race and culture , the british got away with murder a lot a times , except once , when they tried it with the americans ……if you read your history youll discover that what brought about the independence movement went back to some unpleasant things that happened 40 years before …….this is nothing to do with Chavismo…..they dont care about anything to do with Venezuelan territorial rights or claims , all they care is maintaining power at whatever costs to the country…..this is to do with what some Venezuelans not all of then derranged and fanatics believed was right for their country …!!

    • “Lots of things happen in the world which are the result of fraud and deceit or covert intimidation , in the business world , in politics and in diplomacy, many people learn to live with it ,”

      Agreed, and that’s a problem. After a certain point a lto of times, even an agreement or arrangmeent that began criminally is deemed legal.

      For nstance, a similar principle of this is Squatter’s Rights. Even if they are almost extinct now due to improvementsi n the law and enforcement, ultimately it is wrong to penalize people who had nothing to do with an original wrongdoing for what someone else did. Particularly if half the reason this alleged wrongdoing was brought up was for shady business of its own.

      And this is again, when talking about cases where wrongdoing can be proven.

      Which hasn’t been shown in this case. To say the least. It’s been alleged sure, and by one of the protagonists in this mess.

      But only one. And decades after the fact, when everybody else had keeled over.

      That isn’t going to cut it.

      “but the more you keep quiet the more you encourage that kind of conduct .”

      Sure.

      But what about conduct where long resolved cases that had been peaceful, productive, and beneficial get opened up so one side can pursue ever greater booty and plunder?

      How is tolerating this kind of conduct NOT also setting a dangerous, devastating precedent?

      “I am not a fanatic-”

      Indeed, and nobody here thought so.

      ” but I do think that when someone does something wrong even if due to circumstances you cant set things totally aright they must be made to face some consequences , i.e. leave a shred of their skin in the tussle”

      I agree.

      But the first step in such a resolution must be proving wrongdoing occurred. After all, we must operate on a principle of innocent until proven guilty. Or else we are also laying the groundwork for wrongdoing.

      ” ……, I dont know that the Ezequibo claim is that crazy ,”

      It pretty much is.

      I mean, even if we assume that the Mallet-Prevost Memo’s claims are true and the original arbitration was a miscarriage of justice, it’s still one Venezuela accepted in order to take possession over the minority of the territory it was assigned.

      It then issued official government documentation and formed policy around this, and the result was accepted in the eyes of the law. And in the meantime an independent Guyanese nation was born and continued adhering to this.

      So, what gives Nicolas and Hugo the right to come back decades later, rip off this bandaid, and say “No, Pay Me!”?

      You are NEVER Going to convince me that any possible British or American malfeasance in the Esquibo Crisis was worse than the wholesale *genocide* and ethnic cleansing the Communists inflicted upon the ethnic Germans of East Prussia, Posen, the Sudetenland, and elsewhere after WWII.

      But there are many, Many reasons why the modern German republic does not go and say “hey, we reject these clauses of the WWII peace treaties because our nationals were murdered, enslaved, and deported by the bucketload!”

      In part because the German government at the time was nowhere near innocent.

      But also because it would open a can of worms, and particularly any resolution now would impose unjust consequences on people who were completely innocent of the original crimes.

      “for smaller causes Ive seen the victimizer see the consequences of their actions follow them into the future , ”

      Again, there’s no proof that anybody was victimized here yet.

      Or at least, no proof that has been definitely established.

      Only allegations.

      First proof. Then action.

      And even then, that action has to be tailored to account with other principles. RE: the post-WWII removal of Germans and Kalingrad today.

      Again, an actual, staggering case of victimization well outside of any *possible* comparison with what happened in Esquibo.

      “you dont always go for the whole hog ,”

      You don’t always go for any part of the hog at all. And that’s the problem.

      Even IF we assume that the allegations about the original arbitration were true (and that is no slam dunk case), there’s the fact that this has been settled law for over a century. And modern law and ethics recognize it is unjust for a loot seeking thugocracy to want to rip open the wounds of the past as a negotiating tactic, in order to obtain a larger slice of the pie.

      Which is clearly what the Chavista policy today amounts to, regardless of one’s feelings on Esquibo. And again, I have no die hard commitment to the idea that Esquibo must be Guyanan forever and ever and ever. I am more than willing to accept the possibility of a Venezuelan annexation at some point later.

      But it’s gotta be done in the right way.

      And such a possibility does not exist for as long as the Chavistas hold power.

      “but you do want to see at least a piece of an ear or the tail.”

      Indeed.

      ” Look at all the old sexual harrasment cases now flourishing in the developed world , people are paying for old misdeeds with their careers even after they paid money to get it settled .”

      Actually, that’s a worthwhile claim. Because a lot of times, sexual harassment cases are based on lies and false accusations.

      A lot of the #MeToo ers are liars (like the accusers of Clarence Thomas), and even more are cynically self interested posers who knew about it for years (re: lots of people who had contact with Harv Weinstein) said nothing when it could actually help people, but now are jumping on when they smell blood in the water.

      Not all of them are. Probably not even most. But some have been proven to be so. And therein is the rub.

      So the correct approach to this is to treat the claims from stuff like the M-P Memo as akin to a claim there.

      An as of yet unsubstantiated, unsupported claim. One that MIGHT be true, but which MIGHT also not be. We simply do not know how true it is yet.

      And also, very much unlike sexual harassment cases where the person in question is always culpable (like the concentration camp guards we keep rounding up years later), this involves a matter of nations. Collective entities that do not always have the same individual, personal responsibility for what happened before that people like Harvey Weinstein do.

      This is why it makes sense that if a gang of people stormed into your house, shot your father, and forced your family out at gunpoint it would be proper to come back- even decades later- with law enforcement and push them out. But why Germany is not going to advocate before the International Court that Kalingrad be ethnically cleansed again so that it can return to being Koeningsburg like it was because the Communist ethnic cleansings of ’45 and further.

      “So even if because english is our native language and we automatically tend to sympathyze with people who are closer to us in race and culture , the british got away with murder a lot a times , ”

      Oh absolutely agreed.

      And that isn’t the issue. I’m more than willing to chew out the British when I think they are wrong, and demand reparations to that account. Likewise with my own US. There’s a reason why I’d be more than happy to see the British army pay reparations to the Ashanti to replace the Golden Stool that they went to war with them over.

      But here’s the thing. Britain’s a big place containing a lot of people, and not all of them are responsible for the same stuff. William Wilberforce didn’t sack Calcutta. John Burgoyne didn’t crush slave smugglers. And so on.

      So back to the issue of Individual v. National responsibility.

      And again, this is the stuff we can prove versus what we can’t.

      We can prove that the British incited a war with the Ashanti over an egotistical sacrelige.

      We can also prove they engaged in the slave trade on a massive scale, kidnapping people from West Africa on an industrial scale.

      We can’t prove that they acted in a corrupt manner in regards to the Arbitration agreement here.

      As an American, I am MORE than willing to talk in great length about how Americans treated Amerindians unjustly, often slaughtering them in great numbers and without regard for noncombatants or even basic questions of identity.

      But that doesn’t mean that Ward Churchill’s balderdash that the US Army was responsible for the smallpox epidemic at Fort Clark was true.

      The British army (that most Anglo-Americans would have identified) did try something similar at Fort Pitt nearly a century earlier (only to have the plan mostly scuttled by higher ups). But that doesn’t mean that the similar but utterly false charge by Churchill was true.

      “except once , when they tried it with the americans ……”

      No, they failed to get away with murder a whole bunch of times, not just with Americans.

      You don’t see Swaziland annexed to South America for a reason.

      “if you read your history youll discover that what brought about the independence movement went back to some unpleasant things that happened 40 years before …….”

      That and a number of other reasons.

      Starting with the English crown’s promise that people living in the colonies would continue to enjoy the rights of Englishmen as if they had never left. And various unpleasantness between the Amerindians.

      “this is nothing to do with Chavismo…..”

      No, it does.

      Because Chavismo is beating this particular drum hard. Much like the Argentine Junta did with the Falklands.

      The overall issues are not limited to either dictatorship, but the existence of both and their policies (and proven track record for both murderous tyranny and blatant dishonesty) still must affect our matters.

      There’s a reason why even if Venezuela was proven to be 100% in the right on the facts of the case tomorrow, Guyana would not turn over sovereignty for as long as Chavismo remains in power.

      “they dont care about anything to do with Venezuelan territorial rights or claims , ”

      SURE they freaking do!

      It provides them a convenient nexus to try and get people to rally around the flag again, and possible territories to be looted or pillaged in order to prop up the dictatorship.

      That doesn’t mean that the claims they’re basing their stance on are Wrong. That would be a cousin of the ad hominem (“Their claims are wrong because they’re bad people!” No, that isn’t how logic works).

      But it does mean that they are an EXTREMELY interested, very un-impertial player in this drama.

      “all they care is maintaining power at whatever costs to the country…..”

      And they wouldn’t be the first tinpot tyrants to use claims to national glory and *Insert Nation Here* Irredenta to maintain power. Again, just ask Galtieri.

      “this is to do with what some Venezuelans not all of then derranged and fanatics believed was right for their country …!!”

      Indeed, and I can understand.

      But here’s the thing.

      Belief is not fact.

      first, we would have to investigate the facts again. And see if we can substantiate the claims of wrongdoing. Because so far we have not been able to do so.

      That is a First and Necessary Step to *any* concept of revising the results of this arbitration.

      And a second one is removing Chavismo from power. Because even if I bought in to the Memo’s claims, I recognize it would be perverse and unjust to transfer thousands of people and prime real estate to the tyrannous clutches of Chavismo.

      Then we can focus on other stuff.

  13. You assumme that facts have not been investigated at all and that there is no proof of malfeasance on the part of the brits and russian arbitrators in deciding the arbitration , acctually if you did a bit of homework youll discover that quite a bit of research has been done on the subject and that there is more than a shred of evidence that malfeasance did indeed ocurr (copies of british issued map,s internal british conemporary document and the like , this was long before Chavez rose to political power in Venezuela and by people who though not part of the english or american justice system were as thorough and professionally adept as you might find in the US or GB. Mr Prevost letter itself is evidence of what ocurred for what reason might he have to reveal what he revealed if it were untrue…….., people dont write letters that discredit something they were involved in for the sheer fun of doing so ……it is not logical nor credible …………that it is inconvenient for some that a claim be made of the nullity of a decisions which were obtained unlawfully of course is true , but the fact that it is incovenient because of the passing of time doesnt mean that there are no merits to it ….!! I think that for the regime what happening with the claim is an embarrassment , and that whatever noise they make they have not the least interest in getting into any kind of hassle to defend the claim ,,,,in fact they arent doing anything practical about it because they dont want to lose caricoms support in their trounles with the OAS ……in fact thatss whats driving Guianas action at this moment , their knowldege that the regime will not do anything that puts their already precarious position within the OAS at risk by doing anything that might alienate their support ….they are throwing the claim down the sink because caricoms support is more important to them than Venezuelas historical claims to the Ezequivo …..,
    I dont think that Chavismo gains anythiing from contesting the Guianese govts actions in the disputed areas , they put up appearances but only enough to be able to say that they have not blantantly betrayed the countrys insterest and not much else….The claim is not made more or less valid by the fact that Venezuela is being ruled by this regime ……., It existed before Chavez came to power and was upheld by people who had nothing to do with Chavez and in fact who Chavez would have considered his ideological enemies !!

    • Part 1 “You assumme that facts have not been investigated at all ”

      No, you assume wrongly.

      I assume just the opposite.

      That the facts Have been investigated over and over and over again in the century since.this time.

      And since there has been no smoking gun, no glaring injustice that has been uncovered by any Venezuelan government, historian, or partisan, it is most likely not going to happen.

      Now, I could be wrong. We COULD find something that revolutionizes the case and changes our understanding of it tomorrow. Like maybe a transmitted bribe or letter. It happens quite frequently in histography.

      But we *haven’t* yet. And while absence of evidence is not absolute evidence of absence, it is circumstantial evidence against it.

      “and that there is no proof of malfeasance on the part of the brits and russian arbitrators in deciding the arbitration ,”

      See above.

      ” acctually if you did a bit of homework youll discover that quite a bit of research has been done on the subject ”

      A: Don’t condescend to me.

      I have indeed done quite a bit of “homework”, for pleasure and to help with wargaming. Including on the evidence of said malfeasance about the arbitrators and the rough population loyalties.

      and B: Yeah, I am well aware a lot of research (and a fair bit of Airquotes-worthy “Research”) has been done about it; and while I do not claim to be the preeminent expert in anything on the subject I probably am much better informed than most.

      The truth is, the results of this reseach of the subject matter for over a century have not produced a smoking gun. Or even particularly strong reasons to suspect malfeasance outside of the Memo.

      And the very fact that you’re forced to cite the material you do in this comment without realizing what weaksauce at least one of them are isn’t surprising.

      “”and that there is more than a shred of evidence that malfeasance did indeed ocurr (copies of british issued map,s internal british conemporary document and the like , ”

      NONE OF THOSE MEAN SERIOUS MALFEASANCE BY THEMSELVES.

      Seriously!

      “Copies of British issued maps”?

      Again, national governments have the right to issue pretty much any map they damn well wish, just not to have those taken seriously by anybody else.

      And in cases where sovereignty is disputed, it is EXTREMELY common for one side to issue internal documentation in which they claim territory outside of what is accepted by others. And all too often it is a negotiating tactic of the VERY kind you used. To make a maximalist claim, and then be negotiated down in a settlement.

      That settlement was part of what the arbitration was about.

      So “internal British maps” merely demonstrate that the British Empire thought it had the right to these given territories before the arbitration. Arbitration that saw it give up its claims to some parts of what are now Venezuela in exchange for Venezuela giving up its claims to the Guyanese parts of Esquibo.

      Their existence does not point to the idea that the British officials on the arbitration committee were fatally tainted. It certainly can be used as evidence of their *bias* and ulterior motives, but again. That’s what is expected.

      And it’s also what the makeup of the arbitration group was meant to deal with.

      “Internal British contemporary contemporary document.”

      See above. Maybe you know the relevant material better than I do (I doubt it, but it is certainly possible since my focus on the matter is relatively shallow), but in the material I’ve been presented thus far, it hasn’t been much.

      Mostly, it falls under the former underline.

      Evidence that the British government thought it held the right of way (as most states in arbitration do) and that it acted as such. And some indications of bias.

      “this was long before Chavez rose to political power in Venezuela”

      I’m well aware of the timeline.

      ” and by people who though not part of the english or american justice system were as thorough and professionally adept as you might find in the US or GB. ”

      Firstly, I’ve seen some professional lawyers in the US and GB, and I have been as thoroughly unimpressed with them as any. There’s no shortage of dishonest hacks or outright idiots with professorships, law degrees, and so on running amuck.

      And secondly: again, what’s remarkable is how Undersupported these claims are from the other vantage points. From Russia (which was supposedly the other side of the informal agreement that supposedly underlined the Guyana settlement, and which Britain was in a Cold War- the Great Game- with, and which the US was aligned with), or from the Venezuelan representation that Prevost said were there.

      You would KINDA THINK that the freaking Russians would want some kind of documentation or internal notice that they had made this kind of settlement with their worst enemy at the time, so that they could hold it over their heads later and/or use it in concert with Venezuela.

      But they never seem to have done so. Even though that would mean they willfully threw away any kind of leverage that they had over either their worst enemy at the time, a valuable Hispanic American neutral that could be brought into closer ties with them, or an America that was still deeply suspicious of the Brits.

      Even considering the fact that access to the Russian archives is limited, this would probably not be some of the stuff that would be censored or redacted. If anything I would expect Putin’s government to be RUSHING to publish it given its contemporary interests

      Likewise, the Venezuelan authorities didn’t make much in the way of contemporary documentation of these kinds of threats.

      Do I have to plain how freaking unlikely these are?

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And frankly the theory of the Prevost memo doesn’t add up with what we know of the data so far, and the other bits about 19th century history (for instance, the fierce animosity between the British and Russia).

      That does not mean it is *wrong*, but it CERTAINLY means that it needs more evidence in order to be taken seriously.

      And a bunch of contemporary British documents and maps asserting that the British government felt it had the right to this territory before arbitration does not evidence of corruption Make.

      “Mr Prevost letter itself is evidence of what ocurred-”

      No, it’s an account of what occurred. In other words, it is equivalent to an eyewitness claim. One made decades after the fact.

      This should be taken seriously, because it is by one of the protagonists in the arbitration. But it should not be taken *on trust alone.*

      WHICH IS PRETTY MUCH WHAT PREVOST DEMANDS WE DO, having dictated the memo decades after the other principles were dead (and thus could not refute what he said), to be opened after HE Died (and so could not be questioned for clarification about What the Farq happened, or any inconsistencies in the account).

      Unlike Roy, I don’t think Mallet-Prevost wrote the letter as part off some deeply linked political strategy with Roosevelt on the occasion of the Venezuelan Presidential visit; the actual way it went into effect was long after, And I also think that by and large Mallet-Prevost was an honorable and honest man.

      But that just underlines the utter disconnect in these claims. That the man took SUCH pains to avoid any possible scrutiny about this. That it was not only that he tried to avoid being confronted by the people he accused of corruption, but that HE HIMSELF avoid so much as giving *testimony* about it.

      So it’s a bit like recieving a posthumous confession that the recently deceased was part o a gang that raped and murdered someone.

      Seemingly convincing and certainly dramatic. But also subject to a lot of limitations and inherent weaknesses in the way it was brought forth.

      And which unless there can be more evidence to be brought forward, can and should be discarded.

      ” for what reason might he have to reveal what he revealed if it were untrue……..,”

      I don’t know.

      And frankly, I don’t have to care that much.

      There’s a reason why motive is the least important of the triad of “Means, Motive, and Opportunity.” Because people can and will do all kinds of stuff for all kinds of reasons. What you can or can’t prove happened matters a farq ton more than why. Which is the reason why we don’t know the true reason behind several events (like why Akechi ambushed and killed Oda Nobunaga).

      But the fact that America came into the arbitration negotiations as Venezuela’s great power supporter (While Venezuela represented itself, Great Britain represented its own interests, and Russia came in because Russia stuck its nose in pretty much everything in the 19th century on point of principle, and initially leaned towards Venezuela) and Prevost’s claims support them indicates a great deal of sentiment in its favor. And the fact that this came at the same time of a general American push for its European allies to decolonize after WWII (and FDR’s own attemptts to curtail the restoration of the British Empire) also point to a general tendency in the US to support claims on Britain’s territory.

      Again, this doesn’t mean that the Memo was dictated by FDR in line for the visit. But it does mean that Prevost was probably biased in favor of Venezuela (which is ok, after all that was one reason he had a part in the *arbitration* agreement).

      And for all I know he felt the “spirit of the times” with the “winds of change” pushing impetus for decolonization, and so he decided to plant a poison pill drawing from the several cases of British bias (which I can accept happened, just as American and Venezuelan bias influenced the matter) to write a fictional account that he would never have to answer for.

      I don’t know, and that is conjecture.

      But more importantly, it’s just as conjectural as pretty much everything that assumes the Prevost memo is true.

    • @Bill Bass Part 2

      “people dont write letters that-”

      I’m going to stop you there and skip it.

      Because again.

      People do all kinds of crazy shiet for all kinds of crazy reasons.

      There’s a REASON why law enforcement agencies worth their salt realize that false confessions are far more common than most people think.

      It doesn’t matter Why Prevost felt the way he did so much as what he physically did. And frankly it’s quite possible that he was willing to tank some of his immense credibility in order to advance the case of the side he sympathized with after his death.

      “it is not logical nor credible …………”

      Advancing an almost completely separate story of the boundary negotiations almost a half century after they became settled law isn’t the most credible or particularly logical thing to do, but everybody here agrees that Prevost did it.

      Because human beings are not infallibly logical or credible creatures.

      “that it is inconvenient for some that a claim be made of the nullity of a decisions which were obtained unlawfully of course is true ,”

      It’s also incredibly convenient for someone who wants to push an agenda by making a false claim that something was obtained unlawfully.

      Which Prevost may well have been trying to do.

      And since he conveniently ARRANGED THIS SO HE NEVER HAD TO DEAL WITH BEING CONFRONTED WITH THOSE CLAIMS, we’re left to try and break the deadlock by doing the obvious.

      Looking for other evidence to indicate what Prevost claimed. That his version of events was true and that the US agreed to the resolution because of unusual Anglo-Russian pressure.

      To say that the evidence for this has been *underwhelming* is a freaking understatement. And the fault for that can be laid firmly at Prevost’s feet, both in 1944 and well before.

      Put simply, it’s the job of the accuser to prove their case.

      That’s Prevost.

      And he most certainly did not prove his case. He alleged, but his memo did not include any contemporary notes to that effect. Any primary documents.

      ” but the fact that it is incovenient because of the passing of time doesnt mean that there are no merits to it ….!!”

      Correct.

      But the fact that it was made PURPOSEFULLY inconvenient by way of delivering it after everybody who could contest its accounts was dead DOES argue against it.

      As does the fact that it goes firmly against the grain of the majority of the evidence involved.

      “I think that for the regime what happening with the claim is an embarrassment , and that whatever noise they make they have not the least interest in getting into any kind of hassle to defend the claim ,,,,”

      I’m skeptical. Because again, expansionist aggressive totalitarian state.

      If a regime is so interested in expanding its agenda that it dedicates itself to promoting its ideology abroad (The Bolivarian Alternative to the Americas and whatnot), it isn’t unreasonable to expect it might be interested in doing so by directly expanding the nation it controls.

      Or stirring the pot to do so.

      Similar to how the PRC’s government was not interested in trying to conquer Macao or Hong Kong by force of arms, but was interested in stirring the pot to see what could be done at a later date. Even to the point of stopping the very Red Guards it had ginned up to conquer the islands via propaganda.

      “in fact they arent doing anything practical about it”

      This is Chavismo.

      The number of practical things they do for anything are not very high.

      ” because they dont want to lose caricoms support in their trounles with the OAS ……”

      Yeah, but the rhetoric can still be taken as proof of intent.

      “in fact thatss whats driving Guianas action at this moment , their knowldege that the regime will not do anything that puts their already precarious position within the OAS at risk by doing anything that might alienate their support ….”

      Maybe. Or the desire to use Venezuela’s descent into tyranny and the possible threat (however imaginary) of attack in order to shore up support from the OAS and the original arbitrating nations to defend it (which it can then try to translate into support for its position more broadly).

      “they are throwing the claim down the sink -”

      Nations that throw claims down the sink don’t loudly bang on about them, and promote rather off color and eccentric (if we’re being generous) claims like the Prevost letter in order to keep irredentalist sentiment high and try to ride off of it.

      And while the regime may not be focused on doing anything much about its claims NOW due to internal conflict, that can change Drastically and quickly. Case in point: Argentina’s junta going from trying to crush domestic resistance in 1980 versus its invasion of the Falklands in 1982.

      “because caricoms support is more important to them than Venezuelas historical claims to the Ezequivo …..,”

      Which I could firmly believe, because again.. of how freaking unlikely it is that there is any chance of those being revisited.

      Especially given the VERY thin reeds that have been pushed to try and advocate it.

      “I dont think that Chavismo gains anythiing from contesting the Guianese govts actions ”

      A: Popularity from acting as the advocates of Venezuelan sovereignty or the like; much like the endless kvetching about EL Imperio and the Economic War.

      B: Support from other nations with territorial disputes like Argentina and assorted useful idjiots peddling the label of “anti-Imperialism” (like Chomsky) to appeal to the foreign public.

      C: The very concrete possibility of the loot that could be plundered from Esquibo by either lawfare (as you proposed) or direct conquest.

      D: Trying to turn some of the less controllable collectivos and the opposition away from threatening the government towards someone else.

      It’s a strategy Bismark would have recognized.

      “The claim is not made more or less valid by the fact that Venezuela is being ruled by this regime ……., ”

      Agreed with caveats.

      But it is made less valid by the degree to which this was settled law.

      And it is made less valid by the extremely thin grounds upon which it is based.

      “It existed before Chavez came to power ”

      Indeed, I know.

      And it was dubious long before that too.

      “and was upheld by people who had nothing to do with Chavez ”

      Indeed, see above and in fact who Chavez would have considered his ideological enemies !!”

    • @Bill Bass Part 3; aka a Too Long, Didn’t Read summary.

      I agree that Venezuelan claims to Esquibo well predate Chavez and are not predicated on his regime. They are not made invalid by the regime’s existence even though they must influence how anybody would go about doing it.

      However, it IS pushed closer to being invalid by both the strength of the settlement’s longevity, AND the extremely weak case for revising it, predicated on the idea that the original arbitration agreement was the result of a corrupt bargain between the Russian and British governments. Because Prevost said so.

      It’s the accuser’s job to prove his case. That’s Prevost. And he quite clearly did not.

      His memo lacks primary documentation such as notes he took from the period that could substantiate his claims.

      It also was done INTENTIONALLY to avoid critical scrutiny of his claims. By dictating the memo SO LONG after it happened and other players in the arbitration died, and furthermore dicating that the memo be unsaled after his death, Prevost wasn’t just avoiding the possibility of one of his fellow commissioners from the arbitration confronting his claims. He also avoided the possibility of HIMSELF being questioned about his account for its validity, any inconsistencies, or the like.

      This is essentially him “hiding” the story for half a century. And if he was so confident truth was on his side, why was he so adverse to the sunlight?

      This makes his accounts INHERENTLY more questionable, because not only did it take so long for him to do so (and records and memory both diminish over time), but also because they can’t be directly challenged by the people in a position to dos.

      In addition, Prevost’s letter is not well supported. It runs against the grain of 19th century history, which was dominated by the Cold war between Britain and Tsarist Russia called “The Great Game.” It ALSO is not supported in ways that we’d expect it to be.

      American and British gov’t documents from the time don’t seem to support this path of argument. And crucuailly, neither do *Russian* ones. Which is kind of crucial, because you would THINK that if the Russian government was going to have its commissioner do jack shiet in some kind of bargain with their arch enemies, they would have put it down somewhere.

      To make sure that they had a written record of it, and could hold it over Britain’s head so they would not back down, or could put it forward to Venezuela or the US in order to curry support against Britain at a later date.

      But nada. Apparently nothing to that effect has turned up in more than a century of searching, in spite of the clear and obvious interest the Tsarist, Soviet, and Putinite governments would have in bringing it to light.

      Furthermore, the indications you used to try and show there was corruption in the arbitration- contemporary British documents and maps issued by their government- are no such indication. They merely show that the British government believed it was in the right and that the disputed territory was rightfully its, Not that the British subjects in the arbitration were corrupt. Particularly since the final result was a *compromise* in which Britain abandoned all claims to some territory in order to have Venezuela do the same.

      And whatever motives Prevost had for writing what he did are mostly irrelevant to the factual merits of their case; people lie all the time. Even when those lies are detrimental to themselves. One can generate plenty of reasons why Prevost would t make false claims in his Memo, and one can also generate many reasons why he would tell the truth so long after.

      But one thing one *CANNOT* do is make the letter more credible when it was so obviously timed to avoid being confronted by the people in the best position to do it. Prevost’s fellow arbitrators.

      Maybe he did it so long to spare them from the shame while they lived; or maybe he did it to spare himself from being confronted by denials.

      It matters less than the rest.

  14. Bill, I agree with everything you say. Although once knowledgeable about the Essequibo issue, having studied/written on it in school, and not being so knowledgeable now except by memory, I do remember my /others’ conclusion that Venezuela was probably robbed, to greater or lesser extent, by the original Arbitration. Agree with Turtler that any sound Venezuelan challenge must be facts-based, that Chavismo is not capable of same, and any serious challenge will be pushing water uphill. Agree with you that Chavismo’s support of its Essequibo claim is simply a salute to the flag, that nothing serious will come of it either militarily or diplomatically, and that Caricom OAS support of the Regime is more important to it than Venezuela’s Essequibo claim (opposed by Caricom). Agree with Turtler that politically the opinion/support of the sparse Essequibo inhabitants is important/key, but, here, Venezuela has done an abysmal job, pre-/post-Chavez, as the small number of physical inhabitants in the Essequibo Region are overwhelmingly British Guiana citizens–after all, “Venezuela was (“is”) rich with oil/diamonds/gold, who needs that mosquito-infested jungle called Essequibo?”–i.e., until oil was discovered offshore, who knows how much more oil/mineral wealth on-shore?

    • @NET. “Bill, I agree with everything you say.”

      I can’t, as I’ve tried to detail in length above.

      ” Although once knowledgeable about the Essequibo issue, having studied/written on it in school, and not being so knowledgeable now except by memory, ”

      Fair enough.

      “I do remember my /others’ conclusion that Venezuela was probably robbed, to greater or lesser extent, by the original Arbitration. ”

      Well, I am more cautious. In large part because the most dynamite claims for that- like the Pervost letter- are also so unsubstantiated and uncorroborated. And in the case of Prevost’s letter was intentionally so; being timed so that not only could he not be confronted by his contemporaries, but that he wouldn’t be available for questioning by his inheritors.

      Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that Britain flexed its muscles during the negotiations to get a better deal. And that the British members on the panel displayed a bias towards them. But I don’t think that amounts to meaning that the resolution was *theft.*

      Because bluntly, that’s what statescraft often involves, particularly during the time. And why the arbitration committee was structured like it did, to have competing biases offset each other (including Prevost’s probable pro-Venezuelan one).

      Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that some of the wheeling and diplomatic posturing would be viewed as wrong or even criminal today. But it wasn’t at the time. And Venezuela’s own governments had no such qualms about doing so themselves. Heck, Cipriano Castro played that role time and again during his own Presidency (and ultimately failed after bluffing too hard with the Dutch while domestic discontent riled up).

      “Agree with Turtler that any sound Venezuelan challenge must be facts-based, ”

      Depends on the kinds of facts we’re being pushed. Because frankly I don’t think the historical factual record is that helpful to Venezuela’s case. At least on net.

      But the historical record can change, and it can continue. Just because I don’t view the grounds for viewing the arbitration agreement as corrupt are weak doesn’t mean I cannot imagine any justifiable change taking place later.

      “that Chavismo is not capable of same, ”

      Indeed.

      “and any serious challenge will be pushing water uphill. ”

      Yeah.

      “Agree with you that Chavismo’s support of its Essequibo claim is simply a salute to the flag, that nothing serious will come of it either militarily or diplomatically, and that Caricom OAS support of the Regime is more important to it than Venezuela’s Essequibo claim (opposed by Caricom). ”

      Agreed on the latter parts.

      But I’m not sure it is *simply* a salute to the flag.

      I agree that is its main purpose, but I also think that they could happily lobby for attacks.

      “Agree with Turtler that politically the opinion/support of the sparse Essequibo inhabitants is important/key, but, here, Venezuela has done an abysmal job, pre-/post-Chavez, as the small number of physical inhabitants in the Essequibo Region are overwhelmingly British Guiana citizens–after all, “Venezuela was (“is”) rich with oil/diamonds/gold, who needs that mosquito-infested jungle called Essequibo?”–i.e., until oil was discovered offshore, who knows how much more oil/mineral wealth on-shore?”

      Indeed.

      Also the fact that of those locals, how many would be willing to jump onboad with Venezuela? Similar to the Kelpers and Argentina, or Abkhazians and Georgia. I get the feeling that the cultural and economic leanings are pretty strong.

      That certainly can change. Particularly if and when Venezuela hauls itself out of tyranny. But we have to look at what the situation offers now.

  15. Caricom supports Guyana on the issue of El Essequibo
    July 9, 2018

    Betsy Alvarado V. / July 9, 2018.- The 15 countries that make up the Caribbean Community (Caricom) reiterated their support for the Government of Guyana in its fight against Venezuela for the Essequibo territory.

    “The Heads of Government reiterated their firm and unwavering support for the maintenance and preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana,” the organization said in a statement on the summary of the agreements that emerged during the 39th Ordinary Meeting of Heads of State of the Caricom that was carried out in Montego Bay, Jamaica…

    http://www.noticierodigital.com/2018/07/caricom-reitera-apoyo-guyana-disputa-venezuela-esequibo/

    Do yourselves a HUGE favor and let it go. Get over it and move on. It hasn’t been Venezuela’s possession for over 100 years, and getting your undies in a twist over it isn’t worth it. Venezuela doesn’t need to fuck up its situation anymore than it already is by going full tilt into a land grab. And I can imagine there isn’t a Guyanese type who wants anything to do with Venezuela governing them.

    Liberia
    Philipines
    Corn Islands
    Panama Canal Zone
    Cuba
    DR/Haiti
    Phoenix Islands

    Formerly “US territories”.

    You win some. You lose some. And all of this outrage about “backroom double dealing” between Russia and England. IS THERE ANYONE SURPRISED BY THAT? REALLY? When HASN’T there been backroom double dealing in politics?

  16. Guyana has to take in account that it also has a border dispute with Suriname.
    The way Guyana has acted in that case contradicts the so called good behaviour or rights which Guyana claim to have .Iam talking about the Corantijn river dispute not the maritime which has already been settled.

  17. amazing the ink (ok, time) spent relitigating ad nausem a mosquito infested swamp that may provide a small poor country access to offshore oil reserves.. not even argued by “oppressed” country for nearly 100 years (take ball, go home.. ) who claims to have the largest oil reserves in the world that has devolved into a cesspool of drugs, crime, corruption, death and starvation. Sr Bass, are there not bigger issues to resolve other than petty pride over a piece of land that 99.99% of venezuelan have never seen, or will ever see, so that the corruptos can turn into another cesspool? I’ve researched in past, pissed off the wife because she and others can never get over it.. but this certainly turned into another CC content with lots of comments, while nothing changes in Venezuela.. just more shit, and misery and death, or emigration.

      • @Gringo 2 “Btw, can we add another star to the flag in protest over stealing of the esquibo?”

        A: You’re going to have a hell of a challenge proving that Esquibo was “stolen.”

        Bill Bass has been writing about this for paragraphs and hasn’t been able to wrap his head around a definition for “Smoking Gun”, let alone the idea that somebody writing half a century after the fact without primary source evidence might be wrong.

        You might do better- I can certainly believe it’s possible- but it isn’t a walk in the park.

        But moving on.

        B: You certainly can add another star to the flag. But I wouldn’t advise it.

        Because in addition to how doubtful claims that Esquibo was stolen are, you’re going to have to keep in mind that would be a solid side of expansionist intent. And it would likely lead to some pretty chilly reception from other countries.

    • @Another PO Gringo ” amazing the ink (ok, time) spent relitigating ad nausem a mosquito infested swamp that may provide a small poor country access to offshore oil reserves.. not even argued by “oppressed” country for nearly 100 years (take ball, go home.. ) who claims to have the largest oil reserves in the world that has devolved into a cesspool of drugs, crime, corruption, death and starvation.”

      Indeed.

      That’s why I go back to what .NET and I said. Priorities. Any future legal Venezuelan acquisition of Esquibo has to be WELL down the road, after Chavismo is destoryed.

      ” Sr Bass, are there not bigger issues to resolve other than petty pride over a piece of land that 99.99% of venezuelan have never seen, or will ever see, so that the corruptos can turn into another cesspool?”

      sorry, but I have to play Devil’s Advocate.

      As one of my latest comments shows, I have VERY little reason to feel good will towards Bill Bass or his intellectually dishonest, projecting arse.

      But I actually care about the truth and seeking it, and that comes even at the expense of badmouthing him.

      So I don’t think Bill Bass ever argued that there WEREN’T bigger issues to resolve than Esquibo. After all this is the first set of comments I’ve seen that even cover it.

      It’s just that he asserts that it is still an issue that should be addressed. And I think that is fair.

      I find the certainty and confidence he has to be quite delusional and ill-informed, and I certainly think Venezuela does not have NEARLY as strong a case as he thinks, but it is an issue nonetheless and one he correctly pointed out predates Chavez by a lot. It is safe to assume it will postdate Chavismo by a fair bit.

      “I’ve researched in past, pissed off the wife because she and others can never get over it.. but this certainly turned into another CC content with lots of comments,”

      Indeed. And that’s something I noticed.

      Bill Bass holds onto the “evidence” he cites like a drunk man holds onto a lamp post.

      He uses it for support, not illumination.

      It doesn’t matter that Prevost didn’t provide any irrefutable proof or even primary source documentation along with his Memo to indicate it.

      It doesn’t matter that the timing of the Memo was so damn suspicious and disreputable.

      It doesn’t matter that he apparently sat on it all this time- bypassing several other timely cases to bring it out (Like the Cipriano Castro crises, where evidence of such an Anglo-Russian deal could have helped divide the British from the Germans and Italians), until everybody involved was dead and no longer able to contest what it said. Himself included.

      It doesn’t matter that it is not a “smoking gun” and is in fact diametrically opposed to it.

      Dammit, Prevost is SO KOO and LOGIC, so dragging Guyana and the South American community into a big international lawsuit must be justified.

      ” while nothing changes in Venezuela.. just more shit, and misery and death, or emigration.”

      Indeed.

      Well, one can’t dedicate all one’s focus to that. But it is still disappointing.

  18. Britain published maps or ordered them published before they laid claim to the mouths of the orinoco ,these maps were later found , they show that britain itself changed the boundaries in these maps progressively , each time extending the border closer to the orinoco basin , so apparently they initially believed the boundary was closer to the esequivo rivers and each time they published a new map the territory under their control got bigger and bigger ……..this is just one instance where britains bad faith can be demonstrated ……the letter is the smoking gun , a guy like prevost was not going to perjure himself by writing a letter which is pure invention , his reputation up until this time was uninpeachable and it doenst seem logical that he would in life admit to being involved in something so unsavory as what the letter described……..Chavez wasnt interested in this claim which foundations were layed long before he came to power , Personally as a kid I knew a professional diplomat historian and men of letters by the name of
    Armando Rojas who was as respectable and intellectually sober as they get , not one bit the emotional patriotic gadfly and he was of the opinion that speaking responsibly there was proof that made the british conduct in the arbitration was such that it should be overturned . I remember reading one of his books and it was by no means something deserving of contempt……..assuming that just because people like him were venezuelans they would agree to some made up nonsense is a form of covert racism !!

    • @Bill Bass “
      Britain published maps or ordered them published before they laid claim to the mouths of the orinoco ”

      Which is COMPLETELY friggin’ routine and uncontroversial.

      If you want to lay claim to some given territory or think it is yours, you’re going to ask your cartographers (the ones You Employ as state servants to reflect what you want) to make maps reflecting those claims. It is a normal practice for going about the business, especially in this area.

      And something Venezuela did too.

      But let’s move on to what you wrote next.

      “these maps were later found , they show that britain itself changed the boundaries in these maps progressively , each time extending the border closer to the orinoco basin , so apparently they initially believed the boundary was closer to the esequivo rivers and each time they published a new map the territory under their control got bigger and bigger ……”

      Which is again, NOT very freaking shocking or remarkable. Even if it is controversial and playing diplomatic hardball.

      Firstly because a large chunk of international law during this time was occuptation. That is if you had your dudes there actually doing something with it.

      For vast swathes of this territory the answer was clearly “no, they did not.” But that was why during this time the British were sending pathfinders and settlers into the disputed area to try and lay claim to it; some of them got tossed back when they pushed into Venezuelan territory as you may well know.

      But it isn’t surprising that once you’ve got some territory under control or settled (even if we use such terms GENEROUSLY because this is still Esquibo) you can then go out and try to settle more. And thereby expand your claim.

      And secondly, this was also likely a negotiating tactic in and of itself, with the British scrambling to claim or put people on as much of the place as possible. Why? To provide ground to burn in negotiations.

      So that they could then present an extreme position they would let themselves be negotiated down from in arbitration. In exchange for concessions.

      That May be a bit scummy when you have your scouts and surveyors barging into territory actually controlled by someone else as the British ultimately did only to get pushed back by a certain Venezuelan general. But it points to Britain trying to prepare the ground for arbitration rather than corrupting the actual arbitration.

      “his is just one instance where britains bad faith can be demonstrated ..”

      Sorry Bill Bass, but get off your high horse.

      Because what you’re specifically citing Here is not really a sign of bad faith. Particularly for the period of time.

      It might get into bad faith when you literally have people trundling through territory already opened by the other side, which the British did at the far end of this range. But by itself it was not.

      It was negotiations as usual. It was the equivalent of the US government under Polk shouting “54-40 OR FIGHT!” Very loudly only to then negotiate down to the current border.

      And the fact that you are trying to classify all of this as bad faith tells me that….

      A: You seem to be letting your national biases get the better of you, and

      B: You should probably research the era and its diplomacy more. Check out near contemporary events like the Congress of Berlin and the Danube River Commission to see some of what was normal during this period, some of what wasn’t, and what was viewed as above ground or wrong.

      “the letter is the smoking gun , ”

      No, IT IS NOT!!!!!! Eve nif its claims are true, the letter itself is UNSUBSTANTIATED HEARSAY made long after the fact, when nobody else was alive to provide another “He said” to Prevost’s own.

      Furthermore, it is an evidenciary Isolate.

      That is, it is the ONLY piece of evidence we have indicating the story Prevost said. We have plenty more indication of British bias, but none that this was a massive

      Which was Contradicted by the accounts of the only other commissioner to actually give a comment on the matter MUCH closer to the time. And who painted a much different picture of a lot of conflicting opinions slowly being argued into a consensus. Or in other words, a “more or less normal arbitration process.”

      And again, crucially, Prevost didn’t have have the balls to confront his colleagues with it while they lived.

      Heck, he wasn’t even willing to confront the public with his claim. Which is why he timed the memo to be released after he was safely dead and thus unavailable for either comment or challenge.

      Which is a MASSIVE hit to its credibility.

      You’re grasping, Bill.

      “a guy like prevost was not going to perjure himself by -“

      I’m going to stop you there.

      Because are you a psychic?

      Are you a medium that has spoken to his ghost?

      No?

      Then you don’t know and cannot make this claim.

      Better people have acted far more dishonestly. That doesn’t mean Prevost’s letter is a lie, but it certainly means it is possible.

      And when taken in its context I think it is quite likely.

      “his reputation up until this time was uninpeachable -”

      Yeah, it was. And is.

      Because he was a lawyer of great repute. Why? Because he kept to the tenents of American common and the budding international law.

      Tenents like the idea that an accused party has the right to confront those that accuse them in a court of law.

      That the law is not just about WHAT you know, but also *how you can prove* you know it.

      That extraordinary charges require extraordinary evidence.

      That justice delayed is justice denied (of particular importance to the Esquibo matter).

      And that of innocent before proven guilty.

      And if you pay attention, NONE Of these tenents were respected by the Mallet-Prevost letter. There is NO interpretation of events that makes Mallet-Prevost’s conduct in this letter look good.

      Let’s think this through together.

      If the M-P Memo’s claims are false, it means that Prevost dishonestly slandered the reputation of a lot of people who couldn’t fight back. Very simple.

      BUT if the M-P Memo’s claims are TRUE, it means that M-P spent decades *Not telling anybody in the public*, sitting on what he knew, and only dropping the knowledge in a posthumous testimony that he HAD TO HAVE KNOWN contained nothing in the way of supporting sources or data by itself. And which he timed to release after his own death and that of everything else in the commission, denying the public the right to know what kinds of people they were dealing with and in fact waiting until much of the concerned public WAS DEAD.

      In what moral universe does this sound like an upstanding piece of conduct by someone who was speaking truth to power?

      In fact, I will go further. And say there was no good legal justification for why Prevost acted in the precise way he did. No matter what his mindset when he wrote this, he was not acting as the upstanding lawyer who wanted to reach justice and the truth (which he was for most of his career).

      That doesn’t mean the claims in the letter are *False.* But it DOES mean that they are *blindingly* suspect and in no way a smoking gun.

      “and it doenst seem logical that he would in life admit to being involved in something so unsavory as what the letter described…”

      Doesn’t seem logical why?

      If you actually read the memo, he mostly paints himself in a flattering light; trying to speak truth to power and engaged constantly in trying to do the best possible job for Venezuela and America. Including considering defiance to the inexplicable Anglo-Russian bargain only to concede in the interests of Venezuela getting its part of the territory.

      The Prevost memo unsurprisingly paints Prevost in a very flattering light all things considering and mostly accused OTHER, conveniently-long-dead-at-the-time-of-its-writing people of the mostly unsavory stuff. Without *any actual supporting evidence* in the memo like a copy of a letter or what have you to indicate what he’s saying is actually true.

      “Chavez wasnt interested in this claim -”

      He was willing to use it as a cheap play to the flag moment. Which is enough.

      “which foundations were layed long before he came to power ”

      Indeed, I am well aware of that. Nobody is saying otherwise.

      But an old claim based on what can only be called *dubious* grounds is still dubious.

      “Personally as a kid I knew a professional diplomat historian and men of letters by the name of Armando Rojas who was as respectable and intellectually sober as they get , not one bit the emotional patriotic gadfly and he was of the opinion that speaking responsibly there was proof that made the british conduct in the arbitration was such that it should be overturned . I remember reading one of his books and it was by no means something deserving of contempt……..”

      A very interesting case.

      And I’d be more than willing to read it. I confess my Spanish is horrible “muy malo”, but would you mind mentioning the titles of some of the relevant books?

      I’d be more than interested to check them out.

      “assuming that just because people like him were venezuelans they would agree to some made up nonsense is a form of covert racism !!”

      No, but it isn’t wrong to at least *consider* the possibility, even when it’s unlikely.

      Not because he’s a Venezuelan, but because he was a diplomat. And diplomats can and do lie on behalf of their cause, as the two emblematic diplomats (Talleyrand and Kissinger- people who are as white as the driven snow last I checked- were known for both their extraordinary skill and *rock bottom* moralities).

      What I’m getting at is that it’s an unlikely possibility, but it’s stilla possibility, even if it’s one to just be considered and dismissed in the face of evidence.

      But I digress. I do not think Senor Rojas is craven or dishonest as either Monsieur Talleyrand or Mr. Kissinger. And I certainly am willing to read through what he wrote, hence why I asked if you could tell me the names of some of his books.

      But you have to look at what you’ve claimed, from my perspective Bill Bass.

      I haven’t read any of Rojas’s works yet or his ideas. I literally do not know enough to know. So I cannot evaluate or judge them.

      What I do have are what you’ve claimed as proof for this conclusion. Which rest on two pillars.

      1. The Mallet-Prevost Memo. Which is *monumentally* flawed as evidence for reasons I’ve stated.

      and

      2. British maps displaying them claiming more and more of the disputed territory as time went on. Which is nothing really unusual or scandalous for diplomatic real estate disputes or trying to claim territory. Particularly not for the period in question.

      The former one cannot be taken as a smoking gun.It’s almost irrelevant in terms of whether it is true or not, because *even if it is true* you can’t Prove anything with it. And I think Prevost knew that damn well when he wrote that.

      And the latter just indicates the unsurprising. That Britain thought it was in the right and could claim this territory. Even if it was just to be negotiated down and concede some of it in exchange for perks during negotiation.

      Neither of the pieces of evidence you’ve claimed prove what you say they prove.

      Rojas’s evidence might. That’s why I’m so interested to see what he has to say.

      But that’s what he has to say. What you have to say doesn’t prove the arbitration was tainted or that Prevost was telling the truth.

      And that’s the kicker.

      Relying on Prevost to make the case means confronting the fact that the accuser has to prove their charges are true. Prevost *fails* to do that on every conceivable level.

      That’s the most important point regarding his memo.

  19. I have not read all of your texts , only enough to understand you are personally piqued at being shown to be blatantly wrong and will go to any lenghts ( and lenghty they are indeed) to try and use contorted arguments to deny the (to you) unpleasant truth that there are sound grounds for Venezuelas claim concerning the Esequivo and for queryng the validtity of the arbitral decision …..I am amazed at how far you are willing to go to reverse the natural logic of the events surrounding this dispute , your position defending the indefensible tells me that you are less interested in a logical interpretation of facts that in reaching a particular conclusion , from what I know of the law you appear to have decided on a view of the law which few jurist will defend . The brits are a great people , I least of all cannot afirm otherwise , but their behaviour during part of the XIX were those of unprincipled gangsters and bullies , they certainly did not act as gentlemen. there is a hollow ring to the whimsy arguments you propose to defend the justice of the arbitral decision , dont believe you yourself believe them except that you appear to be under the sway of some odd passion to jusitfy something that bears no rational defense nor justification . I suppose all men are entitled to a moment of folly…….this seemingly is yours…!!

    • @Bill Bass So this is what you’re reduced to?

      You can’t even define “smoking gun” correctly, but you insist on hurling insults at me?

      This dishonest, graceless comment has done more to lower my estimation of you than any other. And I will explain why to anybody who cares about it soon enough. But I will say this.

      Firstly: I asked politely if you were willing to provide some of the book titles by Professor Rojas. You refused to do so, so now I’ve had to start looking for them myself (and I think I’ve found one).

      But if you want even the slighest chance to redeem your preformance here, please give me some.

      And secondly: It’s bad enough to be a condescending prat. I would know, I often am one.

      But the least that can be expected is that if you’re going to be a condescending prat, you *justify your condescension.*

      YOU FAIL to do so.

      Now, onto the fisking.

      “I have not read all of your texts “,

      I should stop right there. because that shows how unequal we are. That you lack the intellectual honesty or the courtesy to read through what I write and answer honestly.

      I certainly have given both to you. In fact my style of commenting is based around doing so. But in addition to being graceless and dishonest, it’s also damn incompetent.

      If you don’t read everything I write, you will be underequipped to refute my arguments.

      “only enough to understand you are personally piqued at being shown to be blatantly wrong and will go to any lenghts -”

      Oh F8ck off, you projecting jagoff.

      You wanna lecture me about being blatantly wrong?

      You *ARE* blatantly wrong about the basic farqing definition of a smoking gun.

      This is a good definition and overview of “smoking gun.”

      https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/smokinggun.asp

      You were dumb and biased enough to write- AND I QUOTE-

      “the letter is the smoking gun , ”

      This is FALSE. It is false even if the accusations in the letter were 100% true.

      Why?

      Because the Prevost Memo is at best an eyewitness claim. One man’s unsubstantiated account of what happened.

      A smoking gun is substantiation. It is if anything being caught in the act of the crime.

      “The phrase “smoking gun” calls up the image of a killer holding a gun that has just been fired as he stands over the dead body. The origins of the phrase seem to date to the short story “The Gloria Scott,” which was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and featured Sherlock Holmes. In the story, Doyle states, “The chaplain stood with the smoking pistol in his hand.””

      “The phrase came into prominence in public conversation during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s. In June 1972, then-President Richard Nixon had a conversation….to cease investigating the Watergate break-in, coming up with various excuses to use for the order…. itrevealed that Nixon had himself been involved in the Watergate cover up and had obstructed justice.”

      The smoking gun in Doyle’s story was in the hands of someone standing over a corpse only seconds dead.

      The smoking gun in the Nixon tapes involved Nixon’s voice talking about how he could justify an illegal order.

      Proof positive.

      The Prevost memo was a claim Prevost made decades later, without supporting evidence. even if the claim Is true, it is by definition not a smoking gun, YOU IGNORANT JACKARSE!

      The best you’ve been able to do is ineffectually blather “BUH BUH PREVOST REPUTATION!”

      His reputation doesn’t matter. Even if he was an angelic seraph writing the unalloyed truth it would still not be a smoking gun; only an eyewitness account that MIGHT lead investigators to find a separate piece of evidence that is a smoking gun.

      “BU BUT PREVOST LOGICALLY WOULDN’T-”

      Don’t lecture me about what someone would or wouldn’t do logically, when you can’t even evaluate the classifications of evidence logically.

      And you want to claim *I’ve* been shown to be “blatantly wrong”? That’s you being shown to be blatantly wrong in that very sentence.

      You can’t even analyze basic legal terminology and you want to start an INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT!

      The only thing correct in this insultng, dishonest sentence of yours is that yeah, I’m personally piqued now.

      Not because I’ve been shown to be “blatantly wrong” though, because it’s obvious you LACK THE BASIC SKILLS TO DO SUCH A THING.

      But because you decided to get dishonest. You tried to get on your high horse when in fact it’s only a mule. You decided to turn what could have been a polite and scholarly debate- an exchange of knowledge- into an insult fest.

      Well, that is on you. And it is why you have Lost this debate.

      Rojas may have solid evidence to support your claims (that’s why I am still interested in checking up on him), but you sure as $hit don’t.

      “I am amazed at how far you are willing to go to reverse the natural logic of=”

      Again, JAGOFF:

      The Prevost Memo isn’t the Watergate tapes.

      It isn’t a live recording of the hours of what happened.

      It isn’t even a written record of the hours of what was said.

      It was a subjective, one man account *ALLEGING* things happened. Without any primary source evidence that could actually support those claims. And nothing you’ve said changes that.

      Go farq yourself.

      “your position defending the indefensible tells me that you are less interested in a logical interpretation of facts that in reaching a particular conclusion -”

      Stop projecting your own flaws onto me.

      YOU are the one who locked themselves int defending an indefensible interpretation of the Prevost memo and an indefensible definition of “Smoking Gun.”

      Thus showing that you don’t know much about interpreting legal or historical evidence, and more damningly Don’t Care.

      I say again; GO farq Your self.

      “from what I know of the law you appear to have decided on a view of the law which few jurist will defend .”

      And here we get to the problem.

      The problem, Dear Bill Bass, is that YOU DO NOT KNOW THAT MUCH OF THE LAW, NOW DO YOU?

      Forget 19th century diplomatic norms and budding international law, let’s talk about the basics.

      “Smoking Gun” is not a controversial term. Its definition is not controversial.

      And yet you apparently misused it. In an attempt to puff up one man’s written claims- offered without supporting evidence- decades after the fact into definitive proof of what happened.

      Now if you can’t get the basics right, why the *FUQ* should anybody care about your opinion of the law or your ability to analyze it?

      I for one do not claim jurists would take me or my novice analysis seriously. But * I don’t claim to.*

      You see Bill Bass, unlike you I try and remain humble and aware of my ignorance while trying to make it recede.

      That is why even when I’m wrong, I fall much more gracefully than you do.

      ” The brits are-”

      What the Brits are or aren’t isn’t relevant.

      What is relevant is what they did, or didn’t do. And more importantly: What EVIDENCE WE HAVE to show what they did or didn’t do.

      And I’ll say it again. I don’t know much about Rojas’s claims (because I haven’t read him).

      But the only pillars of argumentation you’ve put forth are

      A: The Prevost memo. which is NOWHERE NEAR As trustworthy or unquestioned as you want to pretend.

      and

      B: Internal documentation created by the British government that is EXACTLY what we would expect from a nation claiming territory and acting on those claims. Particularly when it comes to diplomatic manuevering before arbitration.

      Neither of the pieces of evidence you presented prove what you claim they do. B is unsurprising both today and especially then, and A is unsupported. Period.

      Even if what Prevost claimed is true, you’d need more evidence than just A and B to prove that the arbitration accord was corrupt. Evidence that YOU DID NOT PROVIDE WHEN I EXPRESSED INTEREST IN IT!

      So now in the interests of truth I HAVE TO GO DIGGING FOR IT MYSELF.

      And all of this stupid, overwrought, dramatic language is a FUTILE attempt to evade those inconvenient FACTS.

      And for that you may go Farq yourself.

      “but their behaviour during part of the XIX were those of unprincipled gangsters and bullies ,
      they certainly did not act as gentlemen. ”

      No.

      SOME of their behavior was that of unprincipled gangster bullies, some of it was that of gentlemen.

      The British were not a hive mind of uniform virtue or evil. Just across the Atlantic during this mucky arbitration they were burning down slaving ports.

      And this is where wider historical awareness helps. And the problem with your claims.

      You want to conflate Possibility with Certainty. That “The British CERTAINLY acted corruptly! Because Prevost’s memo indicates it’s POSSIBLE they did so.”

      Not gonna fly.

      Guilt doesn’t have to be determined beyond Any doubt, but it has to be done so beyond a reasonable one.

      And none of the pieces of evidence you have cited here clears that hurdle.

      So go farq yourself for pretending otherwise.

      “there is a hollow ring to the whimsy arguments you propose-”

      Oh this is RICH.

      This entire comment of yours is nothing BUT a hollow ring. And so is your “BUH BUH PREVOST WAS SO RESPECTED!” *proof.*

      Sound and fury signifying nothing.

      You smear me using extraordinary language while ignoring how you’re the one who was “blatantly wrong” about facts going all the way down to basic definitions of legal concept.

      While I’m the one going into an analysis of 19th century diplomatic norms and the various ways they sucked or functioned.

      I say again: Go farq your hypocritical, intellectually dishonest self.

      I’m the one operating from legal precedent and a knowledge of diplomatic history. You ain’t.

      Nothing against Rojas, he likely knows better than me. But you certainly aren’t even if he is.

      “dont believe you yourself believe them-”

      Again, projection.

      Contrary to what you think, I firmly believe everything I wrote.

      And what’s more, I can back up the vast majority of it.

      But you apparently can’t Conceive of it. Imagine a universe where Prevost’s letter was wrong.

      SO YOU FAIL.

      ” except that you appear to be under the sway of some odd passion to jusitfy something that bears no rational defense nor justification . I suppose all men are entitled to a moment of folly…….this seemingly is yours…!!”

      This is the perfect indictment and summary of your own conduct on this thread.

      And I trust anybody who reads our exchange with an honest eye can do so.

      I say again Bill Bass:

      STUDY BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR FOOT IN YOUR MOUTH.

      And if you want even the SLIGHEST chance to redeem your conduct here, please point me towards some of Professor Rojas’s books. And ruminate on how nothing in your last comment bore even a SLIGHT resemblance to a rational defense, attack ,or justification.

      It was just overwrought, passionate emotion. That is worth nothing.

      But until then, you can go Farq your ignorant, hypocritical self.

  20. Sr Bass is a veteran and respected poster on CC with clear and succinct commentary (avoiding paragraphs where possible). But I think he has a blind spot as do many venezuelans (country in tailspin and no one at the yoke, after 20 years.. really?). Why he would fight over el esquibo like a kids in a dumpster for tossed food? I don’t know. Pride, which is good to have at appropriate times?

    But you Sr turtler, new here, and why? Some good comments over recent months.. you blew 1mm’s bit wad, cut paste and repeat, on Sr Bass for what? Thanks for solving nothing.

    • @Gringo 2 For whatever our differences, I appreciate that in this comment you were respectful and balanced. So I will give you an honest reply.

      “But you Sr turtler, new here, and why? ”

      Not that new. i’ve been a lurker for years and have been commenting for months.

      Because I’m a foreign policy hawk and nut who hates tyrants. Like the Chavistas.

      “you blew 1mm’s bit wad, cut paste and repeat, on Sr Bass for what? ”

      I’ll tel you for what.

      For “Sr. Bass”’s Great ignorance and hubris.

      As well as the way he personally insulted me in a dishonest fashion, and- this is the key one- insulted everybody and anybody involved in the arbitration agreement but Prevost on the thinnest grounds.

      The last and first of them get me. Because I can tolerate jabs against me.

      I did it when Canucklehead compared me to Chomsky and you used “Turtler.”

      But what I cannot tolerate is blatant, incompetent distortion of history and the law or the smearing of the already dead.

      And that may seem odd to many people, but I am a history nut and I think historians have to be protective of the record and the dead. Precisely because they cannot talk themselvesz

      Which is why I find what Prevost did to be so manifestly cowardly and distasteful even if it were true. It would not be sufficient under cross examination and I think Prevost’s actions show that he knew it.

      So to claim it is a smoking gun is an insult common sense. Insulting me for refusing to roll over and abide by a falsehood is just ignorance.

      “Thanks for solving nothing.”

      I made the counterpoints, and so I solved the problem of BB’s claims going unchallenged.

      “Sr Bass is a veteran and respected poster on CC with clear and succinct commentary (avoiding paragraphs where possible). “

      I agree with all except for maybe the succinct. Though his conduct has certainly made me respect him a lot less than I did. Everybody’s ignorant of something, but ignorance mixed with arrogance and inflexibility are not attractive traits.

      “But I think he has a blind spot as do many venezuelans (country in tailspin and no one at the yoke, after 20 years.. really?).”

      Indeed, though to be fair I think it is a common problem. Love of home and those close to us drives a lot of us, and it has inspired people to do worse

      “Why he would fight over el esquibo like a kids in a dumpster for tossed food?”

      Well, he thinks Venezuela has a certain case. I think he greatly overestimates the solidness of that case, but that doesn’t Mean there is no case.

      And if you go in with the assumptions he makes, it is logical to keep Esquibo in the cards.

    • “and turdeler… you don’t get the “add a star” reference you are many years late to the debate.”

      Better than someone who doesn’t get the “reply to comment” function. And who resorts to cheap insults.

      But yeah, I confess I am late. Still better late than never.

  21. Turdeler, Did you count how many times you insulted Sr Bass? Wow.. tough day with or without your meds?

    just google 7 star vs 8 star Venezuelan flag.. this is a comparatively new chavez injury to Venezuelan history, that if you don’t understand, I have no idea how you wrote pages of BS re: esquibo. Glad to help bring you up to speed.

    • @Gringo 2 “Turdeler, Did you count how many times you insulted Sr Bass? ”

      I didn’t bother to take a full numbered count, but I certainly did account for it.

      And I stand by it. Completely.

      You see, if someone is going to be a condescending prick, the very least anybody can ask is that your condescension be warranted.

      Senior Bass’s was not. And it showed.

      He not only decided to insult me in spite of having much inferior understanding of the law and diplomatic mores, he insulted several people who were dead on inadequate grounds.

      Hence why I stand by what I said.

      Civility is a two way street, and Sr Bass was the one who stepped off it.

      “Wow.. tough day with or without your meds?”

      No, not an inordinately tough day. And I don’t have meds.

      Your point?

      “just google 7 star vs 8 star Venezuelan flag.. “

      Yeah, I remember.

      I was in re-enactment, and while I never did the South American revolutions I know people who did.

      I remember a group of people buggered up the flag with 8 stars for a battle meant to take place in 1808
      And they had to redo it.

      “this is a comparatively new chavez injury to Venezuelan history,”

      True, but while the Bolívar Star only dates back to 2006 the rationale behind it is much older.

      Bolívar himself advocated an eight star to represent Guayana after he drove the realistas out. But it was later scrapped because it was not one of the original signatories to Venezuelan independence. So Chávez brought it back but for Bolivar.

      “that if you don’t understand, I have no idea how you wrote pages of BS re: esquibo. Glad to help bring you up to speed.”

      Firstly: if you’re going to allege I wrote BS regarding Esquibo, you had better be willing to prove it is BS. That is false.

      And secondly, I am not surprised you have no idea.

      Bluntly, you don’t seem to be the kind of person who has a lot of ideas.

      After all, of all the insults and posturing you could push, you settled on the least imaginative one given my user name.

      Like is it that hard to rent an imagination?

  22. “The Venezuelan claim of the nullity of the 1899 ruling has been acknowledged by several foreign scholars and jurists, such as J. Gillis Wetter of Sweden, in his work The International Arbitral Process (1979), awarded by the American Society of International Law. By searching on the British official archives, Wetter provided further evidence of the shady deal between Britain and Russia, what made him conclude that the ruling was marred by serious procedural and substantive defects, evidence that it was more a political compromise than a court ruling. Uruguayan jurist Eduardo Jiménez de Aréchaga, former President of the International Court of Justice, came to similar conclusions.”

    • Indeed, and I was willing to concede the possibility that it was so.

      The problem is when people insist that it is beyond possibility and is Certainty, ESPECIALLY on the basis of the terminally flawed metrics Bill Bass used. Namely the maps, correspondence, and particularly the Mallet-Prevost memo.

      Which Bill Bass was stupid enough to argue was a smoking gun (while ignoring what that meant) and absolutely had to be trusted. In spite of it contradicting Prevost’s own former accounts as he told to others years earlier.

      It would not be the first arbitration agreement that was corrupted and it certainly would not be the last. (Though on the subject of it being more of a political bargain than a judicial ruling, color name skeptical since political sensitivities always mingled with judicial issues in arbitration. Not always while corrupting them).

      The issue I see is where we go from here.

      Even IF we assumed that the arbitration agreement was finalized by a corrupt fashion, the fact is that it was accepted by all sides and has been in force for more than a century. Does anybody here think Venezuela is willing to open the door to possible Guyanese claiming of the territory it had recognized as its own?

      Does anybody think the Guyanese in Esquibo Are interested in going over to Venezuela?

      Popular sovereignty and self determination. The chances of this amounting to much are almost nil.

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