Cuba: It is essential to defend the unity of CELAC

Source:  Granma
January 28 2016

4th celac summit ecuador.jpg

Full text of speech by Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, first vice president of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, at the IV Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), held in Quito, Ecuador, January 27

(Council of State transcript / GI translation)

Dear President Rafael Correa;
Heads of State and Government;
Heads of delegations and guests:

Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez 2.jpgJust over four years ago, when Our America commemorated the bicentenary of its independence struggles, the 33 states of the region came together for the first time, with a common aim.

Miguel Díaz-Canel, First Vice President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers. Photo: TELESUR

Since then it has been demonstrated, just as President Raúl Castro Ruz stated in his speech to the National Assembly of People’s Power of the Republic of Cuba last December 29, that “it is essential to defend the unity of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as an indispensable, legitimate, unitary mechanism of political agreement and integration…”

The Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace

In recent years, the challenges and dangers facing Latin America and the Caribbean have multiplied, due to an increasingly complex and unstable international political and economic situation. As such, working together in unity, while respecting our diversity and our differences, constitutes an indisputable necessity.

To this end, the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, officially signed in Havana on January 29, 2014, commits us to respect the inalienable right of every state to choose its own political, economic, social and cultural system; to peacefully resolve our differences, and not to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of other states.

A problem to solve among ourselves

Latin America and the Caribbean remains the most unequal region in the world in terms of wealth distribution. Current statistics, despite the questionable concepts on which they are based, demonstrate that 397 million of our citizens, or 63%, are immersed in a state of vulnerability and poverty, a figure that could increase, given the adverse international economic conditions.

That a single Latin American or Caribbean go hungry, or not know how to read and write, or be plunged into poverty, is a concern for all, which we must resolve together.

That in Latin America and the Caribbean differences proliferate, and we are unable to solve them by means of dialogue; or we are intolerant of the diversity of political, economic and social systems; or indifferent to the very particular problems of small island countries in our region, is also a problem to solve among ourselves.

Cuba believes in cooperation, solidarity and the need for collective action

Cuba believes in cooperation, solidarity and the need for collective action, beyond egotism and intransigence. We have in CELAC the principles and mechanisms to achieve this.

We enjoy, among the achievements of this Community, instruments to define common positions in extra-regional relations, in compliance with the tenets of the Proclamation (of a Zone of Peace), which all states are urged to fully respect in their relations with our countries.

In this spirit, we are profoundly grateful for the solidarity of our brothers and sisters in Latin America and the Caribbean regarding the demand for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. government against Cuba, which remains intact despite the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries; the support for the territory illegally occupied for over a century by the naval base of the United States in the Cuban province of Guantánamo to be returned to our people; and support for legal, orderly, safe migration in our region and an end to policies such as the wet foot-dry foot” policy, which encroach on the human rights of migrants and create many difficulties for countries in our region, particularly transit countries.

Our strongest support to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

In the same vein of solidarity, we reiterate our strongest support to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the victim of a complicated international economic situation, aggravated by prolonged economic, media and psychological warfare, and numerous destabilizing acts encouraged and supported from abroad. We demand the repeal of the Executive Order of President Obama, declaring Venezuela a threat to U.S. national security, and the elimination of the sanctions applied on this basis to Venezuelan citizens. We reiterate that the Venezuelan government and people deserve the broadest regional and international solidarity.

Progress made in the peace talks between the government of Colombia and the FARC-EP

We note the progress made in the peace talks between the government of Colombia and the FARC-EP, which are closer than ever to ending the conflict that has afflicted the country for over half a century. Cuba, as guarantor and host nation, will continue contributing to these efforts.

Our support for the people of Puerto Rico in the search for self-determination and independence remains invariable, as reiterated by CELAC.

We support the efforts of the Argentine Republic to recover the legitimately Argentine territories of the Islas Malvinas, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

We continue to accompany the Republic of Ecuador in its demands on transnational corporations who refuse to recognize and correct the serious ecological damage done in the Amazon, and the government of the Citizens’ Revolution against destabilizing attempts.

Solidarity and support to President Dilma Rousseff

We also extend our solidarity and support to President Dilma Rousseff and the brotherly people of Brazil in the battle being waged to defend the social and political gains of the last 13 years.

We stand in solidarity with the countries of the Caribbean in their great efforts to address the effects of climate change; we reject the unfair policies of international financial institutions which prevent their access to financial resources due to their Gross Domestic Product, and we support their demands for reparations for the damages of slavery and colonialism.

José Martí

Tomorrow, January 28, the 163rd anniversary of the birth of Cuba’s national hero, José Martí, author of the political essay “Our America”, which constitutes a fundamental contribution to the ideals of the continental, anti-colonial and anti-imperialist unity of our peoples, will be commemorated. With his foresight, Martí called on us to implant the world in our republics, but noted that the trunk must be that of our republics.

Tonight, young Cubans, in tribute to Martí, will march with their torches held high from the University of Havana to the site where he suffered imprisonment and forced labor; this is a tradition dating back 63 years, in which many of our heads of state and government participated, on the occasion of the Second CELAC Summit, held in Havana two years ago.

The Republic of Ecuador and its President Rafael Correa

Allow me, finally, to congratulate the Republic of Ecuador and its President Rafael Correa for their efforts in leading CELAC, and thank the Ecuadorian people for welcoming us so warmly to their country.

We pledge our support to the Dominican Republic and President Danilo Medina during their period leading the pro tempore presidency of CELAC that commences now.

Thank you (Applause).

Related information

 

Ecuador’s Rafael Correa: CELAC Should Replace OAS

Source: TeleSUR
January 20 2016

rafael correa in Macas.pngEcuadorean President Rafael Correa greets citizens in Macas, Ecuador, during a visit on Jan. 19, 2016. | Photo: Presidency of Ecuador

The Ecuadorean president argued that forcing Latin American countries to travel to Washington to settle disputes is an outdated model for the region.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said Wednesday that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, known as CELAC, should replace the Organization of American States as the regional integration mechanism for Latin America.

“Our perspective is that we hope that CELAC replace the OAS very soon,” said Correa during a press conference in the Presidential Palace in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito.

Correa reiterated his opinion that it is not appropriate that Latin American and Caribbean states have to travel to the OAS headquarters in Washington, instead of being able to settle disputes on their own turf.

IN DEPTH: CELAC: Building Regional Unity

The resurgence of right-wing politics

Correa also warned that the resurgence of right-wing politics in the region threatens to undermine the integration progress made in recent years.

“Experience has shown that beyond the ideological orientation of the government, integration is a common denominator,” said Correa, adding that the regional fight against poverty must continue to be a CELAC priority despite ideological differences between its members.

The president’s comments come ahead of the annual CELAC Summit, to be hosted in Ecuador next week at the UNASUR headquarters north of Quito.

Correa also announced plans to urge CELAC to support a U.N. initiative aimed at holding transnational corporations accountable for human rights abuses.

The proposed mechanism would be similar to the Hague International Court of Justice and act as a counterweight to the World Back investor-state arbitration that allows corporations to sue countries over policies that infringe on their future profits.

CELAC was founded in 2010 and is made up of 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Unlike the OAS, which was founded in 1948, CELAC does not include the U.S. and Canada.

CELAC’s Main Bodies

Source:  Granma
January 25 2016

CEALC Summits are authorized to define the organization’s political direction and establish guidelines, along with priorities and action plans to accomplish objectives

Authors: Iramsy Peraza Forte | informacion@granma.cuLinet Perera Negrin | linetp@granma.cu;   Iramsy Peraza Forte | internet@granma.cu

Photo: Granma

Summits of Heads of State and Government

CELAC 2 SUmmit.jpg

These gatherings constitute the highest level of the Community, and are authorized to designate the site of the next Summit, which is to be in the country serving as president pro tempore; define political directives and guidelines, along with the establishment of priorities and action plans to accomplish CELAC objectives; and adopt strategies for relations with third countries, and international, regional and sub-regional organizations and forums, among other responsibilities.

Meetings of Foreign Ministers

These occur twice a year and are devoted to adopting resolutions and making statements on issues of regional or international interest to member countries.

Pro Tempore Presidency

This responsibility is exercised by a member country for a period of one year, and involves preparing, convoking, and presiding the annual Summit, meetings of Foreign Ministers, and those of national coordinators, as well as meetings of regional and sub-regional mechanisms of integration.

Special Meetings

Addressed during these gatherings are topics of mutual interest, identified as priorities for the promotion of regional unity, integration and cooperation. Such meetings are called by the pro tempore president, in accordance with the organization’s two-year work plan.

Meetings of National Coordinators

Member states are linked to the presidency via national coordinators, who are responsible for coordination and follow-up on issues under discussion. On the national level, the coordinator takes charge of addressing the issues of regional unity, dialogue and concerted political action in the interest of advancing CELAC’s agenda.

CELAC Quartet

celac quartet granma.jpgPhoto: Granma

Also known as the expanded troika, this leadership body includes the member country serving as president pro tempore, in addition to the country which held this position the previous year, and that scheduled to do so next, plus a representative from the Caribbean Community (Caricom).

The incoming Quartet will be composed of the Dominican Republic, which will assume CELAC’s presidency pro tempore after the Quito Summit; Ecuador; Bolivia; and Belize, current Caricom president pro tempore.

January 27: 4th CELAC Summit in Ecuador

Source:  Granma
January 22 2016

by Iramsy Peraza Forte | informacion@granma.cu;  Linet Perera Negrin | linetp@granma.cu

Among the principal objectives of the upcoming Summit in Quito, where the Dominican Republic will assume leadership for 2016, is putting into action proposals made by the government of Rafael Correa on the elimination of poverty and reducing inequality.

celac 4th summit logoCELAC represents the united vanguard of integration in Our America.

The 4th Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) will take place January 27 in Quito, Ecuador, where the organization’s 33 member nations will have the opportunity to reaffirm the objectives which unite them.

Over the organization’s first four years, our peoples have made important progress, having achieved the establishment of such an entity to confront the region’s challenges together.

During 2015, with Ecuador serving as pro tempore president, the Community’s agenda has included issues related to family framing, and approval of the 2025 Food Security, Nutrition and Eradication of Hunger Plan.

Poverty and inequality

Among the principal objectives of the upcoming Summit in Quito, where the Dominican Republic will assume leadership for 2016, is putting into action proposals made by the government of Rafael Correa on the elimination of poverty and reducing inequality.

CELAC relations with China, the European Union, and other regional blocs will also be discussed.

Integration

In accordance with the organization’s foundational charter, CELAC seeks to deepen economic, social and cultural integration within the region, based on full respect for democracy and respect for human rights.

Prioritized is further development of political dialogue among member states, based on agreement, shared values and principles.

The organization is intent upon becoming a stronger platform for political agreement and consolidating its position internationally, which can be translated into rapid, effective action to promote Latin American and Caribbean interests with respect to issues on the global agenda.

Source:  A region committed to its common destiny  Granma

Venezuela: Destabilization continues – violent looting leaves one dead

August 1 2015
by JSC

Governor of Bolivar state Francisco Rangel explained that the looting was politically motivated

Governor of Bolivar state Francisco Rangel explained that the looting was politically motivated

Efforts to undermine the government of the democratically elected president Nicolas Maduro continued in Venezuela on Friday (July 31) in Bolivar state with the looting of a supermarket warehouse and other shops in the south-eastern city of Ciudad Guayana.  A fruit and vegetable worker died near the violence as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest, local media reported.

For some time now Latin American leaders have expressed their concern over the clear destabilization activities in Venezuela which came to a head early last year when right-wing violence captured some sections of the country and their actions given sensational and misleading publicity in the mainstream US press.

Regional blocs like ALBA and CELAC have condemned the Chile-style onslaught on Venezuela (and now Ecuador) expressing the desire to maintain the Havana, CELAC declaration which stated: “We declare Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace based on respect for the principles and rules of International Law, including the international instruments to which Member States are a party to, the Principles and Purposes of the United Nations Charter”.

Raul:  Solidarity with President Maduro in the face of destabilization

On July 15,  in his address at the closure of the National Assembly of People’s Power Eighth Legislature’s Fifth Period of Ordinary Sessions, Cuban President Raul Castro stated “I must reiterate our solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution and the government headed by President Nicolás Maduro, in the face of destabilization attempts and any act of external intervention. We were pleased to learn of the results of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s primary elections, while we are carefully following the dialogue underway between this country and the United States.”

Raul:  We notice an imperialistic and oligarchic offensive

“We denounce the destabilization campaigns against the government of President Rafael Correa and the Citizen’s Revolution in Ecuador, to which we confirm Cuba’s solidarity . . . We notice that an imperialist and oligarchic offensive has been put into practice against Latin American revolutionary and progressive processes, which will be decisively confronted by our peoples.”

The record of the Chavista government in its effort to rid the country of poverty, to significantly reduce inequality and generally to improve the quality of life of the poor is commendable.

Venezuela:  A remarkable reduction in poverty

According to Harvard Review of Latin America “Venezuela has seen a remarkable reduction in poverty since the first quarter of 2003. In the ensuing four years, from 2003 to 2007, the poverty rate was cut in half, from 54 percent of households to 27.5 percent. This is measured from the first half of 2003 to the first half of 2007. … Extreme poverty fell even more, by 70 percent—from 25.1 percent of households to 7.6 percent.

These poverty rates measure only cash income; … they do not include non-cash benefits to the poor such as access to health care or education.”

More recently, UN statistics showed that in 2012 Latin America led the world in poverty reduction and Venezuela led the region in this commendable achievement.  And in March 2015, Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), praised Venezuela for its efforts to eradicate poverty in the country. “What you are doing here, the concept of going out into the (low-income) neighborhoods, to the places where there is the most poverty, it is an excellent proposal that should be examined by other countries,” said Barcena.

UN praises Venezuela’s accomplishments in gender equality

Venezuela’s accomplishments under the Chavistas are not limited to poverty reduction.  At the 59th United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Geneva, Switzerland, chairperson Nicole Ameline praised Venezuela’s efforts and success in increasing gender equality.

According to 2013 data, 48 percent of positions employed by the Venezuelan state are currently occupied by women. Comparatively, only 16 percent of public office positions in the United States are held by women.

In addition, 55 percent of grassroots government, such as communes and communal councils, is led by women.

Among the presidential councils, a unique representational mechanism, 486 women’s organizations actively participate nationwide.

Over 675,000 houses handed over to the poor in the last four years in Venezuela

In Venezuela education and health is free for all citizens and, up to February 2015, the Venezuelan government had built and handed out 675,991 homes in the last four years, in the Great Venezuelan Housing Mission.

This Mission (GMVV) began in 2010 under the leadership of former President Hugo Chavez to provide homes for families affected and displaced by landslides from heavy rains. Since its introduction, the program expanded to resolve Venezuela’s housing deficit.

Through the program, families are provided with the houses – equipped with all appliances and furniture – and the titles to the property, free of cost.

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela keeps winning at the polls

Despite all this; in fact, because of all this development for the poor, there are those who would like to reverse the process started by Hugo Chavez.  However, they have not been able to do so through the ballot as the ruling party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, has consistently won national elections since Chavez became President.  In addition, they cannot claim that elections were rigged as, according to past US president Carter: “As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world” said Carter.

Having failed consistently to remove the socialist government from office through elections, the local oligarchy, backed by imperialism, has resorted to destabilizing the country.  One form of destabilization which, among others, was successfully used in Chile and Jamaica was to hoard basic consumer items like cooking oil, bread and flour and to blame the government for the shortages, price increases and general dislocation which this created.

The looting is politically motivated

Hence, we should fully understand when Venezuela’s state governor Francisco Rangel, from the ruling Socialist Party, said the looting was politically motivated. Rangel explained that a “gang” of 40 people on motorbikes fired their guns in the area and incited people to rob the shops. “A group of armed motorcyclists arrived and said they were going to loot certain establishments,” he told Venezuelan television station Globovision.

“I’m sure it wasn’t spontaneous but rather planned with a political motive.”  The governor said more than two dozen people were arrested in connection with the looting and added that there was no excuse for the behaviour. “No one is starving,” he said.

Venezuela has been grappling with worsening shortages of basic goods like cooking oil and flour.

Maduro:  The violence was premeditated

President Nicolas Maduro also maintained that the violence was premeditated and blamed the US for being behind it.   Maduro said US General John Kelly, Marine Corps commander of the Southern Command, had predicted in February that there would be a “social implosion” in Venezuela in July.

The incident comes as Venezuela is facing shortages of key goods, with the government arguing that business sectors are causing most of the shortages in order to delegitimize the government and to make large profits.

Maduro said that he was sending the Liberation of the People Operative (OLP) to Bolivar state to catch those he blamed for the crime, which he described as “mercenary groups, paramilitaries, and infiltrators.”

Destabilization attempts

He said that during the violence a publicly owned Yutong bus was also attacked, and he called on Venezuelans to be alert to “violent groups who try to provoke chaos in the country.”

According to the local newspaper El Correo del Caroni, Gustavo Patinez was shot 60 meters from the main site of looting. Four shops were looted and wrecked, and a cereal transport truck was also attacked.

Over the last two years, sectors of the Venezuelan opposition have organized violent blockades, known as “guarimbas.” The blockades saw 43 people killed last year.  It also stopped food trucks from reaching populations and stopped people from getting to hospitals, schools, and work. Numerous public buses, bus stops, and food trucks have also been destroyed, usually by being set on fire.

Businesses also often force people to line up to buy basic foods, though organized communities have found that the lines are often unnecessary and add to a general feeling of insecurity, economic chaos, and distrust in the political stability of the country.

Sources:

Argentina president says West seeking to destabilize Latin America

Source:  presstv.com
April 12 2015

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has slammed the West’s “soft” campaign to destabilize Latin American countries.

cristina fernandez 3During her address at the 35-nation Summit of the Americas in Panama City on Saturday, she said the attempts always originate in some NGOs that “we never know who finance them.”

She warned that the destructive attempts “aim at the destabilization of governments in the region, of the governments that have done the most for equality, for education and social inclusion.”

Pointing to the “major accomplishments” of the Latin American governments in the areas of human rights, social inclusion, health, and education, Kirchner said the West lends support to “governments with neoliberal policies that shattered people.”

She also denounced the Western attempts to combat “governments that can show their credentials of having been the ones that have included their countrymen the most.”

Malvinas Islands

Elsewhere in her remarks, the Argentine president criticized the UK for considering her nation a “threat” and thus justifying an increase in its military presence in the Malvinas Islands, known as the Falklands to the British.

“The United Kingdom declared my country a threat to its won territory, the Malvinas Islands: 2.3 percent of UK’s budget is allocated to defense. It is also absurd,” she added.

Britain declared Malvinas as part of its overseas territories in 1833. Argentina calls it an occupation and has time and again challenged the British military presence in the archipelago, which is about 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of Argentina’s coast.

Row over the islands turned into a bloody war in 1982. The conflict then claimed the lives of 649 Argentine soldiers, 255 Britons and three islanders.

Tensions between Argentina and the UK mounted again in 2013, after a London-backed referendum asking the islanders to decide whether to remain under the British rule. Some 99.8 percent people voted to remain a British territory. The Argentine government challenged the vote calling it “a British manoeuvre lacking legal value”.

Source:  Argentina president says West seeking to destabilize Latin America  presstv.com

Maduro explains the historical background of the Guyana Border Dispute

Source: venezuelanalysis.com
July 13 2015

Mr. President, welcome, thank you for taking the time to talk to teleSUR.

maduro being interviewed re border dispute with guyanaNM:  Welcome to you too, to the house of the Venezuelan people, Miraflores Palace, with the liberators Simon Bolivar and Antonio Jose de Sucre, who perfectly set the spirit for this conversation.

I want to begin this interview with a current issue in Venezuela: the political dispute that exists over the Essequibo region. Why has this issue emerged? Why this change in Guyana’s position?

NM:  It is a topic that has spanned Venezuela’s history over three centuries: the 19th, 20th and now 21st. I gave a comprehensive explanation in the National Assembly of the key elements of this theme, which can be split into four stages.

During the first stage, from 1777 to 1840, Venezuela went from being the colonial Captaincy General of Venezuela, to becoming a republic in 1810, to merging with Colombia to become the so-called Gran Colombia. At this time Venezuela covered a huge area, including the Essequibo region, which was rich in mineral resources.

Venezuela had controlled everything to the west of the Essequibo river, which crosses this beautiful area of ​​South America, since colonial times: from the Captaincy General to the early stages of independence to Bolivar’s founding of Gran Colombia. To the east of the river, the land was always disputed by those European empires that dug their claws into America with their so-called “discovery” and barbaric genocide against the continent’s native peoples and those of African descent.

There was always a dispute in British Guiana about the land to the east of the Essequibo, which carried over into what is now the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, what was then Dutch Guiana today is the Republic of Suriname and French Guiana — an enclave in the heart of our continent — was always disputed. That was the first stage … While I’m still on that stage, here are some maps to illustrate…

mapa la gran colombia 1822In 1810, when the region’s independence (from Spain) was recognized by all the powers in the so-called Captaincy General of Venezuela, it included the Essequibo region, the region bordered in the north by the River Orinoco (delta) … On July 5, 1819, when Venezuela was Gran Colombia, which was founded by the Liberator (Simon Bolivar), the Liberator left the Orinoco (delta) to go to the lowlands to meet (Jose Antonio) Paez’s army, they went via the Pisba moors and defeated the Spanish army, liberating Bogota of then-New Granada; and later went on to Carabobo in 1821 and built a vast geoeconomic, geopolitical region … the Essequibo was always ours.

So the Orinoco is a key part of the territory?

NM:  Of course, the Orinco was instrumental in the construction of this region. It allows our republic access to the Atlantic.

Were there any signs at that time that Guayana (Esequiba) would not always be Venezuelan territory?

NM:  Yes, the attack had begun much earlier. Here, on the map from 1830 (below), before the separation of Gran Colombia, the First Republic, and in this other map from 1840, Venezuela, the border along the Essequibo River, which at that time belonged to Gran Colombia, had weakened … over this union of republics a war between regional leaders began to seize the wealth and land, which fatally wounded the strength of what was born as a power (our America).

mapa la gran colombia 1830It is important to mention the year 1840, because it was then, given the weakness of the emerging republics thanks to the infighting between oligarchic leaders … that other empires, especially the British — which was the most powerful at the time — set their sights on the Orinoco for several reasons. The Essequibo and the Orinoco were part of the mythology of El Dorado, which became reality when important gold mines were discovered there. This area was identified by British surveyors, military, geologists, geographers as a major base to advance into the continent (via Venezuela, the Orinoco and its tributary, the Meta).

A brutal campaign of lies against Venezuela funded by Exxon, Mobil 

There is a brutal campaign against Venezuela of lies, funded by Exxon Mobil, a U.S.-based oil transnational linked to the gun lobby in Washington, which has great influence within the Pentagon. While Obama is the president of the United States, his empire’s influence goes far beyond him. Exxon Mobil has funded TV, radio and press campaigns, as well as political factions in the Caribbean, specifically Guyana.

Is Exxon Mobil’s campaign only about economics?

NM:  This campaign is about economics, energy, geopolitics, land. It forms part of a campaign to put together an operation to “squeeze” Venezuela, which was exposed in Parliament.

It is trying to provoke a conflict to undermine the union of Caribbean and Latin America and undermine vital projects like PetroCaribe and overturn the policy of peace (Venezuela’s socialist government) has maintained, as well as the fraternity we’ve forged with the people of the Caribbean.

It has several objectives. When Obama issued the decree of March 9 (calling Venezuela a threat to national security), I explained the reasons behind it and, simultaneously on the day the decree was issued, and our people began the battle (against it), they were strategizing in Guyana to provoke this moment of tension. (Essequibo) is indisputably Venezuela’s by historical right (…) plundered by the British Empire in the 19th century.

In 1824, the British Empire recognized that the eastern border of what was (Gran) Colombia (was) the Essequibo River, which marks out the area definitively, and recognized the existence of the entire Essequibo territory as Venezuelan. The British were by that time arguing (borders) with the Dutch, but had a domain known as British Guiana, which is today our sister Cooperative Republic of Guyana, where the population of what British Guiana lived … they did not live in the occupied Esequiba region, because it was sparsely populated jungle. Although, more recently, the area has been populated with mercenaries, paramilitary groups to control mineral reserves the area contains.

In 1835, the looting operation began (in Essequibo), with the so-called Schomburgk line, when the British Empire sent German botanist David Schomburgk to the region as a spy, who raised awareness of the area’s wealth in a report in which he explains the importance of the Orinoco, and the need to get a part of it, to (the Crown). Thanks to the weakness of Venezuela and New Granada (Colombia), they swept into the heart of the country.

The (new border) line appeared on a map in London, and, as it was the capital of the empire, the world believed it.

So they created the strategy and then took action?

NM:  Correct. First the botanist, the geographer, the rigged map and the threats of occupation, war and more. Then, with the second Schomburgk line in 1840, they entered the Essequibo territory and deprived us of 141,000 square kilometers of land, ranging from Mount Roraima to Punta Beach. The modus operandi was to publish a map in London and declare the Essequibo part of the overseas territories of the Queen. There was opposition to the plan; in 1850 there was an exchange of documents between Caracas and London, which I understand was a mistake due to the lax position of the oligarchy that ruled Venezuela. It practically voided the right to territorial sovereignty within the framework of a future agreement, when it was and is indisputably ours.

Then the third Schomburgk line (in 1850) went further into Venezuelan territory, (along the Yuruami River), the banks of the Guri dam, and around the city of Puerto Ordaz at the time. It was followed by a process of legalization, of dispossession, of threats to invade Venezuela.

Then, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, the United States established the Monroe Doctrine (“leave America for the Americans”) and some (Latin American) governments said: what a great document, the U.S. will protect us from the empires of the world. It was quite the opposite.

In 1897, the U.S. Congress decided to create a commission to establish the limits of Guyana and force the weak governments run by the oligarchy to accept arbitration. An arbitration commission was created on the basis of a treaty written by five people. Two U.S. arbitrators represented Venezuela, because the British said they would not talk with Venezuelans. With the U.S. umpiring, Washington and London conspired to take Guayana Esequiba from Venezuela to reach the Orinoco. One arbiter was part of the Queen’s court, taught at the University of Cambridge and was more British than Russian. That committee met in 1899 in Paris.

So there was no Venezuelan representative?

NM:  Just one Venezuelan took part in the arbitration council, a lawyer, who, in October 1899, delivered a null and void judgment, which devastated the territories that historically belonged to Venezuela.

Our English news network reported at the recent Caribbean Community summit, Guyanese President David Granger said the borders between Guyana and Venezuela were fixed 116 years ago, before (the arbitration commission). What does Venezuela say to that?

NM:  We regret that a president has arrived in Guyana, David Granger, whose sole intention is to provoke Venezuela, in his mission to divide the Caribbean. I do not believe he is in favor of Latin American unity, he simply came to ignore international law and conflict resolution mechanisms through diplomatic channels and dialogue. He is trying to impose a point of view regardless of history.

The plundering of Venezuela, as I have described, was carried out via a flawed treaty, which Venezuela considers invalid and does not recognize. After this, Venezuela underwent a naval blockade from the European powers in 1902, 1903, on the alleged basis of old debts, but with the real intention of “pinning to the ground” a nation that always represented the fight for freedom.

This blockade had a second motive: that the country accept the arbitration awarded in Paris in 1899 and cede not only its Guayana Esequiba, but it was proposed that part of the Orinoco should be thrown in as part payment for those alleged debts.

We know what (then President) Cipriano Castro did to reject the aggression of foreign powers, Venezuela has always had to react very strongly.

Diplomatic mechanisms were activated at that time, what happened internationally?

NM:  With the 20th century came the third stage: the Treaty of Paris was denounced as invalid. Between 1944 and 1949, one of the arbiters of the committee, Severo Mallet Prevost, made the cutting complaint: “Even though the court gave Venezuela the mouth of the Orinoco, a strategically important disputed sector, its decision was unfair and stripped it of an important territory, over which Great Britain had not, in my opinion, even the slightest right to.”

This provoked a national and international controversy, involving several governments. In 1962, Venezuela made its complaint, presenting evidence accumulated from years of arbitration, to the U.N. This prompted a process that coincided with Guyana’s independence process from the imperial metropolis (London), which was granting autonomous status some of its Caribbean colonies.

The whole process concluded with the signing of the Geneva Agreement in 1966, which ends with a Venezuela’s complaint on its right to the Essequibo region.

…President Granger, if you see this video, read the story of the signing of the Geneva Accord, the British Empire recognizes that the (Essequibo dispute) has not been resolved, with negotiations and definitions pending. That agreement was signed by the Venezuelan foreign affairs minister, Ignacio Iribarren Borges, and the foreign minister for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Michael Stewart, and Forbes Burnham, who was a leader in Guyana and prime minister of British Guiana.

This document establishes mechanisms, through international law, the U.N. Charter and other international mechanisms and laws to resolve this outstanding issue, which the current president of Guyana, who despises us and has a very clear plan to challenge us, is doing everything he can to ignore.

This campaign, suggesting Venezuela is the aggressor, is a campaign that was created in the Caribbean. How do you respond to this, and what message to you send to the people of Guyana?

NM:  I said it in the National Assembly. If you look at the DNA of our mixed blood, you’ll find the blood of Bolivar, Guacaipuro, Negro Primero and Sucre — who (went to great lengths to) free the people, who gave their lives and wealth. Liberator Simon Bolivar was born in one of the wealthiest families of the time, but, when he died in Santa Martha (Colombia), he died in a second hand shirt. He didn’t have a home to die in. We are his children, the children of (former President Hugo) Chavez, who led a new stage (of struggle). Are they going to ignore the role of PetroCaribe as a project of solidarity, integration, brotherhood?

So let them say Exxon Mobil, which financed President David Granger’s campaign, has given a little bit of petroleum to the people of Guyana, or the people of the Caribbean. But there is a campaign to show a back-to-front world, as the great Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano said. Now Venezuela is the imperialist country, the aggressor. So I tell the people of Guyana: We are the country that was deprived and this land, the Essequibo, wasn’t given to us by British or Spanish imperialism. Our grandfathers won that sacred land fighting in battles.

And speaking of Venezuelanism, it is interesting how members of the opposition have folded to your call to save this patriotic territory.

NM:  Yes, I want to note the national support comes from diverse sectors, mainly the people, workers, women, students, campesinos, the armed forces — the most important support one can have, a military-civic union.

Parliament is going to debate an interesting proposal of support. There have also been leaders of political sectors, such as Governor Henry Falcon, some legislators from Democratic Action, a New Time, and First Justice, who have given me support — not without some criticism that I consider unfair — circumstances oblige us Venezuelans to unite to achieve the most important thing, through international law and peace diplomacy: Venezuela’s rights. And furthermore, to dispel this provocation, neutralize it and defeat it, morally and politically.

Some right-wing sectors are not nationalist ones, despite being originally from here … one person out there, who was a presidential candidate, represents international interests, and has come out now to praise Exxon Mobil’s maneuvers. There’s another far-right legislator. Its nothing new, in 1961 people with the same surnames — Lopez, Machado, Mendoza, Zuloaga — wrote a letter to the queen that she should come here, claim Essequibo, and save them from the armies of Zamora.

What other international mechanisms will you involve? You’ve mentioned the U.N.?

NM:  I’ve talked to the president of CELAC, Rafael Correa, to put in place an initiative at a foreign minister level or a presidential level. Taking advantage of the moment, I congratulate him for the success that he has hand with the visit of Pope Francis in Ecuador.

I’m going to talk to the secretary of the U.N., Ban Ki-moon, and give him a letter requesting someone be appointed as mediator, as established in the Geneva Convention, a person accepted by Guyana and Venezuela, so that the issue can be looked at, and President Granger accepts the decision.

I think that among the key groups are CELAC, because it includes the Caribbean, ALBA, which was led by Chavez, Fidel and Raul … for many years there was a lack of trust, and our brothers in the Caribbean didn’t view the rest of Latin American in a positive light, and vice-versa. So CELAC is one group, and another would be the secretary-general of the U.N.

Source:  Maduro Talks to teleSUR: Guyana Border Dispute, Greece, and Economic War  Venezuelanalysis