The Venezuela/Guyana Boundary Question – Analysis By Professor Clifton Child

The Venezuela/Guyana Boundary Question – Analysis By Professor Clifton Child

A dispute between Venezuela and British Guiana ( Great Britain) in the 1800s over the boundary between the two countries led to the Treaty of Washington which created an Arbitration Tribunal to settle the dispute. Both Venezuela and Britain agreed in the Treaty (signed) that the Award will be “full, perfect and final.”

The 5-member Tribunal consisted of 2 American Judges on behalf of Venezuela, 2 British Judges on behalf of British Guiana and a Russian Judge as the President. The Tribunal began hearings in Paris, France, in June 1899 and rendered its Award in October, 1899.

Under the Award, Venezuela received 5,000 square miles of British Guiana’s territory which included the oil-rich Orinoco Basin. The Award was accepted by the Governments of Venezuela and Britain. 

A joint boundary Demarcation Team comprising representatives of Venezuela and Britain demarcated the boundary in 1905 based on the Award and maps were drawn. Both Venezuela and Britain accepted the new boundary and the maps. That boundary exists until today.

All went well until the end of the 1940s when one of the junior counsels for Venezuela at the Tribunal hearings, Severo Mallet-Prevost, requested that a Memo he wrote questioning the Award be published but only after he died.

The claims, allegations and surmises of Mallet-Prevost in his posthumous memorandum were adopted by Venezuela which then resurrected its claim to Essequibo.

A Professor Clifton Child, studied the Mallet-Prevost Memorandum and wrote a searching and learned article analyzing it. The analysis applies to the current claims being made by Venezuela that the 1899 Award is null and void.
The Childs’a article, for purposes of public awareness, information and education can be read in the link below:-

View/Download: Clifton Child article

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  • compton de castro  On 07/17/2015 at 4:33 am

    Isn’t it ironical that after the announcement of “discovery” of oil in commercial quantities that Venezuela s claim of Essequibo is re-ignited.😈

    It amazes me how politicians seek outside attention when their internal control (power) is on decline.
    MADuro is so unpopular at home that he is clutching at straws to remain in power.Chavez was so popular that no matter who succeeded him they would fail
    to impress. He is saber rattling and no Hitler either….
    If its WW3 he wishes for he is SADuro.

    A lot to read on professorie attached article.
    Topical in the region but best put on back burner.

    Que sera

  • Clyde Duncan  On 07/17/2015 at 12:36 pm

    MercoPress: Guyana Declines UN Good Offices –

    The foregoing link is from way down Argentine way – the comments seem to be more right-wing extremist mentality – prone to violence and guns, every problem is a nail that we can resolve with a bigger hammer. Check out their thinking, it is fun to read:

    1) Mr Greenridge is quite correct. The ONLY place to resolve this dispute is at the International Court of Justice as it is the ONLY part of the UN that has any power to settle it.

    But Venezuela won’t go there because they know that they haven’t got a leg to stand on.

    If the government of Guyana had any sense they’d follow in Belize’s footsteps and invite the British military to use Guyana as a training area. This would benefit them twofold. They’d have British troops on the ground in case of any Venezuelan aggression and secondly the Guyana Defence Forces would be trained by some of the best soldiers in the world.

    It worked in Belize to the point where Guatemala eventually agreed to go to and abide by ICJ judgements. Of course it did take decades to get them there and only after several failed attempts to invade Belize and being given a bloody nose by 1st the British forces and later by the very well trained Belize Defence Force.

    2) Whether Britain should station troops in Guyana is a moot point. The original deployment of British forces in Belize was when Britain stationed the RAF there in 1975 and again in 1977 specifically to deter Guatemala. The training aspect of British Forces Belize did not occur until 1981/82. One of the most effective British actions took place in 1975 when it was announced that an aircraft carrier and 8,000 troops were being sent to conduct amphibious exercises.

    Could Britain do that now? For the time being it has no aircraft carriers. The closest it could manage would be HMS Ocean, possibly with Apache attack helicopters and Chinooks for troop transport. Any need for fast jets would have to be met by land bases with aircraft being flown out with in-flight refuelling. Shouldn’t take too long for a couple of RAF squadrons to destroy Venezuela’s 60 combat aircraft. Tornados and Typhoons following right behind cruise missiles targeting air bases. A couple of RN destroyers or frigates should be enough to end the Venezuelan navy. British forces would need the Challenger 2 MBTs and Warriors. Perhaps some Scimitars, Spartans and Samaritans. 10,000 troops?

    Perhaps watching British forces arriving might be enough to tell Maduro how silly he is! Especially if he can remember what British forces did to argieland.

    3) It seems like Guyana is Maduro’s Malvinas – In a word: Delusional.

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 07/17/2015 at 12:50 pm

    Cyril, thanks for sharing this historical gem. Since the Venezuela-Guyana border dispute was reignited, I’ve been curious to know more about the Arbitration Tribunal of 1899 that started it all.

  • guyaneseonline  On 07/18/2015 at 1:39 am

    Venezuela Opposition MPs propose legislation to create an Essequibo state

    [] – Former Guyana Ambassador to Venezuela Dr Odeen Ishmael has revealed that plans are afoot in the Venezuela’s congress to create an Essequibo state.
    According to Dr Ishmael, eight opposition members of the Venezuelan National Assembly have presented a special bill for the creation of a new Essequibo “state.”
    See full article below.

    Click to access venezuela-opposition-mps-propose-legislation-to-create-an-essequibo-state.pdf

  • compton de castro  On 07/18/2015 at 4:12 am

    It’s simple
    Have a referendum in the region on “in out”: yes no….to becoming a Venezuelan state……to be safe have a pre-ref-census.
    If 51% vote to remain Guyanese….decision.
    90% of gibtaltarian vote to remain British.
    90% of falklanders voted to remain British.
    Am sure more than 51% speak English and wish to be Guyanese.

    Rest my case

    Look at how Referendum in Greece was mismanaged by the political asses there.
    People more confused than ever……now in limbo…..
    Fascists will soon take over.

    Guyana must learn from mistakes of others or remain naive idiots.

    SADuro will be replaced soon anyway.

  • Thinker  On 07/18/2015 at 9:45 am

    Ridiculous. We don’t recognise an unfounded claim by asking a population to vote. This is not Crimea where the population identifies with Russia.

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 07/18/2015 at 2:12 pm

    Here’s yesterday’s news from Venezuela with video clip. Sorry, it’s in Spanish without subtitles.

    The time has come for Guyana to settle this dispute definitively.

    “Unasur realizará reunión especial para tratar diferendo entre Guyana y Venezuela (+Video)”

  • compton de castro  On 07/18/2015 at 3:31 pm

    Then who do Essequibans “identify with” ? Guyana or Venezuela ?

  • Clyde Duncan  On 07/18/2015 at 4:35 pm

    de Castro: The people living in Essequibo identify with GUYANA.

    • compton de castro  On 07/18/2015 at 7:51 pm

      100% or 49.99% or ?
      Does 100% identify with obamarama and democrats.
      Did 100% “identify” agree with Hitler.
      Does 100% identify with Cameron or Thatcher ?

      In politricks there will always be dissent …how extreme that dissent is determined by acceptance that “majority” rule in democracies.
      51% majority voting in favour of one or other.
      Not 51% of a minority ….unless like OZ you have compulsory voting
      and or a PR system.
      My point is simple
      Let essequibians decide “beyond all reasonable doubt” that they are Guyanese.
      How ? by referendum.
      Did not Scots (6 million) vote to remain in UK ?
      Did not Greeks vote to remain in EU “for better or for worse” ?

      Politricks my friends
      Cynical SOB

  • Clyde Duncan  On 07/18/2015 at 5:54 pm

    They reported the following:
    During his participation in Mercosur, the President of Guyana, David Granger, says he respects the territory of States, despite violating the Geneva Treaty banning the exploitation of the resources of the Essequibo. [This reporter could go to hell – Essequibo belongs to Guyana -clyde]

    Granger added, Guyana will continue to contribute to the economic development of the peoples of South America; but if our geographical strategic advantage is diminished, then our contribution to this body of integration will be degraded.

    – on my computer, I click on “translate” at the top right. I hope it works for you.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 07/18/2015 at 10:14 pm

    de Castro: Your question about Essequibo and references to the Republican-Tea Party tantrums confirms what I believe is your salient argument regarding Essequibo.

    You have seen it posted over and over in this blog, in particular. Your argument – quite like the Obamacare argument – has been tested at Arbitration and resolved.

    The current nonsense flows from a time when Uncle Sam was an ally of Venezuela and would not tolerate another Cuba in this hemisphere.

    Uncle Sam was looking for an excuse to invade British Guiana way back in the 1800’s – Canada declared if you make a move it is war. Canada and Uncle Sam was constantly at war back then, that is why this piece of real estate is larger than Uncle Sam’s piece. In fact, Canada is the second largest country in the world. Canada burnt down the White House back then – asserted ourselves the old-fashioned British way.

    My point is, the matter is resolved. – Why would any sane, reasonable person accept that a pipsqueak like Mallet-Prevost, who was present at Arbitration in 1899, leave an envelope to be opened after his death and believe him?

    He is a lawyer – why not state his case while he is alive?

    Essequibo belongs to Guyana – Anyone who believes otherwise is delusional.

  • guyaneseonline  On 07/19/2015 at 2:32 am

    Granger warns MERCOSUR of chaos if borders violated

    By Staff Editor On July 18, 2015 @ 3:34 pm In Local News

    In his address to South American Presidents of the regional trading bloc MERCOSUR, President David Granger yesterday warned of chaos if established borders are violated.
    In a clear reference to Venezuelan sabre-rattling over Guyana’s maritime territory in recent months, Granger said:
    “Violations of borders could degenerate into conflict and could derail integration.When borders which had been determined definitively settled by international agreements are disregarded by one State, other States may do the same. Chaos will ensue. This continent must be a ‘zone of peace’ if it is to progress.
    In the case of the claim on the territory of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, we wish to make it clear that a full, perfect and final settlement was made in 1899- 116 years ago by an international tribunal.”
    At the summit in Brazil in the presence of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Granger again laid out a case to the South American heads as to why Guyana’s present borders should be considered inviolable.
    His address follows:
    Read more:

  • compton de castro  On 07/19/2015 at 5:23 am

    Concede and agree but if this “question” keeps popping up in main stream media people will eventually believe it to be “factual”
    Your historical perspective was interesting to note.

    A minor point was the demographics of these soverin states.Canada 32m
    USA 360m today. Have already suggested Canada can accommodate another
    32m economic migrants…..change to USD and become another American state.

    Most of my Canadian family and friends think it’s “maverick” thinking.
    Crazy will never happen… response “never say never”….. isn’t the EU dream still alive and kicking asses.😈
    Economically CAN-US alliance will work.
    Politically ” never” ?
    Both ex British colonies…..😀
    We shall see.

  • compton de castro  On 07/19/2015 at 5:46 am

    Thanks to Guyanese on line for the above on Granger’s MERCOSUR
    speech in Brazillia.
    Granger is demonstrating “statesmanship” as a politician and should be congratulated for showing restraint in this provocation by Maduro s
    saber rattling which does not help for unity in the region.
    David V Goliath scenario re-incarnate.

    Congratulations Mr President for your “cool calm and collective” response to
    the threat to the peace and prosperity of the region.
    Well delivered message.

    Que Sera sera

  • kiskadee70  On 07/19/2015 at 5:41 pm

    The Venezuelans know that they do not have any legitimate claim over any part of our country. Their aggressiveness towards Guyana is a reflection of their bullish characteristics and exposes their fear and weaknesses. It is a cowardly tactic used to destabilize our development plans with the main objective of keeping us down. They see Guyana becoming self-sufficient in energy whether it be from Hydro Power or fossil fuel, in food and shelter, growing out of poverty and truly becoming independent as something of an embarrassment to them. They would begrudge our prosperity while their people live in poverty and squalor despite all their natural resources in the hands of a handful of greedy bastards. Their military treat is like a dog without teeth. They think that the world leaders on our side would stand by and watch these bullies take advantage of us without any reaction. Let the puppet go ahead with his tantrums. Hope he can bear the consequences after. Maybe he has chosen not to accept the possibility of drone strikes? We do not need an army of thousands to put this right.

    The 1899 Arbitrary award is a permanent legally binding agreement and can never be changed. In that accord the British conceded the Orinoco Basin to Venezuela of which Venezuela was adamant they wanted. The Venezuelans were very pleased and happy then to sign on to this agreement. All parties agreed to this though the British were not too pleased they had parted with the huge Orinoco Basin. The so-called post humus questionable missive from Mallet Prevost is invalid and unacceptable in any argument raised by these idiots.

    As we dwell on this issue we must not forget our Amerindian brothers and sisters who were butchered by the Spanish, British and Dutch bastards. Then to add salt to the wounds of our indigenous people these bilge rats were declared heroes in history books written by nuts who called themselves historians. All reasoning considered, the Amerindian people of this land are the rightful heirs, not those Spanish bullies from Venezuela.

    At this point I wish to point out that when Nicholas Maduro Moros, the Venezuelan puppet of the bullies of the oil industry there visited Guyana in August 31, 2013 he made a reference about the US saying that “Nothing gives the US the right to be judge and decide the future of another country” Yet this same scumbag has the temerity to dictate to Guyana how we should run our affairs. What a hypocrite!

    Now that our Government has changed he probably feels threatened that he may not be able to go to bed with the new Guyana administration as he was with the previous corrupt administration. So he is trying hard to take his country’s focus away from his own incompetence by picking a fight with poor little Guyana. Does he not know that small axes can cut down big trees? And that Goliath was slain by a little shepherd using a crude sling shot?

    President David Granger is worthy of congratulatory salutation for taking on an aggressive and arrogant tiger by its tail and stand firm on his commitment of safeguarding Guyana’s territorial waters and land mass from land grabbing bullies like MADuro.

  • compton de castro  On 07/20/2015 at 8:50 am

    Kisskadee even a bluesackee or sakiwinki couldn’t have explained it better.
    Excellently put !

  • guyaneseonline  On 08/17/2015 at 2:15 am

    Commentary: Guyana-Venezuela: The ‘controversy’ over the arbitral award of 1899
    Published on August 17, 2015 – Caribbean News Now
    By Odeen Ishmael

    Every so often, sections of the local and foreign media propagate the erroneous idea of an existing territorial “dispute” between Venezuela and Guyana over the Essequibo region. They write and report about the “disputed” Essequibo territory, conveniently ignoring the fact that the territory was firmly defined as Guyana’s by the international arbitral award of October 1899.
    Read more …

  • de castro  On 08/17/2015 at 3:44 am

    Politricks propagated by a powerful multinational / international corporate media to drive fear of Armageddon into the hearts and minds of peoples of our “fragile” worlds. Bring on the “aliens” to save it.

    Sorry remain a sceptic …cynically so.
    Will read the “epitath” later and comment if disagree with points raised.

  • albert  On 08/17/2015 at 11:18 am

    Madura is probably deflecting attention from his failing economy and local problems by resurrecting this dispute. He has little to lose in going up against a country that cannot do much militarily.
    The oil Guyana is hoping for, in present day situation, would not do much if anything. Oil price is $42/barrel, US is becoming an oil exporter, the Saudis are producing in record volumes to squeeze Iran. Some experts say the cost of producing is more than the price. Will capitalist Exxon be willing to extract oil now in Guyana? to sell where at a loss?

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