Speech by President Nicolás Maduro Moros in Special Session of the National Assembly
“Good evening, deputies, of this sovereign National Assembly that is already completing its five-year legislative period in the following months. I want to congratulate all the deputies for the effort made for almost five years, in the defense of the stability of our country, the national union… This legislature will be unforgettable because of the role you have played in the defense of stability, of peace, of sovereignty.
Dear companion Diosdado Cabello Rondón, president of the National Assembly, and its board of directors, Vice-president Elvis Hidrobo Amoroso, Tania Díaz; secretary, undersecretary; dear doctor magistrate, president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Gladys Gutiérrez Alvarado; citizen Tarek William Saab, president of the Republican Moral Council and Ombudsman; citizen Tibisay Lucena Ramírez, president of the Electoral Power; citizen Luisa Ortega Díaz, attorney general of the Republic; citizen Manuel Galindo Ballesteros, comptroller general of the Republic; magistrates, who have come in full to this session of the National Assembly to discuss very important issues of our country; rectors and directors of the National Electoral Council; Members of the Latin American Parliament, Parlatino; professors, researchers, historians, present at this session, artists, youth, athletes, men, women; Executive Vice-President, Jorge Arreaza; Vice-presidents of government, ministers, fellow ministers; governors present; Greetings to the mayor minister of Caracas, the Vice-ministers, colleagues of the Military High Command; Vladimir Padrino López, General in Chief, Strategic Operational Commander of our Armed Forces, dear comrades, General Commanders of the Army, Navy, Bolivarian Military Aviation and Bolivarian National Guard, and our Bolivarian National Militia; General gentlemen, admirals present.
I ratify again in this Assembly, in less than 24 hours, I ratify our recognition and congratulations to the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, which without a doubt has achieved leadership, the efforts of its men and women, has achieved a very high level of moral excellence, discipline, organization, deployment capacity and, in addition, correct, advanced use of all modern weapons equipment and systems with which the Bolivarian Revolution has endowed our Bolivarian National Armed Forces, at all levels, technological and armored systems, air defense; of what it’s known and what it’s not. Congratulations.
Yesterday, for example, in the deployment of the armored brigades, in a minute ten seconds they were able to assemble and disassemble two modern tanks that have all the equipment, not only to defend our land but to defend against air attacks; a discipline and an Armed Forces that today, more than ever, are fully aware of their roots of the cause they represent, of the ideas they raise, and that is why it will be always accuarate to say that the Bolivarian National Armed Forces is truly worthy of the flags of the liberators of America, the flags of freedom and independence, and as they say, Bolivarian and deeply Chavista.
I apologize for having arrived a few minutes later, but I had a very good conversation with the Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, a good and long conversation with fellow Alexis Tsipras. And I transmitted to him in the name of all the people of Venezuela, of the people of ALBA, the congratulations for the crude quest they are going through, the historical journey they are crosing and that is leaving a great lessons for the world.
The Greek people were subjected, as I shared in conversation with Prime Minister Tsipras, to a war that only we know, intense, brutal, barbaric, by nine television media; the supermarkets, the gas stations – any resemblance to our reality is no coincidence – closed, economic war, the banks closed and the war continues.
I read a statement of the President of the Spanish government, as I was making my way here, truly absurd. They do not believe in the peoples, they despise the peoples of the world. The Greek people have just spoken with a giant voice, 61 percent of men and women defeated the campaign of fear and took a step of dignity, of courage that only we can value because we are a people who courageously faced all wars we’ve been through.
So I come with a renewed soul, full of courage, optimism for the future of humanity and our country; I come with the renewed soul of this leader, young leader, he is just 40 years old.
Greetings to the deputies of the opposition, of the MUD who are present, a respectful greeting.
Alexis Tsipras was born on July 28, 1974, is a left-handed man, a 40-year-old man, and leaders who do not belong to economic groups are emerging. It is the great difference of the great majority of those who make decisions there, in the Monetary Fund, in the European Central Bank and in the instances of the European Union, They are all hostages of the financial capital, of the most rancid financial bourgeoisie and neoliberal that has existed in the last 50, 60 years in Europe, which aims to dismantle the welfare state of living and impose a barbaric, wild model.
Dear compatriots, greetings to all Venezuelans. This intervention before the Legislative Power of the Homeland, legitimate Legislative Power of our Homeland, our National Assembly, is to make a call, to summon our people and all the institutions of our country, to summon them to a fight for putting things in place from the historical point of view, at a time when our country, as I have been denouncing in recent weeks, has,and it’s been subjected to new forms of harassment, aggression; prepared behind the scenes and, in a public and open way, provocations are prepared that could seriously affect the peace of our country and our region.
I confess that we have been delving along with a group of scholars on the issues of Esequibo and the geostrategic, geopolitical issues of our region, matters that somehow, over time, have not been part of the public agenda of our country. Perhaps if we asked the youngest and not-so-young people about the dispossession of the Essequibo in the 19th century, about the Treaty of Paris and how the Monroe Doctrine was imposed to strip our country from the Essequibo, few could answer some basic questions about the development of this story that has been like a wound in the heart of the country for more than two centuries and now has been intended as a theme to install a scene of irritating provocation against the dignity of the Venezuelan people.
So I say, the Venezuela of this 21st century is characterized, first of all, by the ideal of the Latin American and Caribbean union. If something characterizes Venezuela in the 21st century, it is an immense awareness of respect for the Caribbean and Latin American peoples as brothers. Not by chance we have been the architects and protagonists of the construction of the new system of regional organizations in the continent: Petrocaribe, ALBA, Unasur, Celac; not by chance we have actively participated in other organizations with greater tradition, such as Caricom, the SICA; not by chance, almost obsessively, we insisted against a thousand provocations until our admission as a full member in Mercosur was approved.
Our commitment – our people know, the sister peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean know – has been for cooperation, for peace, for integration, for union, for respect, for the processing of conflicts through Dialogue, for the overcoming of conflicts through international law and the priority of the foreign policy of the Bolivarian Revolution and, in many cases, taking historical traditions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries of our foreign policy, has been to promote the construction of a solid base of understanding, respect, trust between the peoples, among the rulers, without neglecting problems and differences, but covering them with a new method of peace diplomacy.
In these days we talked with several prime ministers of the Caribbean and we insisted on this because there is a great and serious campaign, brothers and sisters of our country, a serious campaign promoting hatred; distrust, promoting negative elements about Venezuelan character and way of being, about the history of Venezuela, about the libertarian tradition of the people of Bolívar; multi-million dollar campaigns in the Caribbean, in each Caribbean country, in Colombia; countless campaigns trying to install in the collective of these sister countries, elements of distrust; revenge, hatred, that could justify at any moment the escalation of a set of events against our country; and so I come to denounce, president and deputy Diosdado Cabello, before the entire National Assembly.
There is a political, diplomatic, media, economic operation against Venezuela to implant a pliers operation against Bolivarian Venezuela and try to find high intensity conflicts.
A few months ago I was just here, on March 10, a day before President of the United States, Barack Obama, had signed a decree that, according to the United States government itself, and as we denounce on this stage, a disproportionate decree that declared Venezuela as a danger, a threat to the security of the United States. After a great debate in the continent, after a great debate in Venezuela, after a great support and union of the Venezuelan people, we achieved in Latin America and the Caribbean that President Barack Obama recognized that Venezuela was not, nor is a threat to the United States of America.
More than 11 million Venezuelans, beyond even partisan, ideological, political, social differences, came to support, during March and part of April. When I arrived at the Panama Summit on April 10, I carried your strength, more than 11 million compatriots, and what a powerfull streength surrounded that spiritual force of our country! In just one month, Venezuela achieved something that could be qualified by a commentator, a sports journalist in relation to some sport, in a month Venezuela achieved a world record: make the President of the United States himself to disclaim the decree that he had signed and; in addition, the opening of diplomatic channels to be initiated in pursuit of peace, respect, understanding. Diplomatic channels will begin.
The courage of President Obama must be recognized though, to declare what he declared and to take the step of approaching, shaking hands, talking and from there installing a diplomatic channel that, thank God and the Virgin, as they say there in the Orient, it’s working very well, brothers of the MUD, brothers of the Great Patriotic Pole, the channel with the United States is working very well.
A year before, in the midst of the famous guarimbas, I had launched a set of peace initiatives, internal and international, and had appointed, as head of state, on behalf of all our Venezuela, fellow Diosdado Cabello Rondón as head of a diplomatic team.
A year later, after everything we went through, taking the situation by hand, always with the truth, in Haiti, just a week ago, the diplomatic channel was officially installed next to our Foreign Minister, companion Delcy Rodríguez.
How difficult is to have relations with the United States! Very difficult. They are an empire, beyond President Obama, there is an empire that seeks to rule the world, dominate us, that has its eyes on the immense oil, gas, in the immense wealth of Venezuela. Where there is oil wealth, there they go, their interests, their power. In addition, they have the serious and absolute decision to dismantle and defeat the example that the Bolivarian and Socialist Revolution of the 21st century has started in Latin America, first by the hand of Commander Chávez and now under the leadership of this humble worker who is here in front of you. Maximum geopolitical interest!
That is why so many attacks on the Bolivarian Revolution, which according to the calculations of the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, the country would not survive I do’nt remember how much they said, a week, a month, that we would not survive December 2013. I think.
Companions, elders generals and admirals, chiefs of the regions of integral defense, the REDI, an applause to these men who are in the streets every day, military leaders of the Homeland, Vice-ministers of Defense; the country has a tremendous military leadership, thank you brothers, if one thing is important – and I personally spoke about it with President Obama’s special envoy and it was transmitted by our companion Diosdado and the Foreign Minister in Haiti – it is that we recognize ourselves, it is that Venezuela is recognized as a reality, diverse, yes, but I believe that no one can continue to ignore the existence of a powerful popular movement, a powerful mass movement that has assumed the flags of Bolívar and that is identified with the flag of Chavismo as a fundamental power, a majority force that crosses across the country; wherever you get, you find a human, cultural expression of the beauty of who we are. Nineteen elections, I said to President Obama in Panama; name a political force in this world, in Europe, in Africa, in Asia that have made 19 elections in 15 years, 16 years, and won 18 of them through transparent path and perfected the electoral system to a point that is the object of admiration for technical specialists, political leaders from other parts of the world and from other ideologies.
It is true that with the diplomacy of peace and with the truth, we managed to blend a powerful national and international movement that neutralized what was an escalation from the decree of March 9. Now we are getting to know much more about the scope of the subsequent measures that were intended to be activated against Venezuela from that famous decree, which were not going to distinguish if a little heart is red-red or another color. These measures do not discriminate, just as they did not with the bombs that fell on Baghdad, or Tripoli; They did not discriminate against anyone.
When an empire throws the brutal force it possesses against a country, it does not discriminate, it destroys, controls, dominates, kneels, humiliates. This is what we have avoided and will keep avoiding, so the Bolivarian Revolution and the political, social and economic life of the country remain in peace. Our goal is peace, our victory is and should always be peace, national peace, regional peace, regional union, national union.
Now, once we managed to control that threat, partially dissipate it, neutralize it, other diverse ones were activated; but I think, I think so, compatriots, ladies and gentlemen who are in this full room; Prosecutor, Moral Power, Electoral Power, Judicial Power, ministers, political leaders of the different political parties that make life in Venezuelan society, the scenario that has been set up, with the complicity of important political and economic sectors of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana against Venezuela, is a serious and dangerous scenario, which must be dissipated with the national union, it must be neutralized; and Venezuela must raise the just claim on the Essequibo and reconquer it by way of peace and the international law.
That is why my first word and my first call is to the national union, men and women of this country. It is something that brings passion. I call a debate. In the Committee on Foreign Policy, in the plenary of the National Assembly, in universities, in academies, I call for a revitalizing debate on the issue.
You know that you have to have great patience, a great capacity to process, digest and not to vomit when one read and listen to the statements given against Venezuela, against our history, against our people, by the current president of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana , vomiting statements! Highly offensive against the dignity of a people of heroes, of a people of liberators! It is the town of Bolívar.
A whole provocation operation has been mounted. Behind this operation is the Exxon Mobil and the interests of the oil and war lovers group, which has a decisive influence on the Pentagon and in all the imperial plans of the United States. A provocation that we have been containing, dissipating through diplomatic channels, and from that provocation, given the firm reaction I have had before the Government of Guyana, privileging diplomatic and political methods, a campaign, which I have no word to qualify, has increased. If we said brutal, we would fall short; referring to our country almost as an imperialist country, which aims to plunder Guyana, which seeks to strip Guyana, which aims to strip our brothers of the Caribbean.
Who can be behind such a powerful campaign? Where are so many resources being invested? Who can be behind a campaign to seek a great political, diplomatic conflict, and escalate to other levels? Who can be looking for that? Who can profit from a conflict, from a confrontation at the highest level between sister countries?
The people of Guyana are a noble people. We know the people of Guyana, it is a fighting people. Result of the miscegenation of Amerindian peoples, Afro-descendant and India-rooted peoples, a combination, a noble, hard-working, peaceful people, who for decades, have been infected with the worst poison to feel distrust, fear, hate towards the people of Venezuela, so they fail to know or recognize a virtuous people, full of a noble spirituality, as our people is; making in imposible for them to recognize a people who have been able to fight for the freedom of this continent and for their own freedom, again and again, and again. A campaign that made rise to declarations, I have brought them here, extremely offensive against our people.
But I want you to know, deputies, Public Powers present, that from the very moment when the new Government of Guyana was installed, from the first day Mr. David Granger assumed the presidency, I sent the Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Georgetown to try a direct, frank dialogue. I did it once, twice, three times; I even sent a presidential envoy to Georgetown, the international affairs advisor, Mr. Raúl Li Causi, a young Venezuelan, an expert in the Caribbean and in international matters, and personally he met with senior representatives of the current Government of Guyana several weeks ago.
How many weeks does this government have? Five weeks. This government that is now at the head of our sister Cooperative Republic of Guyana is a government that came to power in the midst of critical circumstances on the Guyanese society and politics, and that had very high support from the Exxon Mobil for its nomination, its campaign and its arrival at the presidency of Guyana.
From day one, knowing where the provocations came from, I made every effort, every effort, dear brothers of the Armed Forces, to search through word and truth, to dissipate on time and preventively what we already knew, by political and intelligence information, which was a set of actions that were going to be taken against Venezuela, fueling the historic claim of Venezuela for the dispossession of the Essequibo. Long story as you know. We must make an effort because more and more Venezuelans are well informed of what that dispossession was and of the historical evolution in the 19th century, in the 20th century and today in the 21st century.
It is not for lack of diplomatic initiatives, nor for dialogue that anti-Venezuelan declarations were unleashed, because when they declare in this way, they do not do so against President Maduro, they do so against all Venezuela. They do it against history, against our people. But indeed, everything is part of a provocation plan, which has the decided support, the financing of oil transnationals such as the Exxon Mobil, and has the decided support of important power lobbies in Washington and in US power agencies, including the Pentagon.
A provocation plan, brothers and sisters, has been activated against Venezuela, and it is our duty to show the strongest union of the Venezuelan nation to send a clear message that allows us to overcome these scenarios of violence, confrontation, conflict that have been activated against our country, from abroad.
The president of Guyana says, just days before the Caricom: “Guyana, when approaching the 50th anniversary of its independence (next year 2016), still carries a monkey on its back (referring to Venezuela). That burden is the unbearable weight of an oppressive and offensive claim on our land and marine spaces.
The border of Guyana with Venezuela was fixed 116 years ago, it was determined, it was defined, it was delineated, it was demarcated by international arbitrators …”; I add, in an award, called the Paris Award of 1899, which Venezuela has considered and we consider null and void, which was imposed with the Monroe Doctrine on our country. We declare it once again: the Paris award for Venezuela is void, it is an irony.
And the historical claim of our country must be respected when he says: “… Any State, that systematically, cynically and tirelessly seeks to repudiate international agreements, solemnly and undermine the security and sovereignty of another State, must be condemned. The Republic of Venezuela in the last 50 years has become reactionary and increasingly aggressive. ”
This is the systematic campaign by press, radio, television, in the morning, in the afternoon, at night, in Guyana, in other country, in another; everyday. It is a campaign of intrigues, of hate. Its objective is to divide us, it is to lead us to a conflict of high intensity to destroy the Caribbean union, the Latin American union that has worked so hard for more than a century in our region. And bring war to our borders, to our land. It is the supreme, maximum objective of this strategy that has been unleashed by the Exxon Mobil and the Pentagon through this puppet president of the Exxon Mobil in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
It is not a small thing, gentlemen of the opposition, it is not a small thing, because I suddenly see a face of disenchantment. I come to ask for your support too, because it is the Homeland of Venezuela that is at stake; it is the peace of Venezuela that is at stake; It is the sovereignty of our country that belongs to all of us.
This is not a matter of elections; This is not a color issue; This is not a match issue; This is an issue of the entire nation. This is a subject that I separate from the internal political confrontation, I separate it from the electoral confrontation, I separate it from the differences that we have, of a political, economic model; It is a subject that I separate. It is a subject in which I summon the best Venezuelan, nationalist, pacifist, humanist, patriotic feeling.
Says the president of Guyana, who has five weeks in the government, attacking Venezuela every day – I am not going to read the foreign minister’s statements because I think we do not deserve to spread so much offense, so much grievance, so much contempt, so much racism of the chancellor of Guyana against our beloved and noble people. Beyond the differences we may have, we have a noble, great people, a loving people, it is the people of Bolívar–: “The Republic of Venezuela in the last 50 years has become reactionary (he integrates us all). This country continues (says) threatening the development of Guyana, both on land and at sea, a member State of the Caricom. Venezuela, aware of its superior wealth and its military and naval power, in view of the plight of the poor people of one of the smaller states, tries to victimize itself. Has resorted once again to intimidation with the threat of the use of force…”
This is very serious for a President to say. Venezuela has never threatened the use of force, nor will it ever, nor with the people of Guyana, nor with any sister people of our Latin America, the Caribbean or this world. Venezuela is a country of peace, pacifist, spiritual and doctrinarily pacifist. But it is serious, because it is climbing. In international politics, language is very important, because it is presenting scenarios and scaling scenarios, and this is an intoxicated discourse of violence and hate, of a provocateur – without a doubt – a provocateur; who knows how to use language to offend, to hurt, to stain.
If there is something to recognize to Commander Hugo Chávez, it is that as President of the Republic since 1999 he began a new era of relations with the Caribbean, and particularly with the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, without neglecting, or abandoning a millimeter of historical claims for the spoil made by the British Empire against our country.
In the face of this aggression we have made diverse efforts in the diplomatic field. The aggression has done nothing but to increase the attacks, the insults towards our people.
That is why I have made the decision, and I ask for the unanimous support of the whole decent country, nationalist, patriotic, of all Venezuelans, for a set of political, diplomatic actions, to stop this provocateur; to stop the provocation, and to look for a point of direction and reorientation of the political and diplomatic relations with the government of Guyana, and a process of repositioning of the just and legal claim for the Essequibo of Venezuela.
That is why I have decided to call the ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Guyana, to reduce the size and level of our Embassy in Guyana. And I have ordered the Foreign Ministry to make a comprehensive review of relations with the current government of Guyana.
I ask for all the support of the country; I ask for the support of this National Assembly.
Now, it is not enough to give our vote of friendship, of sincere respect to all the people of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. They have in us a brother town, a Caribbean, South American town, a brother people. That for dignity, I am sure that if our message arrives, it will be understood by the heart of the humble, and the people of Guyana, for dignity we have to react and defend the justice of our peace policy and diplomacy, knowing what is behind , knowing what is sought by encouraging this conflict.
You know this is a long conflict, right? There is a set of experts present. I do not intend to replace their knowledge, or their role as experts, but everyone should know, especially our children, our youth, that the dispossession of the Essequibo has marked our country for two centuries or more. It is certainly an inheritance, it is a wound that we have inherited from the old British colonialism. Are we going to ignore that we are the victims of dispossession? A painful wound, because it was also done with arrogance and the typical arrogance of empires, especially the British one, taking advantage of the weaknesses our country had during the nineteenth century, after a war that physically destroyed our country, and after the treason and the division of Gran Colombia, an American power that was born from the sword of the Liberator Bolivar.
The British Empire has used throughout the nineteenth century and then in the twentieth century, the Monroe Doctrine, to impose the dispossession on us, grave dispossession.
I would like to share briefly with you, knowing that the Foreign Policy Commission, the National Assembly, the different bodies, the media, Ministries of Education, Culture, and Communes, we have to make an effort in the universities, a broad effort of Knowledge of this story. The history of the Esequibo, we could say, is the history of the diplomacy of imperial plunder in the world. Therefore, from generation to generation, from government to government, it has been a meeting point.
In the nineteenth century, liberals, conservatives; in the twentieth century, from Gómez, Cipriano Castro, Isaías Medina Angarita, Marcos Pérez Jiménez and the successive governments of Democratic Action and Copei, by Raúl Leoni, Rómulo Betancourt, Rafael Caldera, Carlos Andrés Pérez, Luis Herrera Campíns, Rafael Caldera later, Jaime Lusinchi, with one or another point of tension or attention, has always been a national cause, a just cause.
We could see here some elements that have been presented and will be presented over the next few weeks and months in all the international organizations that we are going to activate to see this battle for the peace and sovereignty of the country. We will go to all the organizations: the UN, the Celac, the Unasur. We have already activated some of them.
Notice, this was the map of Venezuela, of the United Provinces of Venezuela, it is the map made by Agustín Codazzi, 1810, which reflects what were the territories of the Captaincy General of Venezuela, created by mandate of the King of Spain an 8 September 1777. Very good. This is the map, the Province of Caracas, and for the moment the border boundary of Venezuela was always the Esequibo River, the Guiana, the Province of the Guiana Esequiba.
Our Constitution says, in a customary manner, that the territory of Venezuela is composed of the territory that was part of the General Captaincy of Venezuela before the political transformations of April 19, 1810.
There is a lot of documentation about this, Venezuela presented them at the Paris Award meetings and they were unknown because simply, as you will see now, Venezuela had no voice or vote in the Paris Award and it was imposed to us due to imperial interests, being absolutely null.
Here is another map taken from the historical archives, map of Gran Colombia, that of Bolívar. One sees this map and does not stop getting excited, because when we were born to the world, we were born as a power, and the betrayal of petty oligarchies led us to be dependent countries, on our knees, sacked by empires throughout the 19th and the 20th century . That is why Venezuela has to return, within the framework of Latin America and the Caribbean, to be a respected power: politically, morally, economically and at all levels.
In these worlds of power nobody respects the weak, nobody respects the coward, nobody respects the one on his knees. It only respects the worthy, the one standing, the one who is strong by his own nature, by his own spirit.
Look how beautiful this map is: Geographical, statistical and historical map of Colombia. This is one of a map of those English speaking worlds. Where do they speak English and drew maps? In London. Look at Colombia, how they drew it. Colombia was the former United Provinces of Venezuela, New Granada and Quito, and we always reach the Essequibo, there is no doubt about that in the founding of Venezuela, Colombia and then in the re-foundation of Venezuela in 1830. Venezuela always exercised, the United Provinces of Venezuela, in the days of Cologne and in the days of Independence, exercised undisputed, full sovereignty over the Essequibo territory.
Look at this beauty, immense geopolitical territory, an Atlantic, Caribbean, Amazon, Pacific, Central American, South American, Andean country. The times will return, they will return, as a song says, the times will return, it is the only thing that will return; Gran Colombia will return, it will return; Bolivar will return, they will return, you will see, we will see it. We have to become the builders of the liberators’ dream.
Here is the other map, already of Agustín Codazzi, 1830, equal, here it is then, Colombia, the United, Colombia the power, Colombia that of Bolívar, Colombia that of dreams, Colombia the union of republics, Colombia the nation of republics. 1830, fateful year with the murder of Sucre, the death of Bolívar, then came the stab of the betrayal which ended Colombia, the United, that of Bolívar. And here it is, the full exercise until the Esequibo River, without a doubt.
Likewise, another map, from Codazzi, on Venezuela, 1840, fully up to the Esequibo. 1777-1811, United Provinces of Venezuela, 1811; at least until this map of 1840. All this material has been part of a set of historical materials that Venezuela has consigned and we will continue defending before the international instances that have duly decided to take this case.
Now, it is the British Empire who initiates a maneuver to seize, to occupy, marking this territory historically ours. In 1835 the first attempt to occupy this space is known, but why? Simply, by a geopolitical reaction. Colombia had separated; our countries were internally dismembered; Venezuela was deeply weakened in all aspects of the economy, of society, a dictatorship had been imposed, that of Páez, with a vision, that we could call today, that we could compare with the extreme vision of wild neoliberalism; a weakened country that dissolved its Liberating Army, which stripped the soldiers who arrived from Junín and Ayacucho from the lands that Bolívar had given to them; without any moral, with armies that responded to caudillos and landowners.
The British Empire, seeing the weakness of what had emerged before as a power, seeing our division, began to keep an eye on several objectives, one of them the Falkland Islands, which our Argentine brothers defend in historical battle and I am sure that sooner than later, the Falkland Islands will be recovered through dialogue and international law, by the Argentine people.
There are enough documents – hopefully in this national debate we can instruct our people, inform them, educate them – enough documents that shows how, in an early way, that imperial diplomacy, that center of power that was London in the world, visualized the strategic objectives to capture the Orinoco, and then to conquer all the lands upwards until the Meta.
In historical documents, made by these same planners that I am going to show you now, these same planners talked about reaching Bogotá to conquer all these lands with their wealth.
Here I have a chronology that I think is very useful. We try to make some materials that will simplify this first exhibition to spark a debate that allows us to consolidate our historical claim and consolidate peace. 1824, we put as a reference, the British line of recognition of the territory of Gran Colombia. Here is the official British recognition line from Colombia, formerly United Provinces of Venezuela and then Republic of Venezuela.
In 1835, the British Empire hired a naturalist geographer with the surname Schomburgk, Prussian, German, merchant, naturalist, so that he could come to keep an eye on this entire region. For you to see the history of this dispossession. It is Schomburgk who prepares for the Royal Geographical Society of London and Colonial Office, Ministry of Colonies, which existed, I am not inventing, British Ministry of Colonies, produces a first map (1835) and a first report where he puts his eye on the Orinoco. It would be very long to read it here. This is the Schomburgk Line and the British Empire on the map takes the first step, the original Schomburgk line, to take the western bank of the Esequibo.
In 1840 a second map is made. If the first map was intended to incorporate 4,920 square kilometers of Venezuelan territory, the second map, already drawn by Schomburgk, swallows 141,930 square kilometers. This is the second line. The purple line you see here, the first one is the brown one, is the Schomburgk line (1835) and the purple line is the Schomburgk line of 1840. In 1841 the Venezuelan minister Alejo Fortique makes a claim to the British Government, but it is a weak government of the landowner oligarchy, a divided country, weakened in every way.
In 1850 an agreement is signed between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Venezuela where they undertake not to occupy the disputed territory. I think that was historically the first step of occupation by the British, to sign an agreement here, in our house, but we are not invited. The weaknesses of a country that was no longer a country, that had lost the original dream of the Liberator, that had lost its original moral. Then, in 1887, a new Schomburgk line was published by the British Empire, where they intended to take 167,830 square kilometers of Venezuelan territory. It is the blue line (on the map).
I’ll say it in other words in order to make myself a liitle clearer for everyone, the British Empire intended to take their dispossession, their outburst, to territories historically occupied by the Venezuelan population, such as Guasipati, Upata, El Callao, Tumeremo; they took their claim even until the banks of the Guri, to control a vast and immense strategic territory for the control of the Orinoco and the wealth of our Guiana Essequiba.
In 1895, the Government of the United States, with the Monroe Doctrine, approved in a Congress, a statement warning the Government of his majesty, the Government of London, that the United States would not allow No illegal occupation of territory in Venezuelan Guiana. It was the application of the Monroe Doctrine of America for the Americans. It was no favor that they were doing to us.
We have brought an important material. We were correcting it until an hour ago, because we really want to spread the truth about Venezuela. Because with the truth that we defend, only with the truth is it possible to achieve the historical objectives and preserve the peace of our country, which is the most beautiful and precious thing that we must preserve: the truth.
Let no one come to manipulate, not even our sister nations of the Caribbean, let the people of Venezuela alone! Look at the title we put in the book: The truth about the Esequibo. With the truth everything can be done, everything is achieved. With the truth we have always been able to.
This book has really great, great virtues, one of them is that it is a complete chronology, year by year, of what has been done in relation to the spoil to which our country was subjected.
It is precisely in 1895 when the United States Government, after debate in the US Congress, sends a note from Secretary Richard Olney, on July 20, on behalf of President Grover Cleveland, who has invoked the Monroe Doctrine in the annual message from his Government to the United States Congress, to summon the United Kingdom to undergo an arbitration process in relation to the usurpations they were doing in the territory of Guyana.
This material says, and I think the explanation is perfect: “Secretary Olney’s note, from President Cleveland, was described as a 20-inch cannon… This cannon, by the time, was the most powerful in the world, because of the effect it caused in England. The United States Congress, in 1896, appoints a six-member commission to determine the true limits of British Guiana with Venezuela”.
“America for the Americans.”
The American powers that emerged from the south were divided, our peoples were betrayed, and we were submerged in the worst weaknesses that any government and people in these lands ever had. 19th century, of sorrow, we ended a 19th century weakened, without dignity, without identity. A United States Congress in 1896 decides a commission to determine our limits; the rise of the American empire began.
Years later they would take Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, the Guam Islands, it would begin its expansion in the world, at the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th century.
“That commission – says this book here – with high personalities, David Brewer, judge of the Supreme Court; Richard Alvey, president of the Court of Appeal; Federick Coudert, member of the New York Forum; Daniel Gilman, president of Jhon Hopkins University; and Andrew White, from Cornell University. Hispanic and Latin American law expert Severo Mallet-Prevost was appointed secretary of this commission”. Remember that name, because he was very important after discovering the farce of the Paris Award. “On November 12 of the same year, in 1896, the bases of the Arbitration Treaty to decide the Guayanese question were signed between the United States of America and England”. Venezuela did not exist. “Under pressure from the United States government, they were accepted (I say, they were imposed on our country), the conditions established and no Venezuelan was part, nor would it be an integral part of the Arbitration Court that was going to touch the vital issues of the territory and the life of our country. Two Englishmen, appointed by the United Kingdom, two Americans, appointed by the United States, representing Venezuela”. And a Russian, a member of a court of admiration, of flattery to the Queen of England of that time, a pro-britan in the life of Russia, very flattering of the British Empire. Five members, very objective I should say.
“Venezuela was given a preconceived treaty by London and Washington. On February 2, 1897, the Washington Arbitration Treaty was signed. Under pressure from the United States and Great Britain, Venezuela was forced to accept the disadvantageous conditions of that arbitration. That same year, the Venezuelan Congress ratified the award that it founded, created the arbitration described above. Each jurist presented their allegations with documents and annexes, Venezuela presented three volumes, plus an atlas with sufficient evidence of sovereign possession over Venezuelan Guiana. Great Britain presented seven more volumes and an atlas as well and from there on there were 54 work sessions and appeals of four hours each. Between the months of July and October 1899, the Arbitration Tribunal met in the city of Paris. Great Britain was represented by four English advisers and Venezuela by four North American advisers. The deliberations lasted 13 days, and on October 3, 1899, an unfortunate date for the history of our country, the Arbitration Court issued a unanimous decision, known as the Arbitration Award of Paris, to settle the territorial demarcation of the boundary between the then The United States of Venezuela, and British Guiana, colonial possession of the British Empire. It was an extremely brief decision, this historian describes, without motivation or legal arguments, which merely described the border line approved by this little court, starting at Punta de Playa, about 43 miles east of Punta Barima and Bururuma to continue South along the Amacuro River. This judgment gave Great Britain 90% of the territory in dispute (I would say, in dispossession), claimed by our country. Except for the mouth of the Orinoco and 500 square miles of surrounding lands which were recognized to Venezuela. It was argued that the decision was made to avoid a war, so the judges ruled without taking legal or historical aspects into account”.
Venezuela, then, in 1900, already with the presidency of Cipriano Castro, denounced the Paris Award and began a long, intense, difficult uphill struggle to rescue what the liberators left in possession of Venezuela, the Guyana Esequiba, In front of the British Empire.
At the end of the 20th century, all the Constitutions, including those imposed by dictators such as Juan Vicente Gómez, maintained the concept of the original constitution of 1811, recognizing our territory as the territory that in inheritance belongs to us, when conquering our freedom. On that I have enough material that demonstrates the different conceptual elements, but holding the fundamental definition of July 5, 1811.
In the mid-twentieth century, at the end of the 40s, who had been a member of this arbitral tribunal, Severo Mallet-Prevost, almost at the end of his life, wrote what was known as a confession that came to check what was already an open secret, in Paris, in London, in Washington, in Upata, in Caracas, the illegal, irregular, imperialist way in which Venezuela was deprived from a precious territory for national interests.
This material, of Severo Mallet-Prevost, boys, young people, surely impacted your conscience, one thinks, may be, he left it for its further publication, calling it “After my death”, and so it was published.
The government of Isaías Medina Angarita made a recognition at the time, and said Mallet-Prevost, who was in the interim, knew the secrets of this negotiation and this imperial cast: “While it is true that in the decision, the Court gave Venezuela the most important sector in litigation from a strategic point of view, such as the mouth of the Orinoco, it was unfair to Venezuela and stripped it of a very large and important territory, on which Great Britain did not have, in my opinion, the slightest shadow of law”. It is now for history record.
There a whole debate was opened, 1944. In 1948, Severo Mallet-Prevost dies on December 10, and in 1949, an article appears in The American Journal of International Law on Arbitral Award fraud and that greatly stimulates the debate in Venezuela.
The American empire was already consolidated as a dominant and hegemonic empire in Latin America and the Caribbean, a hegemonic empire almost all over the world, in dispute with the former Soviet Union. But this territory was controlled by governments, economic groups. They used armies and armed forces as forces of occupation, of domination.
When the politicians of “politics” failed him, they used politicians with stars, bayonets, prisons and torture, denaturing the noble military career, which must be, as it is in Venezuela, a noble career to defend the Homeland, to defend integrity territorial, to defend the people, to defend the Constitution, peace and freedom. I proudly say this, as Commander in Chief I feel extremely proud of the Armed Forces that we have, of the Army, the Navy, Aviation, the National Guard, the militia. I thank God that we have, and our Commander Chávez, if you allow me, I thank you from my heart for the work you left behind, in doctrine, in strategic concept, in discipline, in organization and in weapons of our Armed Forces.
“The 50s passed, the government of Macos Pérez Jiménez tried, in the moments of greatest friendship with the United States, to introduce the issue before the Tenth Inter-American Conference of Caracas. You know that the Tenth Conference of 1954 had a central theme: the overthrow of Jacobo Árbenz. Unfortunately, the issue was postponed or not attended sufficiently. Entering the 60s, a situation that merits the study was presented. A first factor, the interest of the British Empire to establish other relations with its former colonies, after the defeat in India with Mahatma Gandhi in front, with a devastating blow, as well as yesterday’s referendum in Greece, are blows that remain generating events, circumstances, impacts in time”.
There are people who believe that, first, the blow has no major influence; but that made the relations of the former British empire to be reformulated. First circumstance: the interest of establishing new types of relations and replacing the old possession and colonial government of the metropolis, London, with its former colonies.
A second important element, there in the 60s, is the arrival of governments that in Venezuela had strong ties with the United States, strong ties. It is not a secret because, recognized by themselves, I do not want to offend anyone here; Romulo Betancourt, Raúl Leoni. Romulo said it after having been founder of the Communist Party of Costa Rica, when he went to the New York Pact, he said: “In Venezuela you cannot govern without the support of Fedecámaras, the high clergy of the Church and the Embassy of States United”. He said it differently, and those ties were used by the government of Rómulo Betancourt and the government of Raúl Leoni, to start introducing the issue of Venezuelan Esequiba Guyana into different world spaces and organizations.
A third element was the lifting of a very important historical movement, unfortunately sidelined, ignored by US and British imperial pressures, Native American movements in the Essequibo who wished that the Essequibo was Venezuelan; They did everything possible so that the Esequibo was attended by Venezuela. And they were ignored for decades. But particularly in those 60s they organized themselves and knocked on the door of political power in Venezuela.
I didn’t bring the book that Elías Jaua lent me, a biography of Miguel Ángel Burelli Rivas. I did not know, he was interim Foreign Minister of Romulo Betancourt when Ignacio Arcaya Sr. held the position of no expulsion of defense of Cuba in the OAS. It is a fairly extensive biography, very interesting. It tells details of things that only he lived in the 40s, 50s and 60s. He was interim chancellor, he had a time, a few months in the government of Romulo Betancourt in this time; then he was always in the foreign service in the Leoni government; later he was a candidate in 68 when Prieto won but they didn’t recognize his victory and was named Gonzalo Barrios as winner. Well that’s part of the story.
And scrutinizing all these historical books, these three conditions were met, among others, and gave a result that should be evaluated. Some people say one thing and some people say another.
In 1962, the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Marcos Falcón Briceño, denounced – on the occasion of the General Assembly of the United Nations – in a historical report very well exposed and finished, the null and unlawful nature of the Arbitration Award of 1899. From this denunciation – As a result of this intervention by Foreign Minister Marcos Falcón Briceño, Chancellor of the government of Rómulo Betancourt–, in 1963 a meeting is held on November 5, 6 and 7, between the Government of Great Britain, Venezuela, and the colonial government of the so-called British Guiana, to start reviewing the issues from our concepts, derived from the dispossession of our Guyana Esequiba, and in journalistic-diplomatic concept the issues related to the dispute.
This was the beginning of a meeting, searching for a path. The interest of the British Empire then was to grant it, to agree on the independence of Guyana and indeed the negotiations conclude with the participation of Venezuela and the signing of the Geneva Agreement.
The Geneva Agreement is signed on February 17, 1966. This agreement was signed by both parties, plus the colonial government of British Guiana, it establishes the mechanisms to initiate a process of treatment of the so-called historical dispute for the Essequibo between the independent Republic of Venezuela and the Republic that was derived from the granting of the independence of Guyana and that already had an interim government.
There is a historical debate on the subject, Burelli Rivas himself says that he should have pressed the non-recognition of independence and the new Republic; there are others who believe that a maximum level was reached because this, is an agreement that in diplomatic terms establishes, based on international law, seeks through diplomatic channels a fair and just agreement.
You have to be in the shoes of those who negotiated, talked and searched for this. Surely, there will be time in the future or in this debate to establish whether it could have been more or less advanced, but what is certain is that since its signature – February 17, 1966 and its publication in the Official Gazette of April 15 of 1966—, this is a binding international agreement for Venezuela and for Guyana that establishes the terms of faithful compliance to channel this historical dispossession that the British Empire made against our Venezuelan homeland.
There are many more elements that will surely arise from the debate, but here is a key element, for example: “We have duplicated in Geneva on the 17th of February, for the Venezuelan government signed the Foreign Minister, Ignacio Iribarren Borges; by the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mitchel Stewart and the Prime Minister of British Guiana then, Forbes Burham” —who was later the leader of the Cooperative Republic— … “given, signed and sealed in the Federal Legislative Palace, in Caracas, on the 13th day of the month of April 1966, year 156 of the Independence and 108 of the Federation. President of the Congress, Luis Beltrán Prieto Figueroa”.
This is the agreement that puts, as they would say in English, “a new beginning” between a Caribbean country that emerged to independence, the Republic, which was later the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, and a historic country, leader of the independence of Latin America, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela today, our homeland. This agreement established a set of elements and mechanisms. It first establishes a conceptual element in Article 5, in its numeral 2 that says, after the 67-year debate: “Venezuela has not accepted nor will it accept that the Exxon Mobil or transnationals come to take possession of a territory that is in dispute, the marine and submarine territory that is in dispute, we cannot allow it, I will not allow that to be carried out because while this agreement is in force, it will constitute a basis to enforce, support or deny a claim of territorial sovereignty in the territories of Venezuela or British Guiana”. He qualifies it that way, it was still British Guiana.
This is very important in the light of international law and the diplomatic effort that we are going to reinforce in all instances; “Nor to create sovereignty rights in these territories, except in those cases when such acts or activities are the result of any agreement reached by the mixed commission and accepted in writing by the Government of Venezuela and the Government of Guyana. No new claim or extension of an existing claim to territorial sovereignty in said territory shall be enforced while this agreement is in force nor shall any claim be asserted, except in the mixed commission while such commission exists”.
Here are the mechanisms. That is why Venezuela has not accepted nor will it accept that the Exxon Mobil or transnationals come to take possession of a territory that is in dispute, the marine and submarine territory that is in dispute. We cannot allow it, I will not allow it.
Please forgive me for the extensive explanation, but I am making a very important summary of two centuries because it is a very important subject. It is a very big responsibility for all of us to bring in peace, and dissipate the provocations, but also to enforce the rights of Venezuela. Nobody is going to make fun of Venezuela’s rights, we can’t allow it.
That is why the Government of Guyana has violated international law consecutively, in word and deed. This government of Guyana has reached the extreme of ignoring the Geneva Agreement, a very serious fact. To this day we could have differences with the governments that have been in Guyana but the Geneva Agreement was always respected as the basis for the peaceful, civilized and diplomatic channeling of this historical dispute that Venezuela will not give up; let no one think that Venezuela will give up its right to recover the Esequibo. I say it to our friends and I say it to our enemies, may nobody aspires for Venezuela to renounce its historical rights to the Esequibo.
Now, everything must be carried out with balance; the fairest idea must be defended correctly and fairly, without falling into provocations. In the life of the States, of the Governments and of the Countries, there are mechanisms for that, humanity has built International Law, has built an international system for relations – like the United Nations system -, the entire network has been built on international agreements and about that, our country has a great experience. Not by chance the issue of the Esequibo has gone from generation to generation, surely some generation did better than another, but everyone fought for what belongs to everyone. Our generation has to be the best of all in the defense of our historical rights and it is not patrioterism, it is not false nationalism, it is not chauvinism, no; It is Bolivarianism.
We love the people of the Caribbean, can anyone doubt it? If even our blood we give for them. No one is given oil here, brother. Do not offend the peoples of the Caribbean. They are sold under conditions of complementarity, solidarity, union and Latin American and Caribbean integration; love, love relationships is what we have, brotherhood, bolivarianism, chavismo the good one, the pure one.
Now, this Government of Guyana – not the people of Guyana -, I’m sorry and I think so, has assumed the criteria of the old British empire against Venezuela. It is not Venezuela that has criteria of aggression or imperialism, never, it is this sector kidnapped by the Exxon Mobil, brothers of Guyana, I say so from Caracas, land of freedom and solidarity. It is this government of Mr. Granger who is kidnapped by Exxon Mobil and it’s looking for a conflict with Venezuela to harm the Caribbean union, the Latin American union and bring to us a serious conflict here at the borders of Venezuela, reviving in the worst imperial style, abusing and ignoring the Geneva Agreement. We could say, remembering Lina Ron, within the Geneva Agreement all, outside the Geneva Agreement nothing. That is our official legal position.
It is not easy, I have received a call from General Vladimir Padrino López and I have received calls from the officers who take care of our borders and there have been provocations months ago, weeks ago. As Commander in Chief I have given you very precise instructions on how to act; it is a sensitive issue because those are provocations that could turn into serious events and then the world media begins – you know how it is – “Maduro is Saddam Hussein”, they say. They have pictures of me in Georgetown – as I have a mustache like that of Saddam Hussein – with Saddam Hussein’s cap, “Maduro is Saddam Hussein”, and I don’t know how many other nonsense, to set the stage. False flags, someone said around here. Mount the false flags. Therefore, wisdom, reason, diplomacy, and the truth to defend our stability, our peace. How many efforts we have made. But the government of Guyana has forced us, and forced me as President, to make the decision to return, to convene a consultation with our ambassador and to make a comprehensive review of all relations with this government of Guyana.
And in addition, I will proceed to communicate directly and personally with the Secretary General, our friend Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations Organization, to convene as soon as possible a meeting under the Geneva Agreement between the parties and move forward in the definition of the next good officiant mechanism.
I am making an effort, deputies, I apologize for taking so long throughout this intervention, I am making a great effort because indeed between 1966 and 2015 there were various events. “In 1970 – product of the American pressures against President Rafael Caldera to ignore his presidency, pressures of different sign that history will leave for posterity, Chancellor Aristides Calvani signed what was called and applied at the time the Protocol of Port of Spain, signed in Trinidad and Tobago on June 18, 1970, four years after the Geneva Agreement. This Protocol of Port of Spain froze, suspended the application of the Geneva Agreement for twelve years”.
“In 1981, a year before this international agreement expired, President Luis Herrera Campíns officially announced to Guyana his willingness not to renew it and to activate the mechanisms of the Geneva Agreement, fact that happened precisely. Venezuela proposed at the time a direct negotiation with Guyana, Guyana declined to accept and proposed three alternatives: take the issue to the UN General Assembly, take it to the UN Security Council or to the International Court of Justice”.
“In the year 1983, on the initiative of Venezuela, the case of the Essequibo was brought under the auspices of the Secretary General of the United Nations in accordance with the provisions of article 4, numeral 2 of the agreement and attached to article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations, which establishes mechanisms for the diplomatic solution of conflicts in the world. On March 30 of that same year, the Secretary General of that time, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, accepted the responsibility of seeking a practical settlement of this controversy and appointed Diego Cordobés in charge of studying Venezuela’s claim and serving as contact between both governments”.
“In 1987 Guyana and Venezuela decided by mutual agreement to accept the Good Offices method, which is activated two years later, starting in 1989. The good officiant, since that date we have had three good officiants: the first appointed in 1989, unfortunately He died in 1998; – in general, they are magistrates, law scholars, historians, and sometimes of a high age – in the year 1998 Alister McIntyre died; Then another was appointed in the year 1999, with the arrival of President Chavez’s government and by mutual agreement, which is the method for his appointment. Names are proposed in consultation with the secretary general and by mutual agreement, the good officiant Oliver Jackman is appointed, who died in 2007”; Then, I remember when I was Foreign Minister, we spent three years looking for a Good Officiant.
Until we managed to designate an honorable man of history, Jamaican, Professor Norman Girvan, appointed in 2010, who unfortunately died in April 2014.
I am personally going to communicate with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, to activate the designation of the Good Office based on the Geneva Agreement. It is the Geneva Agreement, the Good Office mechanism is the way for Guyana, the current Government, respecting international law, sits at the table to continue the search for a satisfactory, legal, practical solution, and Venezuela can satisfy historically this fair claim for this spoil.
Likewise, I have decided – and I ask for support from the National Assembly, the Judiciary, the Moral Power and the Electoral Power – to convene a high-level commission of the Venezuelan State, which immediately asks for the pro tempore presidency of the Community of Latin American States (Celac), in the direction of President Rafael Correa, that the Celac convene a dialogue meeting between the Government of Guyana and the Government of Venezuela with the presence of the pro tempore presidency.
And in addition, prosecutors, magistrates, Ombudsman, deputies, Foreign Policy Commission and the experts of our Armed Forces are deployed, under the leadership of the executive Vice-president, comrade Jorge Arreaza, and Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez, to immediately deploy an intense, deep tour, of the State’s highest level of representation, to all the countries of the Caribbean, Latin America and South America, to explain the justice of the Venezuelan cause and to clear the lies that have been spread.
These are initiatives in the diplomatic field for which I expect maximum support, my hope is the unanimous support of the National Assembly. I do not say my hope, the hope of an entire country. Likewise, you know that recently – throughout this process of defense, surveillance of our territorial, marine, submarine spaces – an administrative decree was drawn, eminently administrative, technical, creating the Integral Maritime Defense Zones of our country; a decree with the mandate of our Constitution. I have to say, this Constitution includes the most complete and finished doctrine that historically and constitutionally hve been accumulated as heritage to the country. But I think – I think so, and I submit this criterion to historians, to constitutionalists – that it is the most complete constitution in the definition of Venezuelan territory, that has been done. It was done with a great debate, I remember it perfectly.
This interim administrative decree has been used by a brutal campaign of manipulation, cheating in all countries. It is an interim administrative decree that has the mark of the Constitution, it cannot be otherwise. The Constitution establishes, Chapter I: Of the territory and other geographical spaces. Article 10: “The territory and other geographical areas of the Republic are those that corresponded to the General Captaincy of Venezuela before the political transformation initiated on April 19, 1810, with the modifications resulting from the treaties and arbitration awards not vitiated by nullity”.
It is a key element that was placed in the constitutional doctrine.
Then Article 11 states: “The full sovereignty of the Republic is exercised in the continental and insular, lake and river spaces, territorial sea, interior, historical and vital marine areas and those included within the straight baselines that have adopted or adopt the Republic; the soil and subsoil of these; the continental, insular, maritime and airspace and the resources found therein, including the genetic ones, those of the migratory species, their derived products and the intangible components found by natural causes there”.
The article is extensive, but precise; I would say more than accurate, perfect is this article of the Constitution of 1999.
“The insular space of the Republic includes the Los Monjes archipelago, Las Aves archipelago, Los Roques archipelago, La Orchila archipelago, La Tortuga island, La Blanquilla island, Los Hermanos archipelago, Margarita islands, Cubagua and Coche, Los Frailes archipelago, La Sola Island, Los Testigos Archipelago, Patos Island and Aves Island; and, in addition, the islands, islets, keys and banks located or emerging within the territorial sea, in which it covers the continental shelf or within the limits of the exclusive economic zone”.
The first concept of our highest court of justice establishes very clearly a political criterion of State, constitutional, of doctrinal and legal order. It tells me, as Head of State: “In this decree, whose purpose is not border delimitation, the obligation of the State is invoked on the adoption of necessary measures to guarantee the independence, sovereignty, security and integrity of the geographical space, on the basis of the national strategic defensive conception…” National! When we talk about national defensive conception, it is in the vital spaces of a country, according to its legally established limits, according to international law, not imperial law.
Look, the campaign is brutal. Perhaps in one’s daily duties there is not enough time left to know how they are creating conditions in the world, our world, for a great conflict involving Venezuela. That is why it is not whatever thing, that is why I insisted so much on the need to do this work session, and I insist a thousand times on the need to create the national union to defend the peace and sovereignty of our country.
Later, this statement says the recommendations: “Consequently, it is suggested that the State Council submit recommendations to the citizen President of the Republic so that together, in the institutional concert of the National Public Power, the content and scope of said decree, regarding the delimitation by means of coordinates of the geographic space of the Republic, be technically verified. Regarding the jurisdictions of the Integral Maritime and Insular Defense Zones (Zodimain) under the Circumscription of the (Redimain), Maritime and Insular Integral Defense Regions, in the context of the periodic review of our territorial boundaries that make up the political territorial unit of the Republic, and that describes the democratic and social State of law, of justice, which constitutes the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”.
Likewise, the Supreme Court of Justice says: “Consulted on this matter of such national and regional importance, due to the importance of the aforementioned matter, it is considered pertinent that the objectives contained in the decree in question prior to the recommended technical verification are included, for example, the decree with the rank, value, and force of the Law of the Organic Law of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, or beyond is embodied in another text of legal rank that could even be a law decree based on the current Enabling Law that develops the principles contemplated in the Preamble and in Chapter I and II of the Bolivarian Constitution …”
The Supreme Court opens channels, so that you can see how an element that you have tried to use negatively against our country opens up new paths for the ratification of our sovereignty, and to perfect the defense through the Armed Forces and all the institutions.
“In consideration to the foregoing, the wise regulation proposed by the National Executive in this matter of great national importance is reiterated, which for such a sensitive importance could be elevated to an instrument of legal rank, which increases the full validity and protection of the aforementioned constitutional postulates in the integral development of the nation”.
In that sense, once the consultation duly made before the Supreme Court of Justice is known, and making the necessary set of evaluations, I have decided, in effect, to elevate the entire contents of this Decree 1,787 to the Council of State and the Supreme Court of Justice.
Meanwhile, taking the constitutional and justice doctrinal criteria of our country’s claim, I have decided to issue a new decree that replaces Decree 1,787 in all its parts and as of today would be Decree 1,859 that sets all the constitutional legal and doctrinal elements legally established.
I have given the order to the Admiral in Chief, Carmen Meléndez, to publish this new Decree 1,859 early tomorrow.
The times of the abuses and the influences of these oligarchies ended here, thanks to God and the Virgin, and the Bolivarian Revolution. This President that you see standing here does not depend on any Bogota oligarchy, nor anyone in the world that gives me orders, that intimidates me, that manipulates me.
I say this because in fact I have very good relations, in this case, with President Santos, and we have a fluid relationship with the Foreign Ministry, beyond differences. That sometimes the Colombian Foreign Ministry makes the mistake of falling into microphone diplomacy, I immediately call and tell the chancellor, “call the Colombian Foreign Minister and tell him that we have an agreement, which must be respected, zero microphone diplomacy”. If you have a question about any subject, we will speak directly. If the doubt is very big, the chancellor goes there, or the chancellor comes here. If the doubt is bigger, I go to Bogotá, or to Cúcuta. Or the President comes here if there is any doubt.
Our relations with Colombia are based on respect for international law. There is now a campaign in Bogotá to try to corner President Santos against me, against Venezuela. If I start reading everything I have here of what is said every day in Bogotá about me, about us … about Diosdado. OMG! The magazine Semana. Who does the magazine Semana respond to? I ask someone who knows Colombian issues well. Who do you respond to? Who do all these televisions respond to? I tell you from here, President Santos, we must maintain the best relations of respect for international law, of respect between our countries, beyond the ideological differences, we must continue to persevere in relations of direct dialogue, of cooperation.
I ask Venezuela, I ask you who have friends in Bogotá too, in Colombia. Do you imagine that in the press, television and radio of Venezuela President Santos be attacked every day? That our most influential media be devoted to speak badly about Colombia, and to say whatever things, which I will not say here, because I have a lot of love and respect for Colombia.
If I were to see the former president Uribe, I would shake his hand, quietly, then I would wash my hands with holy water. I talked a lot with Uribe when I was chancellor, long hours, because it was always my turn to pick him up at La Guaira and we had time to talk in the road to Caracas; he also had long hours meetings with President Chavez, sometimes up to seven hours talking about the issues of peace in Colombia. Uribe wanted Comandante Chávez to go to the mountains of Colombia to talk to Commander Marulanda, and that once he was with Marulanda and convinced him to start the peace talks, he would appear there in the jungle. Uribe proposed that to Commander Chávez and Chávez agreed and was going to do it.
Among many things, I have many secrets and I will not die with those secrets, someday I will write them down. I have evidence on all this; but that we allow that a campaign of hatred against a brother town is made, or against political leaders, no. In Colombia, billions of pesos are dedicated to conspire against me, against Venezuela, to conspire against us. Do not even believe that what they do to me, they are not doing to you, the opposition, because I am also your President. I am President of this country and I am a citizen just like you. Some of you are my acquaintances and could even be my friends, some of you.
Who benefits from this type of policy or events, if they were to be installed as a scenario? Who benefits from it? The people of Venezuela? The people of Colombia? The peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean? Nobody. Who benefits from it? The enemies of our country. These are issues that we must carry out and, with the truth, dissipate, with serenity, with certainty, with firmness, with diplomacy, with clarity, with noble gestures, on the level of diplomacy.
That is why I have come to this Assembly, to bring this set of themes. Where else will I go if it is not the most sovereign representation of the popular will, here in the National Assembly, our National Assembly, plural, diverse! I have come to invoke in your heart the cause of peace and sovereignty of our country, to knock on the door of your heart, to defend peace, the right to peace that our people have, the right to sovereignty, to defend our Constitution, to defend international law, to continue advancing in the integration union policies of Latin America and the Caribbean. For that I have come.
And I will be here on January 15, taking my 2015 exam and I will surely see some faces that are here and others not, they will go to other tasks. The political rant, the electoral rant, the battle of ideas, the confrontation of positions be welcome.
Sometimes they cross the line a little bit on the debate, according to my appreciation, but well we are among Venezuelans, Caribbean, passionate and natural fighters. But these issues, for the love of God, I tell you, for our people I tell you, let’s take these issues with the greatest commitment, country sensitivity and seriousness. Let’s not take it to the pond of the electoral debate, I beg you.
Beyond the differences, and the circumstances that we face here, the country continues its march, this country is not going to be stoped by anyone, it has its own dynamics, it has its own strength.
I want to present this video, because it is serious. This is a sample of a few minutes, I could show you the complete file we have about the announcement from US spokespersons, in Colombian territory, that the Colombian military force is preparing for a conflict against Venezuela after signing the peace. And I have said, and I am not an innocent in politics, nor in life, but I have said, in spite of that intrigue, our Bolivarian duty, and with your permission, our Chavista duty, is to work and help Colombia in any circumstance to achieve peace and overcome the war, which has bled it for 60 years since Jorge Eliécer Gaitán was killed. Peace, peace, peace for Colombia, is a great American cause, it is a great Bolivarian cause.
Some, I am sure, do not agree with this idea, but that is just what I am saying, and it must be the position of the State, the position of the country, we will take care of the rest; to guarantee that the intrigue does not bear fruit there, to guarantee that the Colombian political class has rationality in its relationship with Venezuela and respects us. And to guarantee that nobody touches Venezuela, that’s what we take care of, that nobody ever touches Venezuela. And that will take care of the Colombian people too, just in case.
Finally, president of the National Assembly, comrade Diosdado Cabello, deputies, magistrates, rectors, presidents, high State officials, leaders of the opposition political parties and the Great Patriotic Pole; Following the recommendation of the Supreme Court of Justice and the analysis of the Council of State, I have found it convenient to enact an enabling law that allows to put order in the face of these multiple provocations, in the face of the attemps to set provocation scenarios to stop the advance of Venezuela, to stop the advance of the Latin American and Caribbean union, to sieze our country, looking to put order in all these issues I am editing, immediately signing an enabling law with the rank, value and force of law to create an institutional presidential commission of the Venezuelan State to to take all the bordering matters of our country with our neighbors in Latin America, the Caribbean, in the cases that are pending, beyond the issue of the Essequibo, of which I have spoken widely today.
This enabling law establishes the creation of a single State Commission with Presidential rank to assume each of these issues. It will have a technical secretariat, this National Presidential Commission, will be directed by the executive Vice-president, comrade Jorge Arreaza, and also convened to participate in the Presidential Commission for Border Affairs to the People’s Power ministers for Foreign Relations, Defense, Office of the Presidency of the Republic, the Attorney General’s Office, the president of the Supreme Court of Justice and a representative appointed by the National Assembly to be the highest level of the State, both of the Judiciary and the Legislative Power. And this Commission allows us to correctly orient ourselves, based on international law, based on constructive bilateral relations, to seek negotiations that allow us to solve all problems.
So I will proceed immediately, with your permission, Mr. President, using the enabling powers for the defense of peace, sovereignty, which you gave me in March when President Obama’s threatening decree against Venezuela took place, you extended the Enabling law until December 31, and as this is the first, in matter of defense of the sovereignty and peace of the country, that I am going to sign on behalf of the people of Venezuela.
Enabling law for peace, for sovereignty, so we complete a set of internal, national, popular and State actions, as well as a set of international actions to guarantee, protect the peace of our country, protect and defend the most just rights, the fight for the historical Esequibo, protect international negotiations in the framework of international law and protect with special care the union of Latin America and the Caribbean union, because our region and our country must continue to walk the roads of construction of the new Latin American and Caribbean power, a power of peace that overcomes the old wounds of colonialism. And don’t let today’s empires fill us with new wounds, intrigues, hate, and much less, war.