Former negotiator: Guyana is to argue that Venezuela has not interest
Analysts believe that cooperation with Caricom has not reaped diplomatic benefits
On April 4, Guyana said in a letter submitted to Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), that it has no territorial dispute with Venezuela. For its part, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) issued a communiqué last week supporting this position, but the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry remains silent on the issue.
"The Guyanese are very clear. They are preparing a case of estoppel," said Emilio Figueredo, a former Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN in Geneva and former negotiator in the dispute with Guyana.
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, estoppel is "a legal bar to alleging or denying a fact because of one's own previous actions or words to the contrary." It is used in international law and is related to the term acquiescence, which means agreement or consent by silence or without objection.
In other words, if Guyana adheres to the "estoppel" principle, it would argue that Venezuela's official silence means a tacit support to its position and Venezuela can not provide elements to contradict this principle.
Sadio Garavini, a diplomat and former ambassador to Guyana, supports Figueredo's view. "Guyana has taken note of acts and omissions that have occurred throughout these years," he said.
According to Garavini, acts made by the Venezuelan government with regard to this issue have gone to the extreme of making Guyana believe that Venezuela had decided to abandon the claim over the Essequibo.
Venezuela has an extensive cooperation with the Caribbean countries through initiatives such as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and the regional energy and food security agreement Petrocaribe. However, according to analysts, these seeds are not bearing much fruit in the diplomatic arena.
"Venezuela fell into the trap set by the Caricom countries. Venezuelans believed that it could buy them through oil aid," Figueredo said when he referred to the statement submitted by the Caribbean Community supporting the Guyanese position.
Translated by Gerardo Cárdenas
José Vicente Rangel clearly said: "We are not conducting negotiations threatened with a gun in the head." He warned behind closed doors in the midst of the social upheaval occurred during the oil strike in 2002 and 2003. Dissenting Timoteo Zambrano answered back that no other option was available: "The thing is that otherwise, you do not negotiate."