CARACAS, Tuesday October 01, 2013 | Update

Warning of "invasion" of Venezuelan shelf by Guyana

Diplomats underscore that no country may discuss ownership of the national coast

Multiple Venezuelan sectors have taken a stance on the matter (File photo)
Tuesday October 01, 2013  10:35 AM
Three Venezuelan ex-diplomats issued a paper warning that "Guyana has granted concessions for oil and gas development in areas located in front of the coast of Delta Amacuro, invading our areas that belong to the delta platform and preventing its access to the free Atlantic."

The paper, signed by Luis Herrera Marcano, Ph.D. in law, retired ambassador and ex-member of the taskforce established apropos the Geneva Agreement; Rosario Orellana Yépez, attorney at law and ex-vice minister of Foreign Affairs, and Sadio Garavini di Turno, Ph.D. in Political Sciences and former Venezuelan ambassador to Guyana, is intended to answer this question: Why are the rights over Venezuela's Atlantic front endangered?

"The territory of Venezuela comprises, in addition to its coasts on the Caribbean Sea, a coast located in front of the open Atlantic Ocean, the coast of Delta Amacuro state," the document explains.

The paper adds that the territory owned by Guyana and disputed by Venezuela is located to the southeast of the coast. It stretches to river Essequibo, the coast of Guyana's territory undisputed by Venezuela and the coast of Suriname come next. Trinidad is to the northeast of the coast of Delta Amacuro.

"Under the international law acknowledged by all the States in the world, the coast of every State includes, beyond the territorial sea of 12 nautical miles (20 kilometers), an exclusive economic zone up to 200 nautical miles off the coast. Only this State is entitled to capitalize on the economic resources of the seabed, the water covering it and the continental shelf that could go beyond 200 miles. In accordance with the international law, it could reach the continental bank. There, the State has the exclusive right to develop subsoil resources," the paper elaborates.

With regard to Venezuela, such bank is over 360 nautical miles off the coast, according to the paper.

Authors remembered that Venezuela already agreed with Trinidad and Tobago, under an agreement executed in 1990, on the sea borderline that separates their respective territories. In such agreement, the projection towards the continental bank is recognized. "Venezuela and Guyana have not even discussed the extent of the sea areas that belong to the coast of Delta Amacuro, the disputed territory or the rest of Guyana," the experts noted. Hence, they warned against the oil concessions granted by Guyana in "the areas that belong to the delta platform."

"Venezuela has not made any public protest to Guyana. Silence could be construed by the rest of the international community as tacit acceptance of Guyana's intentions," the diplomats regretted.

Translated by Conchita Delgado
The end of a cycle

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Brazil on March 13 to demand the ouster of embattled President Dilma Rousseff, carrying banners expressing anger at bribery scandals and economic woes. A banner read "We don't want a new Venezuela in Brazil."