Warning of "invasion" of Venezuelan shelf by Guyana
Diplomats underscore that no country may discuss ownership of the national coast
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
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.