Maduro’s Esequibo Speech: One huge mess (Updated)

CJRlF2aXAAAo0C0After three postponements, Nicolas Maduro finally went to the National Assembly Monday night to deliver his long-awaited “Esequibo speech”.

How was it? It was a three hour-long, rambling, contradictory mess.

The speech showed not only the weak case Venezuela has but the way the government has mismanaged its claim in the last 15 years – and don’t forget, Maduro himself was Foreign Minister from 2006 to 2013 – as well as the fact that it has only been revived thanks mostly to the recent findings of oil reserves under Esequibo waters.

Who’s to blame? ExxonMobil and the Pentagon. But it’s even worst: This is just part of the “political, economic and media campaign against the Bolivarian Republic which wants to create high-intensity conflicts in the country”. What about Guyana? Maduro considered the words of Guyanese President David Granger as “vomitory”. Not joking. He even dared to say that Granger wouldn’t have been elected at all without the assistance of the American oil giant:

ExxonMobil promoted and had a large influence over the campaign of the current Guyanese President, David Granger, who’s a hostage of that oil transnational. That government came to power in the middle of difficult circumstances. It has attacked our people with statements in the last five weeks. This hate campaign, instigated by ExxonMobil, has the objective of dividing us and undermine Latin American integration.”

In the end, what he will do? First up, call the Venezuelan ambassador in Georgetown for consultations, review the size of the delegation established there and order the Foreign Ministry to do “…an integral review of all relations”. Funny that he didn’t mention that days earlier the government pardoned 120 million $ of Guyana’s PetroCaribe debt.

Second, using his Enabling Law powers (yeah, he still has those) he created a new Presidential Commission to deal with all border disputes and replacing the controversial decree 1.787 from late May with a new one (1.859), in order to establish Defense Zones in disputed waters. Behind the changes are “consultations” made to both the Supreme Court and the Council of State.

However, Colombian President J.M. Santos is quite happy about the new decree, given that the old one involved what his country considers as territorial waters and the new one doesn’t.

Third, he requested to the United Nations’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to meet both sides and activate the Good Offices method to settle the conflict. Back in March, Guyana announced that it decided to drop out of this process. Over the weekend, Ki-Moon met in Barbados with President Granger, with the Esequibo affair front and center.

The first reaction from the Cooperative Republic to Maduro’s speech came from Granger himself: “Not surprised by that because he (Maduro) has been confronted with rejection of his Decree by the entire Caribbean Community so he is just increasing the isolation of his government from the region”.

Before that, he was doing its diplomatic homework at the CARICOM Summit last weekend: President Granger said on Thursday that “Gunboat diplomacy has no place in the 21st Century Caribbean, and must be condemned wherever it occurs” and called for solidarity from his regional colleagues. Venezuelan VP Jorge Arreaza was also present in the summit, as the B.R. of V. is one of the eight observant nations of the Caribbean Community.

In the end, even if CARICOM’s statement on the issue recognized “…the longstanding, deep and wide-ranging friendship between CARICOM and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”, it still supported Guyana by stating that:

Heads of Government called for adherence to accepted principles of international law in relation to the delineation and delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf in the region. CARICOM states do not accept any unilateral proclamation which is inconsistent with international law…

They emphasized that CARICOM states have legitimate territorial and maritime entitlements that conform to international law and that must be respected.”

Individually, the Prime Minister of Barbados Freundel Stuart and Trinidad and Tobago’s PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar were more vocal in backing Guyana’s stance. Looks like that “oil-for-TP” deal wasn’t quite effective as expected…

Even if Maduro insisted during his speech in recovering the Esequibo by peaceful means, his subsequent actions are more inclined to increase the conflict with Guyana. How? Making it all about “ExxonMobil’s lackey” David Granger.

UPDATE: During a “special” interview with Telesur last night, Maduro doubled down on his accusations against Granger and ExxonMobil and affirmed that the Esequibo is filled with “mercenaries and paramilitary groups”. How original…

31 thoughts on “Maduro’s Esequibo Speech: One huge mess (Updated)

  1. Seems the loss of the Esequibo will become an albatross around Chavismo’s neck, even this idiocy was started by AD in the 1960s!

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  2. Maduro is just picking a fight to see if it helps his popularity.
    Let me get this straight–

    Venezuela already has the largest oil reserves of any country on the planet, yet they feel a need to steal El Esequibo and its oil from neighboring Guyana.

    Venezuela is not providing nutrition, medical care, and security to its people, yet it wants to move scarce funds to fight a war with a non-belligerent country.

    Major conflicts are happening around the World, yet UN leader Ban Ki-moon has to take time to settle an issue based more on Maduro’s ego than fact.

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    • Political and electoral issues aside, this new-found oil is of the lightweight type. That’s enough reason to crave it.

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  3. “He even dared to say that Granger wouldn’t have been elected at all without the assistance of the American oil giant”

    What a sincericidio from Maduro…

    Maduro’s just admitted that oil giants like PDVSA are the best canvassers; the best way to distort democracy on behalf of a lucky few in oil curse-prone countries… Yes, Maduro, you are right!

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  4. What struck me about the presidential allocution is how grotesquely theatrical and bombastic it was , how full of buffoonish soap opera gestures , the customary crude barrage of insults substituting for any type of reasoned discourse or argument . The operatically bellicose tone of the speech. Suspect they even made the presidential sash bigger to bring out the garishness of Maduros televised apperance. .

    For 15 years they absolutely neglected to pay any attention to the dispute bent as they were in wooing with the countries oil and unctous flattery the sympathies of the Caricom group to use in creating a favourable scenario for the narcicistic messianic leader appearance in international forums. and now that the fat hits the fire they confront it with an elaborate farcical Spectacle .

    There may be valid reasons for Venezuela to uphold a presence in the Atlantic waters adjoining the Orinoco Delta , very professional international experts for years in the past have studied the matter from a Venezuelan perspective . Their work deserved some attention but the regime was only interested in pursuing its corrupt and partisan agenda.

    Dont think the posible existence of oil in these disputed waters (whose problematic commerciality is yet to be established) should be the main motive for defending whatever rights might assist Venezuela in these marine areas. The claim should be pursued in its own merits .

    I wonder whether the regime would have mounted this ridiculous spectable if they did not fear the use the oppo would make of the matter to further deteriorate the govts already very worn down populirity .

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    • Chavismo has no fear of the opposition, specially the MUD.

      Chavismo fear is infighting and defection.

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  5. Pulling the stupid Patriotic, Nationalism card and the External Enemy excuses are nothing new. Works particularly well when the Galactic Turds that must be concocted are cheered by hordes of under-educated masses in Third World populaces.

    Staying in line with our shameful “vomitory” level, gotta resort to Dollar Today’s habitual finesse:

    “¡EXXON EXTRAERÁ NUESTRO PETRÓLEO EN EL ESEQUIBO! Guyana mandó a Maduro Pa´l carajo!!”

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  6. Monroe At the end of the 1800″s Venezuela was almost no country and asked the US for help invoking the Monroe Policy – America for the Americans. US participated indirectly by being in the settlement commitee and behind doors asked the UK to stop their abuse. The original plans were to have the English own the Orinoco River Delta, so it seems if it weren{2t for the US the Orinoco River would not be in Venezuela.

    Javier

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    • That’s the way I read the history on this. But, everyone seems to have their own spin on the facts. For the last sixty years, Venezuelans have been taught a very different version of history that emphasizes certain facts and de-emphasizes other facts. In speaking to Venezuelans about this issue, I often find it very difficult to have a rational conversation. It is just too emotional for them.

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      • I agree, it took me over a decade to come to terms with this. The official Venezuela maps and postage stamps from the 1930s(showing the Esequibo as part of Guyana) sealed the deal for me.

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      • Not emotional enough to the insane degree of Argentinians and their Falklands/Malvinas issue. Trust me, I’ve been through it and Venezuelans are tame in comparison.

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  7. Chavez in 2004 said in effect that Venezuela would not block the (few Guyanese) inhabitants of parts of the Essequibo from seeking their livelihood there, and, since then, Guyana began the process of eventually granting oil concession blocks, including to the Chinese, with full Venezuelan cognizance, while “lending” Guyana more than PetroCaribe $ 500mm, all with the blessing of the Castros. Now, Maduro’s response, more from pressure from what’s left of the few decent Venezuelan Military, is to create certain “Sovereignty Defense Zones”, which COULD be effective if really physically defended (hopefully, but doubtfully, unfortunately), plus a never-ending group of commisions, which will simply talk, with no action, while the Guyanese oil exploration continues, under the complacent eyes of the “hermano” chulo Caricom, et. al. nations, and the Castros.

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  8. If you hadn’t expropriated nearly 2 billion dollars of their assets, maybe ExxonMobil wouldn’t be so pissed. Heheh.

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  9. there has bee no “recent findings of oil reserves under Esequibo waters”
    the current discovery is quite a distance off the coast of Essequibo county in the atlantic ocean
    even with an embassy and cultural propaganda unit in Guyana, maduro has a poor grasp of reality here. and if the ambassador has been recalled, why is she still in Guyana?
    by the way in English it’s eSSequibo

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  10. I wonder if blaming ExxonMobil, that, “oil transnational,” is Maduro’s way of being nicey-nicey to the USA?
    And why was the speech postponed so many times? Maybe lots of rewrites to get rid of the rants against the U.S. imperialist elites?

    Maybe the romance is still on.

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  11. Their speech is esquizophrenic, on the one hand they blame the Pentagon ( yes it was mentioned) as conspiring against Venezuela together with Guiana and on the other they take chummy photos with smiley faces with State Department representatives. Go figure !!

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  12. Esequibo aside, picking a fight against an big multinational corporation is a propaganda gold mine for any populist regime.
    With that said, I think that our claim on Esequibo is valid and we should not give it up just yet. But given the state of our country and the quality of the goverment we have there is simply no hope for a serious discussion about it, everything getting said is just bullshit.

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  13. The bus driver has a now-standard position that is starting to wear a little thin – that Venezuela is the victim of rapacious imperialist thieves (half-true, incidentally) and that anyone who does not side with the bus driver on any issue is a “lacky” to these thieves – in this instance, David Granger is ExxonMobil’s lackey. If you take a side contrary to the bus driver, he will never accord you the dignity of making up your own mind, but rather, your mind was hoodwinked by the imperialists. Of course the bus driver himself is NOT and never will be the imperialist’s lacky, and he stands heroic as Simon B. in this regards.

    Except it’s all bollocks and the real victim here is the Republic of Venezuela which has suffered greatly at the hands of a man and a government greatly overmatched by the realities of running a country in 2015.

    JL

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  14. The claim isn’t weak, it doesn’t exist. The arbitration was in 1899. Venezuela issued protest in 1962. International claims laps after 50 years, here 63 have passed.

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    • After Venezuela gets laughed out of international arbitration can we breathe easy some wayward officer in the armed forces wont take matters into his own hands? or whatever govt comes later?

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      • of this you can be sure. Diodi, with backing with Pope Raúl, won’t allow another to take matters into his own hands. They didn’t coin the phrase ‘civic-military union’ for the good of their health. Maduro sleeps like a baby.

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  15. > Even if Maduro insisted during his speech in recovering the Esequibo by peaceful means, his subsequent actions are more inclined to increase the conflict with Guyana. How? Making it all about “ExxonMobil’s lackey” David Granger.

    The Venezuelan opposition’s stance is that Granger’s position represents the whole country of Guyana.

    How does singling out Granger and Exxon Mobil “increase the conflict”?

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  16. In reading this, I was reminded of a political term I had not thought of in for awhile: Jingoism

    Jingoism is patriotism in the form of aggressive foreign policy. Jingoism also refers to a country’s advocacy for the use of threats or actual force, as opposed to peaceful relations, in efforts to safeguard what it perceives as its national interests. Colloquially, it refers to excessive bias in judging one’s own country as superior to others—an extreme type of nationalism.

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  17. The regime is hemorraging from a thousand cuts , the esequibo is just another cut , if Maduro doenst play the offended patriot he loses popularity with his own supporters and makes himself the easy target of the opposition if on the other on he takes on Guiana he loses a much needed diplomatic traction with Caricom . they are between two hard places , not counting the many crisis they are facing on so many fronts, how should we interpret. their decision to start taking out what they have in the IMF , this is really sign of desperation as it confronts the specter of default in sept and oct.

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  18. Did he mention the oil discovery was the work of a joint venture between Exxon and a Chinese company? Of course not

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  19. Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd. holds 45 percent interest. Hess Guyana Exploration Limited holds 30 percent interest and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds 25 percent interest.

    So our fight is not only XOM, it CNOOC… go figure

    Lin Giralt

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