|On July 23, we republished, from teleSUR, an article by Eric Draitser entitled 'US targets Venezuela over border dispute'.
Reader (and Axis of Logic columnist) Arturo Rosales, who lives in Caracas, commented today on that article. We are featuring it here as a Choice Reader Comment because Arturo offers some explanation of the events behind the scenes - and also because he has some good news to add.
- prh, ed.
Arturo - August 1, 2015
You have to see the problem in the maritime Reclamation Zone of the Exxon-Mobil Champion rig in the context of what has gone before when Chavez was president.
The law was changed in Venezuela especially for exploration and drilling in the Orinoco Oil Belt whereby all companies working there had to create a joint company with PDVSA and PDVSA would have 60% of the shares of the company.
Exxon-Mobil and Conoco-Philips withdrew and sued PDVSAA / Venezuelan government for compensation. Exxon-Mobil claimed some US$12 billion and when this went to arbitration in New York Exxon-Mobil were only awarded a few million dollars (US$46 million if I recall correctly).
Since that time, Exxon-Mobil has been shut out of the biggest oil reserves in the world in Venezuela and is not very happy about it. Thus, this provocative move of placing their rig in disputed territory after financing David Granger’s election campaign (which he won by just 2000 votes).
This was a direct affront to Venezuela and the Reclamation Zone where projects can be carried out with the agreement of both countries. But Guyana acted unilaterally, thus breaking the Geneva Agreement of 1966 which is legally binding.
If you read Granger’s background, he is a prime candidate to be a pawn of US policy against “enemies” of the Empire such as Venezuela. Educated in Defense establishments in the US, for example.
The matter of the Reclamation Zone is on the table again. Historically Venezuela has a solid claim to this territory as the border of the Capitania General de Venezuela went up to the Essequibo River when it was founded by Spain in 1777, and also maps after independence show the same border. It was the exclusion of Venezuela from fixing the borders from 1895 onwards that caused the Essequibo to be illegally annexed by then British Guyana and as Venezuela was not represented at the 1899 accord, Venezuela never recognized the agreement signed between the US, Britain with Russian connivance.
The whole matter will now go to the UN.
Latest news is that Exxon-Mobil has withdrawn the rig from the disputed territory yesterday. The final piece or pressure was a unanimous vote in the Latin American parliament supporting Venezuela and this was enough to make Exxon-Mobil withdraw its rig in the face of international pressure and possible legal actions.
Another great Victoria for the Bolivarian Republic in the face of imperialist provocation.
Added Comment by editor Les Blough (who also lives in Venezuela):
Aha! The Exxon-Mobil withdrawal of their rig is great news! Not only for Venezuela but for the sovereignty and independence of all Latin American countries who haven't bent the knee to US-Corporate Imperialism. It's also great news seeing that the forces of solidarity and diplomacy work and that US corporate-military forces are not invincible. Cheers for Nicolas Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela who has the balls and brains to lead Latin America just as his mentor, Hugo Chavez Frias did before him.
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