Venezuela issues new maritime boundary decree

Last Updated on Tuesday, 7 July 2015, 21:08 by GxMedia

This map depicts the eastern zone

Venezuela on Tuesday replaced a controversial decree on its maritime boundary, less than one week after the 15-nation Caribbean Community (Caricom) backed Guyana in its latest border spat with that Spanish-speaking country.

Well-placed sources knowledgeable about the issue said the new Decree 40.696 does not include any measurements unlike the previous one that sparked off a bitter row between the neighbouring South American countries.

According to Venezuelan media, this latest Decree does not permit authorities to set new boundaries but supports and justifies any action by the Venezuela Armed Forces in defending the the newly created Integrated Defense Maritime Zones and Island (Zodimain). The previous decree had contained specific coordinates/measurements of the maritime space that it had unilaterally taken in to include the Atlantic waters off the entire Essequibo Coast up to the eastern bank of the Essequibo River.

Issuance of the new decree came one day after President Nicolas Maduro announced that he was recalling his Ambassador to Guyana for consultations,  reviewing Guyana-Venezuela relations and scaling down the embassy staff here.

Caricom has since bought Guyana’s assessment that the Decree 1787 also had implications for the maritime space of Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname,  Barbados, Grenada as well as several Eastern Caribbean States.