Venezuela's Constitution: Articles 10-15
By Aleksander Boyd
London 01.01.05 | Today I shall continue with another set of articles, namely those that deal with geographical spaces of Venezuela.
TITLE II GEOGRAPHICAL SPACES AND POLITICAL DIVISION
Territory and Other Geographical Spaces
Article 10: The territory and other geographical spaces of the Republic are those which belonged to the Captaincy-General of Venezuela before the political transformation begun on April 19, 1810, as amended by virtue of the treaties and arbitration awards which have not been vitiated with nullity.
Article 11: The full sovereignty of the Republic is exercised on the continental, and insular spaces, lake and river spaces, territorial sea, historic, vital and inland sea areas, and those lying within such straight baselines as have been adopted or may come to be adopted by the Republic; seabed and under the seabed of the aforementioned; the continental, insular and maritime air space and the resources located within the aforementioned spaces, including genetic resources, migratory species, derived products and any intangible components that may be present within the aforementioned spaces because of natural causes.
The insular space of the Republic includes the Archipelago of Los Monjes, Las Aves, Los Roques, La Orchila, La Tortuga, La Blanquilla, Los Hermanos, islands of Margarita, Cubagua and Coche, Los Frailes, La Sola Island, Los Testigos Archipelago, Patos Island and Aves Island, as well as the islands, islets, keys and banks located or coming in the future to emerge from the territorial sea, that covering the continental sheaf or that lying within the limits of the exclusive economic zone.
As to the water spaces consisting of the contiguous maritime zone, the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone, the Republic exercises exclusive rights of sovereignty and jurisdiction on such terms, to such extent and subject to such conditions as may be determined by public international law and national law.
The Republic has rights in outer space and in those areas which are or may be the Common Property of Humanity, on such terms, to such extent and subject to such conditions as may be determined by public international agreements and by the national legislation.
Article 12: Mineral and hydrocarbon deposits of any nature that exist within the territory of the nation, beneath the territorial sea bed, within the exclusive economic zone and on the continental sheaf, are the property of the Republic, are of public domain, and therefore inalienable and not transferable. The seacoasts are public domain property.
Article 13: The territory shall never be assigned, transferred, leased or in any manner whatsoever conveyed, even temporarily or partially, to foreign States or other international law subjects.
The geographical space of Venezuela is an area of peace. No foreign military bases or facilities having purposes that are in any way military shall be established within such space by any power or coalition of powers.
Foreign States or other international law subjects shall be permitted to acquire real property only for the quarters of their diplomatic or consular delegations, within such area as may be determined and subject to guarantees of reciprocity, with such limitations as may be established by law. In all such cases, national sovereignty shall remain intact.
There shall be no conveyance of title to vacant land existing within the federal dependencies and on islands in rivers and lakes, and the right to use the same shall be granted only in a manner that does not involve, directly or indirectly, the transfer of title to the land.
Article 14: The law shall establish a special legal regime for those territories which, by the freely adopted decision of their inhabitants and with the approval of the National Assembly, come to be incorporated into the territory of the Republic.
Article 15: The State is responsible for establishing an overall policy in land, insular and maritime border areas, preserving the territorial integrity, sovereignty, security, defense, national identity, diversity and environment in accordance with cultural, economic and social development and integration. Taking into account the inherent nature of each border region through special financial allocations, an Organic Law on Borders shall determine the obligations and objectives comprising this responsibility.
Article 10: Hugo Chavez announced on February 2004, in the name of Venezuela, that economic development of the Essequibo area, in dispute with Guyana since the 19th century, had his blessing. The pending, and unresolved, territorial claim over the Essequibo that Venezuela has with Guyana was thus ignored by the president, violating this article.
Article 12: The giving away of Venezuelan oil to Cuba, without the proper and constitutional approval of the people's representatives in the National Assembly, constitutes clear violation to the precept that mineral and hydrocarbon deposits of any nature are the inalienable property of the Republic and its people. Hugo Chavez continously enters into energy agreements with other countries (Caracas Accord, Venezuela-Cuba agreements, pacts with China), conducting affairs as if Venezuela's resources were his own personal property. Furthermore, Chavez has used oil to leverage his political purposes, example the suspension of oil shipments to the Dominican Republic due to Carlos Andres Perez temporal residence in that country.
Article 13: "...the geographical space of Venezuela is an area of peace..." Refer to and revise any speech given by Hugo Chavez in the last six years.
Article 15: "The State is responsible for establishing an overall policy in land, insular and maritime border areas, preserving the territorial integrity, sovereignty, security, defense, national identity, diversity and environment in accordance with cultural, economic and social development and integration" [sic], what are such policies and where have them been implemented? Detailed guerrilla activities in Venezuelan soil have been reported to Hugo Chavez himself, no action has been taken in that respect. Graver still, the presidential mania of all things Cuban, from 'sport trainers' to personal bodyguards. Never in our history had a foreign leader (dictator Fidel Castro) more leverage in the internal politics of our nation. Territorial integrity, sovereignty, security, defense and national identity are not concepts well understood by Chavez; these are applied selectively depending on the political needs of Fidel Castro's toyboy.
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