Origen de la reclamación por el Esequibo

linea schomburgk
Línea Shomburgk


En 1814, a través del Tratado de Londres, Holanda le cede a Gran Bretaña, las provincias de Demerara, Berbice y Esequibo ubicadas al este del río Esequibo, es decir, las que a través del Tratado de Extradición de 1791, España le había otorgado a las Provincias Unidas de los Países Bajos, que para el momento, formaban parte de su territorio.

En 1834 la Real Sociedad Geográfica de Londres, argumentando el desconocimiento y poca exploración del territorio, va a enviar al prusiano Robert Schomburgk a inspeccionar la Guayana Británica y a establecer los límites de la misma. Con este fin, este va a dibujar para 1835, una línea limítrofe que contemplaba al río Esequibo como gran delimitador y al norte, reconocía los recientes asentamientos de colonos británicos cercanos al río Pomerún, no obstante, el gobierno británico va a ocultar este mapa, lo va a modificar y va a publicar otro en 1840 donde Venezuela perdía aproximadamente 141.930Km2 al oeste del río Esequibo, enviando además, al mismo Schomburgk a levantar postes, que delimitaran en el terreno lo que se establecía en el papel, así bien este, va a colocar marcas de dominio desde Barima, pasando por los río Amacuro y Cuyuní, hasta la montaña Roraima.

Venezuela al ver esto, va a pedir a su Ministro en Londres, Alejo Fortique, expresar el descontento venezolano frente a esta medida, a lo cual, el gobierno británico responderá que estos linderos, eran solo un medio para preparar el terreno para comenzar a discutir las cuestiones limítrofes y se ofreció a quitarlos en 1842, cosa que no hará. Así bien, para 1844, Venezuela, entablará su primera negociación sobre los límites con la Guayana Británica, para la cual escogerá a Don Alejo Fortique, Ministro Plenipotenciario para Gran Bretaña, como quién se sentaría a conversar sobre la cuestión limítrofe con Lord Aberdeen, para entonces el Ministro de Exteriores británico.

Fortique propondrá a este que la línea se fije teniendo al río Esequibo como frontera natural, por su parte, Aberdeen señalará que la línea debe establecerse partiendo desde la Boca de Moroco hasta la unión entre los ríos Barama y Guaima hasta el Aunama, de ahí aguas arriba hasta el Acarabisi, y luego aguas abajo donde confluye con el Cuyuní, hasta llegar a la cercanía con el Roraima, donde se dividen el Río Esequibo y el Río Blanco.

Ambas propuestas serán rechazadas por cada una de las partes y Venezuela, el más interesado en fijar las fronteras rápidamente, puesto que el crecimiento de las explotaciones auríferas en Guayana, había incrementado el interés de los británicos en la zona, hará otra propuesta de límites. En esta segunda opción, escogía como punto de partida boca de Moroco, hasta el cerro de Imataca y de allí al meridiano, atravesando el Cuyuní hasta la sierra de Paracaima que divide al río Esequibo y el río Blanco. Es importante destacar, que esta línea tampoco será aceptada por los británicos y por tanto, no habrá ningún acuerdo sobre los límites de Venezuela con la Guayana Británica, adicionalmente, se dará la inesperada muerte de Alejo Fortique al siguiente año y con él se dejará en el olvido la cuestión limítrofe por un largo tiempo.

A. Tovar
Politóloga, egresada de la Universidad Central de Venezuela.

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