The Guyana-Venezuela Territorial Controversy: the International Approaches of the Government of Guyana, 1966-1992
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This thesis presents a case study of small state diplomacy. It investigates the international approaches of Guyana from 1966 to 1992, to the territorial controversy with Venezuela. The Anglo-Venezuelan dispute over the boundary with British Guiana was settled by arbitration in 1899, but was reopened in 1962. British Guiana gained its independence in May 1966, after an agreement was signed in Geneva, which designated the once settled dispute a "controversy". The foreign policy strategies deployed by Guyana demonstrate the extent to which a small state can effectively utilize diplomacy. The thesis challenges those interpretations which have viewed Guyana's foreign policy mainly in terms of a mechanism used by the government to secure legitimacy. Such arguments fail to consider the multifaceted characteristic of foreign policy and the threat to Guyana's territorial integrity from the more powerful Venezuela. It is contended that it would be more accurate to state that during periods of tensions with Venezuela, preservation of the Guyanese state was the principal goal of foreign policy. When relations improved, this goal was of continued importance, but other goals became prominent. The thesis analyses Guyanese-Venezuelan relations as Caracas pursued its claim. It evaluates Guyana's international response as its main defence strategy, given that state's military and economic weaknesses vis-a-vis Venezuela. It assesses the effectiveness of Burnham's vitriolic diplomacy 1966-1985 and the more subtle form during the Hoyte administration, 1985-1992. An examination of the foreign ministries' archives in London, Washington, Caracas and Port-of-Spain was conducted to gain insights into the interaction of the of the dispute's re-emergence and cold war concerns over Guyana. The measures taken by the USA, Britain, Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago to ensure that Venezuelan action did not affect Burnham's rule are revealed. Burnham's role in the signing of the 1966 Geneva Agreement is also explored.
AuthorsClyde, Keane A
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