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Thread: BIRD ISLAND and VENEZUELA

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    Registered Member VINCYPOWA's Avatar VINCYPOWA is offline
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    BIRD ISLAND and VENEZUELA

    Venezuelan troops assert claim in dispute
    By CHRISTOPHER TOOTHAKER
    ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

    AVES ISLAND -- Caribbean islands have long been a destination for newlyweds, but this remote, treeless speck of land isn't on any travel agent's list.

    Seventeen Venezuelan sailors now live at a newly established base here, and on Saturday two couples were married - apparently the first such ceremonies to be held on the island.

    Venezuela's mainland is 380 miles away, but it's asserting a claim of ownership despite the fact Isla de Aves - Bird Island - is much closer to Dominica, Antigua and Puerto Rico.

    "Aves Island belongs to Venezuela. Several nations in the Eastern Caribbean dispute that claim, but we are reaffirming our sovereignty here," Cmdr. Guillermo Isturiz said before anchoring near the three-story concrete outpost.

    The dispute is about more than just the land. The sparkling fishing waters offshore teem with tuna, grouper and red snapper, while oil and natural gas are thought to lie under the sea floor.

    Despite protests from other Caribbean island countries, President Hugo Chavez insists the island rightfully belongs to Venezuela, and last year his government built the $9 million outpost now used by the military and a group of biologists, aiming to shed any doubts about the limits of Venezuela's maritime boundaries.

    The leaders of some Eastern Caribbean countries, including Dominica and Antigua, have argued that Aves - only 1,900 feet long and 1,640 feet wide, smaller than Minnesota's Mall of America - is nothing more than a sandbar and should not be considered Venezuelan territory.

    "It certainly is Dominica's as far as we are concerned," Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent told The Associated Press in a telephone interview last week. Dominica lies just 140 miles east of Aves.

    Former Antigua Prime Minister Lester Bird noted while in office in 2003 that if Venezuela's claim were acknowledged, its 200-nautical-mile "exclusive economic zone" to offshore areas would encompass Montserrat and Grenada.

    The dispute appears unchanged despite Venezuela's recent agreement to sell Caribbean nations fuel under preferential terms to help them cope with high oil prices.

    "We have developed very good relations with Venezuela, and we hope we can sort this out," Gonsalves said.

    Caribbean Community Secretary-General Edwin Carrington said from his home in Guyana that Aves remains "a disputed matter."

    Meanwhile, more than 120 sailors and dozens of civilians disembarked on the island Saturday during a symbolic visit aboard two frigates bristling with machine-guns and artillery cannons. Officials said the weddings and three baptisms of sailors' children by a chaplain were the first ever on the island.

    "It's historic," said a beaming navy captain, Yldefonzo Gandica, as he sipped champagne with bride Geraldine Pibernat de Gandica in front of a maritime chart inside the outpost. A second couple had their wedding on the beach.

    Venezuela also has opened Aves to scientists who study the many bird species and endangered sea turtles.

    The island has in the past been claimed and occupied by various countries - Britain, Spain, the United States, the Netherlands - and now Venezuela.

    "It's our island. That's why we are here," said Andres Bocaranda, a foreign ministry official who was among the visitors.

    ---

    Associated Press writer Bert Wilkinson, in Guyana, contributed to this report

  2. #2
    SAINTSational Nica's Avatar Nica is offline
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    The island belongs to Dominica. They just need to leave Chavez to me and I can get the the island back to the rightful owners, Dominicans.


    **never send a man to do a woman's job**:
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    Registered Member VINCYPOWA's Avatar VINCYPOWA is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Val
    The island belongs to Dominica. They just need to leave Chavez to me and I can get the the island back to the rightful owners, Dominicans.


    **never send a man to do a woman's job**:
    What are you going to do to CHAVEZ to get BIRD ISLAND back??

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    SAINTSational Nica's Avatar Nica is offline
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    No need to bother yourself with that dahlin, ah go handle me bizniz.
    Those Who Sacrifice Freedom for Security Deserve Neither
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    Registered Member VINCYPOWA's Avatar VINCYPOWA is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Val
    No need to bother yourself with that dahlin, ah go handle me bizniz.

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