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Proposal for a New Flag - 1999 (Venezuela)

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Proposal for a New Flag for Venezuela - 1999

Coronel Hugo Chavez say some time ago that he want to change the national flag if they win the elections. Currently Chavez is president and in the last elections won 120 of 131 seats in the Constituant Assembly. We can wait some change in the new Constitution. Anyone has the proposal of Constitution?
Jaume Ollé , 7 September 1999

The popular proposals today are many. The new Government, led by Lt Cl (R) Hugo Chavez (an ardent Bolivar fan), has proposed unofficially a flag with eight stars, rescuing the wishes of Simon Bolivar. But projects vary: not only they change the positions of the stars from one day to another, but they even change their minds on the right number of stars
Guillermo Aveledo , 8 September 1999

According to Spanish newspaper "El País" of 22nd August 1999, page 2, one of Venezuela's new National Constituent Assembly suggestions for the Constitution being drafted is to add one more star to the national flag, as homage to what was before called the Province of Guayana.
Santiago Dotor , 14 September 1999

I have received from the Dutch vexillologist Jos Poels some informations concerning the possible future flag of Venezuela, that is the present flag but with one more star. This flag already existed in the past. It was adopted on 20 November 1817 and lasted until 1830. I got the official text of Bolivar's decree in Spanish.
Pascal Vagnat , 14 September 1999

Here is the translation of the information that was provided by Pascal Vagnat :

Having increased (or augmented) the number of Provinces which make up the Republic of
Venezuela, through the incorporation the Province of Guayana decreed last
October 15th, I have decreed and I decree :
Single Article (or Article One) - A star shall be added to the seven stars displayed on the national flag of Venezuela, as emblem (or symbol) of the Province of Guayana, so that the number of stars shall hereforth be eight.
Given, signed by my hand, sealed with the provisional State seal and endorsed by the Office Secretary, at the Government Palace in Angostura city, on the 20th November 1817.
Santiago Dotor and Gonzalo Guerra , 15 September 1999

As far as I know, the "Province of Guayana" is a stripe of territory formerly in dispute between Spain and the United Kingdom, sometimes addressed as the "Spanish Guayana", and later and up to today between Venezuela and Guyana. According to different claims and adjudications, the territory can be considered anything from a very thin strip of land close to the Venezuelan border up to 2/3rds of Guyana's territory, with a Venezuelan claim reaching the Essequibo river line.
Santiago Dotor , 15 September 1999

There were more than one Guyana. There were the French and English Guyanas. When the strategic importance of keeping the Guyana as a safe harbor near the caribeean diminushed, Great Britain conceeded independence to the British Guyana. By this time, the claim on this territory was been made not by Spain, but by Venezuela. In most Official Venezuelan maps, it is shown as "Territorio Esequibo" or "Zona en reclamación".
As of today, I see no way that Venezuela can regain this land, and there is little to gain from doing so. Legally, Venezuela may still claim it, but in the mean time the Venezuelan goverment has recognized the State of Guyana, and we have bilateral arrangements, including the sale of Hydroelectric power to this claimed territory.
Please check out this site for more information, it's the Guyana side of the story <>.
So, in short, yes, the Province of Guyana is no more. It is now an independent country simply called Guyana. That change probably was enough to justify a change in the flag.
Ricardo Kowalski , 15 September 1999

Anyway, even accepting the broadest Venezuelan claims over Guyanan territory, there would still be about 33% territory left, so there would be four Guayanas:
Santiago Dotor , 15 September 1999

Well, in fact Venezualan Guayana does still exist, and it's named the state of Bolivar. At the time of the declaration of Angostura (renamed 1864 Ciudad Bolivar) Simon Bolivar had a grandiose scheme for the Province of Guyana, where Alexander von Humboldt had just found vast mineral richess. He planned the South American capital there (Ciudad Guyana) and connections from there through the Amazone region, etc. That scheme never became a reality; neither was it completely forgotten. Two aims are still on the agenda: 1. Development of Venezuelan Guyana, that is the state of Bolivar (possibly already renamed (or part of it), hence possibly the extra star) with as its center the new town, founded 1961 as Ciudad Guayana, renamed Santo Tome de Guayana, planned to be a metropolis of over a million inhabitants, with (1980) 250.000 inhabitants. It is now the capital of Bolivar state (and as eccentric lying as Ciudad Bolivar; it might become the new capital of Venezuela, in which case it would be quite central).
2. Claims to large parts of the independent state of Guyana (see above), first claimed by the independent state of Venezuela in the second part of the 19th century. This claim has been on the diplomatic table for some 140 years now and concerns about 135.000 sq. km, that is c. 62 % of Guyana.
Merriam-Webster New Geographical Dictionary, 1988
Tudyka: 'Confilcthaarden in de Derde Wereld', 1985
Kramers 'Aardrijkskundig Woordenboek', 1883
The 1980 South American Handbook
Jarig Bakker , 15 September 1999

.In fact Venezuela has a claim that covers almost 2/3rds of Guyana, although I dont think they control any of it.
Antonio Martins , 16 September 1999

Here is some more information on the Venezuelan claims on Guyana's territory:
"From 1682, Catalan Capuchin monks established foundations in Guayana [west of the Essequibo river] which strengthened the Spanish conquest of the area. (...) In 1790 the Dutch-founded Stabrock was taken by the British and became nowadays' Georgetown. Along the 17th century, (...) the British established themselves on the Lower Oiapoque (Leigh Expedition); but by the end of the 17th century only the Dutch colonies stood [ie. not the British or French ones].
"A [Spanish] province of Guayana existed as part of the viceroyalty of the new Kingdom of Granada from 1732 to 1763. From that date on it belonged to the Captaincy-General of Venezuela, and after this country's independence it became the [federal] state of Guayana (...).
"In 1835 Schomburgk, a German naturalist, at the request of the British government, marked the limits of its colony in Guayana: the frontier with Venezuela was established in the Essequibo river. According to Venezuela, the British took territories outside the Schomburgk line between 1835 and 1897. By the end of the 19th century, Venezuela demanded from Great Britain more than 62000 km2 of its Guayana colony.
"In 1895 the situation grew tense and the USA forced an arbitration: an international commission (British, Americans and Russians: Paris 1899) gave the larger part of the disputed area to Great Britain, drawing the frontier which nowadays Guyana considers correct but Venezuela opposes. A 1970 treaty between Venezuela and Guyana reconsidered [=accepted?] the Paris frontier."

Source: "Enciclopedia Larousse", Madrid 1981
Santiago Dotor , 16 September 1999

More than half of Guyana's (former British Guyana) teritory is claimed by Venezuela (as a matter of fact, it is legally determined that all venezuelan maps should draw stripes over the reclamation zone, wich gives Venezuela a second "leg").
Guillermo Aveledo , 17 September 1999

A ten-star proposal is being discussed by the Constitutional Assembly, but it has not catched on
Guillermo Aveledo , 24 September 1999

A photograph show a meeting of the Constitutional Commision of our Constitutional Assembly (which is drafting a new Consitution). It appeared on the first page of one of our daily papers, "EL UNIVERSAL". The caption read as follows:

The Constitutional Commision, presided by Hermann Escarra [the man at the left end of the picture] has agreed on the discussion proccess, either articly by article or in blocks, should be determined by the Assembly. The full project [of the new Constitution] should be ready for the next 12th of Ocotber, including the eight star on the flag, which has served as the background for the talks among the Assembly men"

The eight-stars-flag is supposed to be Bolivar's flag (he added the 8th star in 1817, after Guayana was liberated; the first seven stars represent, and are an homage to, the seven provinces which in 1810 declared their independance for Spain). However, Simon Bolivar (our founding father) merely modified the flag designed by the Cariaco Congresillo, de facto acknowledging the previous design.
Beyond that, it wasn't needed to undergo Constitutional changes to modify the flag: the 1961 Constitution (current, but de facto suspended by the Assembly), states as follows:
"ARTICLE 5th: The National flag, with the colours yellow, blue and red; the
National anthem, "Glory to the brave People", and the Coat of Arms of the
Republic are the symbols of the Fatherland. Law will determin its carachteristics and rule its use.
Guillermo Aveledo , 30 September 1999

According to Reuters (October 21), the Constitutional Assembly of Veenzuela has started to discuss the President Chavez's proposal of the new constitution. Two articles - intriguing for us - were rejected: new name of the country (The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) and new 8-star flag.
Jan Zrzavy , 21 October 1999

Adding a star to the current design does not lead to the november 1817 design, as that had the stars in the yellow.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 November 2001

Project of Venezuelan Flag, end of 20th Century: At the request of some sectors of the Bolivar State, were materialized and hoisted arbitrarily on national territory under the administration of the Governor Andres Velasquez. Soon, as a result of the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly in 1999, one became to retake the project without higher consequences. The argument that sustains this flag is, according to our modest point of view, nonexistent: the Province of Guayana was annexed on 1817 to the patriotic cause and it did not sign the Act of Independence of Venezuela in 1811. Image is a reconstruction.
Raul Orta, 7 June 2002