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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, transmitted to congress, with the annual message of the president, December 4, 1876
(1876)

Venezuela,   pp. 608-614 PDF (479.6 KB)


Page 609

  I
 VENEZUELA. 609
 The 13 per cent. spoken of is the 5k per cent. of the customs revenues set
apart for payment of certain foreign claims. This is ~ of
~ It is to be regretted that the constant use of the phrase "13 per cent."
has caused general belief here that this sum is really paid.
 It remains to be seen whether the claims of United States citizens not embraced
in the awards of the mixed commission are to be included in the new payment
proposed. When the proposition is made in form, I shall of course communicate
the facts to the Department.
 I presume that the Italian claims will be provided for, and I will promptly
report on the matter.
 The project of issuing bonds for payment of the diplomatic claims probably
needs no discussion. I will only remark that by treaty the French claims,
as well as our own, are to be paid with interest at five per cent. instead
of three per cent., as proposed.
 The President promises that when Congress has acted on these matters
he will answer the request of various legations for the payment of 5~
per cent. of customs revenues, according to promise, instead of about 3
per cent., as has been done heretofore.
 The message announces a failure of the attempt to settle the boundary question
with Colombia.
 The Colombian Congress has claimed a vast territory in the Orinoco region,
and declared the possession of it by Venezuela to be a usurpation. A commissioner
has been sent to Bogota to say that Venezuela will steadfastly maintain its
possession of the Orinoco region; that it will'regard as casus belli any
act of Colombian jurisdiction therein; and that while the word "usurpation"
is not withdrawn, Venezuela cuts off all diplomatic relations with Colombia.
If the new administration gives a favorable answer, it is proposed to negotiate
anew as to the boundary of the western part of Venezuela; and a conventional
line is suggested, to be made by mutual concessions.
 The Dutch question is treated of at some length ; but it is not necessary
to add much to the communications heretofore made on a matter, which seems
to be settling itself.
 * * * * * *
 The finances are represented as iii a most flourishing state. 1 reserve
a report on this subject till the report of the finance minister appears.
 The increase of duties resulting from the closing of the ports at the We~t
has been great. And it is proposed to carry out this policy in the East,
closing to fOreign commerce the ports of Ciudad Bolivar, Maturin, Gitiria,
and Pampatar, leaving open for exportation and importation only the custom-houses
of Cariipano, Cumaná, and Barcelona.
 The public works have consumed 4,473,893.58 venezolanos. And those in process
of construction will cost 1,820,161.51 venezolanos. These amounts seem to
cover the whole term of the President's office from February 20, 1873.
 ImmigratiOn has, for various reasons, declined, but is now reestablished,
and promises much for the development of the country.
 The exportation of produce amounted during the year to 17,304,050.90 vei~mezolanos,
being an increase of two and a half millions over the last year. The chief
article exported was coffee, amounting to 35,721,130 kilogrammes, and exceeding
the export of any preceding year. The value of all importations is estimated
at 12,000,000 venezolanos, but this is believed to be an underestimate.
 The number of pupils in the schools has increased from about 31,000 to about
48,000. *An increase of appropriations for education is urged.
 "For the exhibition at Philadelphia, whióh will be a great event,
as
39 F B


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