Mr. Scruggs to Mr.
the United States,
Caracas, September 7, 1892.
(Received September 19.)
Sir: On the 31st ultimo I received from the
Venezuelan ministry of foreign affairs a verbal note, dated the 26th,
transmitting a copy of an executive decree of the last-named date, closing
the ports of Ciudad Bolivar and Puerto Cabello. Copies and translations are
Each of my colleagues of the other legations received a similar note, most of
whom, I believe, attach so little importance to it as to refuse to even
transmit it to their respective governments; while none of them regard it as
being anything more than a mere brutum fulmen of an
important faction against its rival, who is now, and has been for weeks
past, in actual possession of the ports named.
I have, etc.,
[Inclosure 1 in No.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Caracas, August 26,
The minister of foreign affairs of the United States of Venezuela salutes
the most excellent minister plenipotentiary of the United States of
America, with this object of remitting herewith No. 5627, of the
“Official Gazette,” of this same date, wherein is inserted the executive
decree by which are suppressed the custom-houses of the ports of Ciudad
Bolivar (State of Bolivar) and of Puerto Cabello (State of
Manuel Clemente Urbaneje improves this opportunity, etc.
[Inclosure 2 in No.
Presidency of the
Doctor Guillermo Tell Villegas, Constitutional President of
In view of the perturbations occurred in the State of Bolivar and
Carabobo, and in exercise of the authority vested in me by Article 3 of
the legislative decree of May 17, 1873.
- Article 1. The custom-houses established in the ports of Ciudad
Bolivar (State of Bolivar) and in Puerto Cabello (State of Carabobo)
are suppressed; the commerce of importation and export to foreign
ports with said custom-houses cease in fact, as also the coasting
- Article 2. The trade imports and exports of Ciudad Bolivar have to
be made through the port of Guanta (State of Bermudez) and the trade
imports and exports of Puerto Cabello have to be made through the
port of La Guayra (State of Miranda).
- Article 3. Every vessel bound to the ports of the Orinoco River or
to Puerto Cabello, will be detained by the Government ships cruising
at the mouths of said river and at the entrance of the bay of Puerto
Cabello, and will be conducted to the nearest qualified port, to
proceed with its cargo in conformity with the dispositions of the
Codigo de Hacienda, and other laws that regulate the commerce of
foreign origin or coasting trade.
- Article 4. The authority of the foregoing article will take effect
fifteen days after the publication of this necree in the “Official
Gazette,” for ships hailing from the Antilles; thirty days after for
ships hailing from the United States of America, and forty-five days
after for those hailing from Europe.
- Article 5. After the terms, conceded in favor of the importers,
shall have become due, said ships will be considered as smugglers,
persecuted and captured as such and conducted to the nearest
qualified port, there to be tried in accordance with the ruling
- Article 6. The national or foreign vessels, armed for war by the
insurgents, in the Orinoco or in its contiguity, or in the bay of
Puerto Cabello or its contiguity, will be considered pirates, and as
such will be persecuted and captured till brought to the power of
the nearest competent tribunal.
- Article 7. The ministers of foreign affairs and of Hacienda are
charged with the execution of this decree and with transmitting it
to the diplomatic and consular bodies of this city, to the consuls
of the republic abroad, and other authorities to whom it may
Given under my hand, sealed with the seal of
the national executive and countersigned by the ministers of foreign
affairs and hacienda, in the federal palace of
Caracas, the 26th day of August, 1892, twenty-ninth
year of the law and thirty-fourth of the
The Minister of Foreign Affairs,