MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, April 22nd 2024 - 13:58 UTC

 

 

Essequibo crisis: Venezuela launches defensive military operation

Friday, December 29th 2023 - 10:45 UTC
Full article
The Trent's presence in the area has been “synchronized with actions by the United States Southern Command,” Maduro's government also pointed out The Trent's presence in the area has been “synchronized with actions by the United States Southern Command,” Maduro's government also pointed out

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro ordered preventive measures be taken as the Royal Navy's HMS Trent was reaching the area to side with Guyana amid tensions over the disputed oil-rich Essequibo area.

”I have ordered the activation of a joint action of the entire Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) over the eastern Caribbean of Venezuela, over the Atlantic front, a joint action of defensive character as a response to the provocation and the threat of the United Kingdom against the peace and sovereignty of our country,“ Maduro said about land and sea deployments by the Bolivarian National Armed Forces in the northeastern part of the country.

Maduro labeled the HMS Trent's presence in the area as an ”unacceptable threat“ which would constitute a ”rupture“ of the agreements he signed with his Guyanese counterpart, Irfaan Ali, last December 14 in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Both leaders had pledged not to threaten each other and to avoid incidents related to the dispute. ”Venezuela cannot stand idly by in the face of a threat, we are responding in a proportional measure,“ Maduro argued.

Hence, ”I ordered the activation of a joint action of the entire Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) on the eastern Caribbean of Venezuela, on the Atlantic coast. It will be a joint action of defensive character as a response to the provocation and threat of the United Kingdom against the peace and sovereignty of our country,“ Maduro said after urging Guyana to ”take immediate action for the withdrawal of the vessel“ and ”to refrain from continuing to involve military powers in the controversy.“

The dispute escalated after Venezuela approved on Dec. 3 in a unilateral referendum to annex the disputed area of almost 160,000 square kilometers under Guyana's control.

The Chavist regime's first maneuver involved 5,682 troops in addition to F-16 and Sukhoi fighter jets, as well as some naval units near Trinidad and Tobago, off the border of disputed waters with Guyana.

”No one should threaten Venezuela, no one should mess with Venezuela. We are men of peace, we are a people of peace, but we are warriors and this threat is unacceptable for any sovereign country, unacceptable the threat of the decadent, rotten, ex-empire of the United Kingdom. We do not accept it,” Maduro warned.

The Essequibo controversy resurfaced in 2015 when a gigantic oil field believed to be the second-largest oil reserve in the world was discovered in the area. Guyana took the case in 2020 to the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in a recent ruling requested both parties “to refrain from any action that would modify the situation currently in force in the disputed territory,” but Venezuela does not recognize the that court's jurisdiction.

The Trent's presence in the area has been “synchronized with actions by the United States Southern Command,” Maduro's government also pointed out in a statement. Therefore, Venezuela will reserve “all actions to defend the maritime and territorial integrity of the homeland.”

St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said Wednesday that he felt “very optimistic” that dialogue between Venezuela and Guyana over the Essequibo border dispute would continue in “good spirit.”

“What I hope is that fewer events occur that could lead to an interpretation of provocation or threat,” he added while noting that HMS Trent has in the past been involved in anti-drug, human trafficking, and search and rescue operations in the area.

“The ship has a very limited military capacity,” Gonsalves also stressed.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!