Caribbean: Venezuela will keep nearly 6,000 troops deployed on the border of Guyana till the British warship does not leave the waters of the region, said in a statement on Saturday, 30 December. The ship came to the coast of Guyana on the afternoon of Friday, 29 December.
Defence Minister of Venezuela Vladimir Padrino stated in front of a marked-up map of Venezuela and Guyana, saying that the defence forces are safeguarding the national sovereignty.
Padrino said, “Armed forces have been deployed not just in the east of the country but across the entire territory. They will be there until this British boat leaves the waters between Venezuela and Guyana.”
The statement came after the UK sent its Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel, HMS Trent, for a military exercise on the coast of Guyana.
The British ship visit amid the dispute between the nations of Venezuela and Guyana raised more concerns.
The dispute between both nations is high after the renewed claim of Venezuela to the Essequibo region, now under the control of Guyana. Essequibo is a less populated region around the size of Florida that is rich in oil and minerals.
Venezuela always kept its explanation over the dispute that the region always belonged to them. Still, under a conspiracy, they were cheated when European colonisers and the US marked the border.
Guyana, who is now controlling the region for decades said that the original agreement was legally binding and the International Court of Justice should resolve the dispute.
The dispute for the territory between both nations has long been ongoing. Still, it is assumed that the recent discovery of the oil and minerals in the disputed region made Venezuela revise its claim.
People said about the approach of President of Venezuela Maduro, “The socialist leader has reignited the border dispute to draw attention from the internal problems of the nation as Venezuela prepares for a presidential election next year.”
Recently, in a meeting, the leaders of Venezuela and Guyana mutually decided that neither side would use threats or force and resolve the dispute by dialogue. However, it seems they failed to meet the agreement.
Tensions came to another level after the visit of the British ship equipped with cannons and a landing pad for helicopters and drones in Guyana. It was recently used to intercept pirates and smugglers off Africa.
President Maduro said, “The ship deployment violates the agreement between Venezuela and Guyana, and its presence of a threat to the country.”
He added, “We believe in diplomacy, in dialogue and peace, but no one is going to threaten Venezuela. This is an unacceptable threat to any sovereign country in Latin America.”
The government of Guyana rejected claims of Maduro by saying, “The visit was a planned activity aimed at improving the defence capabilities of the nation, and the ship’s visit would continue as scheduled.”
Irfaan Ali, President of Guyana said in a talk in early December that his nation has all rights to work with other countries as a partner for the betterment of defence of the nation.
In terms of military power, Guyana has a military of 3,000 soldiers with 200 sailors, and four small patrol boats called Barracudas. In comparison, Venezuela has 235,000 active military personnel in its army, air force, navy and national guard.