After the United Kingdom sent a warship to Guyana for support, Venezuela’s military was ordered to conduct drills.
Military officials say defense drills will be held on the Atlantic and Caribbean shores east of Venezuela, with 5,600 troops participating.
Reports show the formation of a new state in the oil-rich Essequibo region was supported by Venezuelan voters earlier this month, even though decades have passed with Guyana at the helm.
Along with Berbice and Demerara, Essequibo became one of Guiana’s three counties in 1838. The two nations reached an agreement in 1850 not to set foot in the contested area. The conflict was rekindled in the late 1850s when gold was found in the disputed region.
According to President Nicolás Maduro’s presser, the drills were initiated in reaction to the provocation and danger posed by the United Kingdom to peace and national sovereignty.
He went on to say that this action violated the terms of the most recent accord between Guyana and Venezuela to resolve their issue without resorting to force and that it amounted to a military threat emanating from London.
According to Guyanese Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo, the ship’s presence is normal and part of establishing a defense capacity. There is no intention of attacking Venezuela. During a news conference, he assured the audience and President Maduro that he was aware of this and should not be concerned.
The United Kingdom’s confirmation that the HMS Trent would join Guyana in post-holiday joint exercises was made public. It was redirected from its Caribbean mission to combat drug trafficking after threats by the Venezuelan government to seize the Essequibo area of Guyana.
The 61,000-square-mile Essequibo area, which makes up almost two-thirds of Guyana, has long been claimed by Venezuela. An international agreement was made in 1899 to create the boundary, which is now disputed.
Essequibo has been under the administration of Guyana for almost a hundred years after England ruled it as British Guiana.