The Minister of Defense of Venezuela, Vladimir Padrino López, called the military training of the United States in Guyana a “provocation” at a time of high tension due to the dispute in Essequibo, a territory rich in oil.
“This ill-advised move by the United States in favor of (…) ExxonMobil in Guyana is another step in the wrong direction. We have warned that we will not deviate from our future actions for the recovery of Essequibo. “Long live Venezuela!” the military chief published on the social network X.
Esta infeliz provocación de Estados Unidos a favor de los pretorianos de la ExxonMobil en Guyana es otro paso en la dirección incorrecta. Advertimos que no nos desviarán de nuestras futuras acciones por la recuperación del Esequibo ¡No se equivoquen! ¡Viva Venezuela! pic.twitter.com/1UIfPNQODY
— Vladimir Padrino L. (@vladimirpadrino) December 7, 2023
On December 7, the Southern Command of the United States, together with the Guyana Defense Force, scheduled air exercises in the territory that is now opposed to Venezuela.
“This exercise is based on routine engagements and operations to enhance the security partnership between the United States and Guyana and strengthen regional cooperation,” read a statement released by Guyanese media.
Diplomatic relations between Guyana and the United States were strengthened after the crisis in Venezuela erupted. Indeed, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured Guyanese President Irfaan Ali of his government’s “unconditional support.”.
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Four days ago, the Venezuelan government organized a referendum to gain support for its claim to Essequibo, an oil-rich territory equal to 2/3 of Guyana’s surface and administered by the country that the two neighbors have been at war with for more than a century.
After the referendum was approved by 95% of voters, according to official figures, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro proposed a law that would create a province of Venezuela in the disputed area. He also directed the state oil company to grant licenses to extract crude oil in Essequibo.
At the request of the government of Guyana, the United Nations Security Council will meet this Friday behind closed doors to address the territorial dispute, according to the official agenda.