The South American nation of Guyana announced this week that it would defend itself in case of an attack by its larger neighbor Venezuela. Guyana also held exercises with the United States military less than one week after Venezuela claimed more than half of Guyana’s territory as its own.
Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali said that his country requested assistance over the territorial dispute. Venezuela claims the Essequibo region, which is sparsely populated but rich in natural resources. It also makes up nearly 70% of Guyana’s territory.
“Should Venezuela proceed to act in this reckless and adventurous manner, the region will have to respond,” the president said.
In addition, the Pentagon announced that it would conduct military flights to Guyana, describing the measure as a “routine engagement.”
Venezuela announced the annexation of the region after a public vote on Sunday which critics called flawed. Guyana’s president called the announcements “in full defiance of international law.”
His country has reached out to the United States, the United Nations, Brazil, France and Britain for assistance.
Brazil deployed forces near the border of Venezuela. The only major road between Venezuela and Guyana travels through Brazil.
The Brazilian Army announced it is deploying the 18th Mechanized Cavalry Regiment in the State of Roraima.
The decision means that an additional 600 soldiers will be moved to the border with Venezuela and Guyana
Brazil fears that Venezuela is about to invade Guyana pic.twitter.com/wgRsztxADq
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) December 8, 2023
The territorial dispute dates back more than a century. Venezuela disputed the boundary between the British colony of Guyana, which was settled through international arbitration.
However, Venezuela has brought the issue to light again in recent decades, especially in the past two months. In October, a large oil deposit was found off the coast of Guyana, most of which lies within the Venezuelan claims.
The Venezuelan regime has struggled in recent decades due to poor political and economic mismanagement. Despite having the world’s largest proven oil reserves, the socialist regimes of former President Hugo Chavez and current President Nicolas Maduro has seen a large outmigration of hundreds of thousands of residents.
Furthermore, despite the great oil wealth, Venezuela struggles to export oil. The regime has also printed money, causing massive hyperinflation in what had once been one of the wealthiest nations in Latin America.