Venezuela Launches 5,000+ Troop Exercise In Response To UK Warship’s Approach

By Tyler Durden

Just on the heels of the recent panic over the risk of a Venezuela invasion of its neighbor Guyana, fears which finally subsided over a week ago upon a mutual pact pledging that both would avoid direct conflict, the UK sent a warship to patrol off Venezuela’s coast.

Britain previously said it would dispatch the HMS Trent near Guyana by December’s end as a significant show of support for the government in Guyana’s capital Georgetown, on concerns Nicolás Maduro would make moves to claim the vast, mineral-rich Essequibo region, which borders his country but has been part of Guyana – a member of the British Commonwealth and the only English-speaking nation in South America – for more than a century.

A December 14 report in The Guardian suggested tensions were cooling fast: “The leaders of Guyana and Venezuela promised in a tense meeting that neither side would use threats or force against the other, but failed to reach agreement on how to address a bitter dispute over a vast border region rich with oil and minerals that has concerned many in the region,” the publication said at the time. But on Thursday’s there’s been a new shocking development reversing this hoped-for state of ‘cooler heads prevailing’ and which raises the potential for the UK and Venezuela to directly clash in Caribbean waters.

AFP reports breaking statements from Maduro’s office as follows:

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday ordered more than 5,600 military personnel to participate in a “defensive” exercise, after Britain said it was sending a Royal Navy warship to waters off neighboring Guyana.

Maduro said he was launching “a joint action of a defensive nature in response to the provocation and threat of the United Kingdom against peace and the sovereignty of our country.”

Prior to the current standoff the HMS Trent had reportedly monitored the Caribbean in search of drug smugglers as a military offshore patrol vessel. It is armed with heavy guns and typically carries a unit of Royal Marines and a combat helicopter.

The vessel has been confirmed now in regional waters:

HMS Trent was reported to have made a stop in Bridgetown, Barbados, after leaving its homeport at Gibraltar earlier this month. The vessel is scheduled to head towards Guyana this week and anchor off Georgetown to participate in a series of training exercises with the country’s navy and other allies, the BBC reported.

Venezuelan presidency press office handout showing Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez.

The border dispute has been a source of tension and disagreements going all the way back to the 19th century, but Maduro recently sponsored a referendum on whether his government should use force to finally resolve it. He then provocatively announced that 95% of Venezuelan citizens voted in favor of a forced annexation. This drew quick condemnation from Caracas’ longtime enemies the US and Britain.

On Wednesday Venezuelan forces were placed on a “high state of alert” following the reports of the British warship moving toward the coast.

Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López issued a blistering warning on X in response to HMS Trent’s presence. “A warship in waters yet to be demarcated?” he said.

Source: Financial Times

“How does that fit with the commitment to good neighborliness and peaceful coexistence? And the agreement not to threaten or use force against each other under any circumstances? We remain alert to these provocations that put the peace and stability of the Caribbean and our America at risk!” he warned, saying that the prior agreement with Guyana’s leader Irfaan Ali about use of force has been called into question.

Source: ZeroHedge

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