Venezuela’s threats: US commences flight operations across Guyana

“We’re not alone” – VP tells Guyanese, oil companies

Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Guyanese have been urged to desist from any unnecessary worry that can translate into fear, and to pay no need to Venezuela’s threats that the county of Essequibo would be seized.
Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo gave this charge on Thursday, when he affirmed that under no circumstance would Venezuela succeed in its unlawful actions.
He added that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is not just pushing against international law, but against a majority of the entire international community. Moreover, Guyana has strong allies on its side.
“We should all be concerned about it, but don’t let the worry paralyze us or cause fear, particularly on our children… Don’t worry unnecessarily, Venezuela is not going to succeed, now or ever. We are going to do everything within our capability and beyond to ensure that this does not happen. We’re not alone in this,” Jagdeo encouraged.
During his press conference, the Vice President affirmed that any attempt by Venezuelan state-owned companies or state companies to explore for petroleum in Guyana’s territory will be seen as an incursion, and being contrary to the ruling of the International Court of Justice.
In this light, oil companies currently operating offshore Guyana have also been asked to reject the ultimatum issued by the Venezuelan President.
Maduro has claimed that he would now authorise oil exploration in Guyana’s Essequibo Region, even though the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has not as yet pronounced on the border controversy case. As a result, Guyana has beefed up precautionary measures and alerted its bilateral partners.
Jagdeo has said, “I want to say to the companies that he has given an ultimatum to (that) they should pay no regard to Maduro or his ultimatum. We will defend that territory as sovereign Guyanese territory. They’re operating legally, lawfully, in this territory.”

Aerial sweeps
The United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) commenced “flight operations” across Guyana on Thursday, and has communicated that it would continue collaboration with the GDF in the areas of disaster preparedness, aerial and maritime security, and countering transnational criminal organisations.
The VP has affirmed that every single movement by Venezuela, especially those at the border regions, is being tracked.
“We have a US military aircraft flying over our territory. That’s part of finding out what’s happening, and our army and planners will respond accordingly. But you will never find the GDF or a politician telegraphing this. I can assure you that every single movement is tracked,” he declared.

Military drills
On Thursday, the US announced military drills with Guyana.
“In collaboration with the Guyana Defence Force, the US Southern Command will conduct flight operations within Guyana on December 7,” the US Embassy in Guyana said in a statement.
The Embassy has said the flights are part of a routine engagement and operation to enhance security partnership between the US and Guyana, and to strengthen regional cooperation.
“The US will continue its commitment as Guyana’s trusted security partner, and promoting regional cooperation and interoperability,” the Embassy statement read.
The United States Department of Defense last week stepped up to offer a high-level presence, with several teams earmarked to visit this month.
The VP addressed concerns regarding Venezuela’s reputation as a belligerent nation, and shed light on Guyana’s strategic approach to safeguarding its territory. Guyana has forged alliances with nations possessing extended capabilities, emphasizing the significance of building relationships with allies that share common strategic interests.
It has been assured, “One thing is important in this world. It is forging relationships with allies that have greater capabilities and share your strategic interests. In this case, we have allies who share our strategic interest, they want peace in this region. The entire Caricom; the entire Latin America including Brazil, is prepared to defend peace in the region.”
This comment came in light of comparisons being made that Venezuela’s army is significantly larger than Guyana’s.

In the meantime, Jagdeo has restated the Government’s dedication to exploring all avenues to protect Guyana’s territory. Nevertheless, he warned that, in line with Guyana’s diplomatic efforts, optimal outcomes are attained by maintaining proper diplomacy measures. Those include refraining from reporting on all outcomes from engagements with partners.
“Whatever it takes, we will pursue that path. And we’re going to spare no effort in safeguarding every bit of the territory of this country. We’re serious about that. That’s our commitment to the people of this country,” he said.
“What will not happen in this Government is that we’re not going to give a ball-by-ball blow of every meeting that we have, every discussion, every phone call we make. That is not going to happen because that’s not how you pursue diplomacy. We’re not going to conduct diplomacy – which often is most effective when it’s done quietly – in a public manner,” the senior official underscored. (G12)