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Tension over Essequibo: Nicolás Maduro's regime deploys new troops near border with Guyana

Tension over Essequibo: Nicolás Maduro's regime deploys new troops near border with Guyana

Nicolás Maduro, right, with his Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino (AP archive via John Zerba/Miraflores press office)

Venezuela It increased its military presence near the disputed Essequibo region under its control GuyanaA new report from a Washington-based research group shows that the territory, home to large oil deposits, could intensify tensions with its neighbors.

The statement was released on Friday Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) presents satellite images as evidence Venezuela is building a military base Anakoko Island, bordering Guyana. Images from mid-January show piles of construction materials, three armored vehicles, a heavy riverboat and the clearing of a new area to the north, the report details.

While Venezuela and Guyana have been at loggerheads over the sparsely populated territory since the 19th century, the conflict has heated up in recent years after companies discovered large oil fields off Guyana's coast. Exxon Mobil Corp. Tensions flared late last year after Nicolás Maduro's regime held a referendum that showed overwhelming support for his nation's bid to take control of Essequibo.

Conflict between Venezuela and Guyana over Essequibo territory

“This escalation in Venezuela's behavior creates opportunities for miscalculations and a loss of control over events on the ground,” said the report, led by the CSIS deputy director for the United States. Christopher Hernandez-Roy. “It remains unclear whether Maduro will be able to avoid misunderstandings and manage the powers he has unleashed through the December vote.”

General of Venezuela Elio Estrada Paredes More than 65,000 soldiers on social media began building a school and hospital in Anakoko to benefit local communities.

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Other experts say Venezuela has just begun Improving its infrastructure on rivers Before Maduro intensified his rhetoric in December when he proposed a referendum on Essequibo on the border with Guyana.

“This is an expansion of the infrastructure needed to sustain military operations in the area,” he said. Andres Serbin, an Argentina-based researcher at the Regional Coordinator of Economic and Social Research, said that construction is taking place across the entire border of the Essequibo region. “They have Iranian-made ships and Russian-made anti-aircraft systems stationed at Guiriya, facing the Atlantic. This presence is unusual.”

The Brazilian military is moving armored vehicles from Manas to Boa Vista to reinforce the border with Venezuela and Guyana, amid tensions over Venezuela's claims to the Essequibo region. (REUTERS/Bruno Kelly)

Maduro and his Guyanese counterpart, Irrfan AliThey held a meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on December 14, where they pledged to refrain from using each other's weapons and agreed to maintain dialogue.

However, after the meeting, Maduro sent more 5,000 troops and many ships and aircraft to his country's east coast to meet the arrival of a British Royal Navy patrol vessel to conduct military exercises with Guyana. Venezuela withdrew forces after the ship moved.

Subsequently, in a meeting held in Brazil on January 25, the foreign ministers of the two countries made a commitment. Keep calm And continue to work towards a diplomatic solution to the dispute. After Exxon announced plans to drill two exploratory wells off the Essequibo coast this week, Venezuela's defense minister said the plans would face a “proportionate, forceful and legal response.”

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(With information from Bloomberg)