Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation

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Venezuelan troops increasing near Guyana border

October 19, 2023

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – The Guyana government Wednesday said it had “requested” an explanation from Venezuela amid various reports that the South American country had been increasing “personnel” and executing military exercises “by Venezuelan troops in close vicinity to our borders”.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation noted that the government has “taken careful note of the various social media posts” regarding the movement of the troops.

“The Government wishes to advise that every piece of information is taken seriously and is being examined in detail. The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has also been reviewing these reports.

“To this end, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation requested today an explanation from the Venezuelan Ambassador who claimed that the mobilization of troops was geared towards curbing illegal mining operations,” the statement said.

It said that the government “remains on guard and has nevertheless shared the increased military activities by Venezuela taking place on its border with CARICOM  Heads and other international partners”.

On Tuesday, the head of the GDF Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Omar Khan, sought to reassure Guyanese that they need not be worried by the movement of soldiers.

“If there is any need to alert on developments outside of the norm, we have a duty to make it known,” Khan told the online Demerara Waves Online News.

Media reports here have reported the increased presence of Venezuelan soldiers with some indicating that there continues to be a crackdown on illegal mining in Venezuela and a number of the military operations appear to have been launched to address the issue..

Opposition Shadow Foreign Minister, Amanza Walton-Desir,  has called on Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd to summon an “urgent” meeting of the parliamentary committee on foreign relations to brief the bipartisan body on developments concerning the territorial controversy and the increasing arrival of Venezuelan migrants.

Guyana has in the past shunned President Nicolas Maduro’s public call for talks with his Guyanese counterpart, Irfaan Ali, to settle the controversy over that Spanish-speaking neighbour’s claim to the mineral and forest-rich Essequibo Region and all of the Atlantic waters offshore that region.

Instead, Guyana continues to rely on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) whose decision is yet to be handed down in Georgetown’s case for a finding that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award is the full and final settlement of the land boundary.

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