Socialist Country Moves to Conquer Neighbor

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The socialist country of Venezuela has declared the annexation of the western regions of Guyana, its neighbor. It is mobilizing its forces to conquer the region and enforce its rule.

Guyana is a former British colony, majority English speaking. It is racially mixed between indigenous, Indian (from Asian India), and African ethnicities. Its people follow Christian, Hindu and Muslim confessions. El País explains the situation:

Two days after the referendum on Essequibo, a territory disputed between Venezuela and Guyana, the government of Nicolás Maduro is moving forward to try to enforce what was approved Sunday in a vote that registered almost no participation in the streets but which Chavismo hailed as a victory with 10.4 million voters, reawakening a crisis of credibility in the country’s electoral authorities. In a television appearance Tuesday, Maduro presented a new official map of Venezuela with Essequibo incorporated, without the disputed delimitation, during a Council of State in which he announced a series of measures and upcoming legislation to cement Caracas’ possession of the territory and its resources. Earlier, Maduro had sent a military contingent to Puerto Barima on the Venezuelan Atlantic border, close to the limits of the area under claim.

The war of narratives has begun. A few weeks ago, Guyana raised a flag on a small hill in Essequibo. On the day of the referendum, the Venezuelan Ministry of Communication released a video in which Indigenous people lowered the Guyanese flag and raised the Venezuelan flag. Maduro is now counterattacking with everything at his disposal. Via a special law announced Tuesday, he will create a new province or state in the territory, having already appointed a single provisional authority: Major-General Alexis Rodríguez Cabello, a deputy for the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), who will operate from the mining community of Tumeremo in Bolívar state, barely 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the town of San Martín de Turumbang in the disputed area.

Guyana is already mobilizing its armed forces to defend the region. As a much smaller neighbor, it is calling on the US military to provide security assistance. Yahoo News reports:

Guyana said it’s intensifying security measures and engaging the US military to help it protect the oil-rich region of Essequibo, describing Venezuela’s intentions to grant oil exploration licenses in the area as a threat to its territorial integrity.

The United Nations Security Council plans to hold a closed-door meeting on the issue Friday, according to two people familiar with the matter. Both sides will have the chance to speak before the council’s 15 members. Guyanese President Irfaan Ali Guyanese President Irfaan Ali said in an earlier statement that his country had asked the Security Council to take appropriate action, but no immediate decision is expected at this point, according to the people.

This crisis is putting American foreign policy to the test. Both Guyana and Venezuela are in the Western hemisphere, a traditional priority for Washington. Should Washington let Venezuela conquer Guyana, it could embolden foreign great powers to get involved in the Americas.

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